PR people are wordy by trade, so this makes good sense on the surface. But PR people need to look beyond search engines and focus more on social media.
Content is Changing: The PR industry needs to expand its definition of content in light of the new tools and online habits that are creating it. Blog post comments are content. The same can be said of everything from 140-character Twitter posts and pictures on Facebook to Utterz sound bytes and a slide show cum YouTube music video.
All of this content can increase search engine relevance as it increases audience engagement.
Is SEO a Benefit or Strategy: SEO’s effectiveness is proven and it’s an important tool. But a well-tailored message should make elements of SEO automatic. If SEO drives content development, more people may visit a site, but they’ll find content heavy on keywords and light on meaning.
Participation is the Real Opportunity: While SEO brings an audience to you, participation in social media brings you to the audience. Your presence and activity creates a conversation that builds on itself over time. Every time the folks at Google tweak an algorithm, you could be starting from scratch with SEO.
Beyond the above compare and contrast arguments, participating in social media makes you smarter. You’ll learn more by talking to more people about a broader group of topics. And a more well-informed perspective is what every employer, client and media outlet is looking for.
So how do we do it all? Instead of tapping into technology to pitch more people more quickly, spend time organizing RSS feeds and Google News alerts to track your self-defined industry landscape. Joining and exploring a social network over time will help you become even more effective and well-formed as you participate in the conversation.