SEO is not dead. SEO is very much alive and kicking. The only aspects that are dead are the old processes and action plans.

Optimising a website to give it a higher chance of appearing on page one of Google for targeted phrases is still the aim.

The only difference is how you make this happen: focus on content.

Brief history

Google’s goal has always been to provide the searcher with a list of websites that best answer their query.

Its old algorithm would look for simple signs such as a high number of mentions of a certain phrase and a large amount of links from external sites.

Manipulation of the search engine’s algorithm soared. Methods such as keyword stuffing or buying and generating thousands of links from meaningless pages provided a way for websites to beat the system.

The result? The user was presented with websites that did not answer their search query.

Google had to change its ranking mechanism to avoid users becoming frustrated and switching to a rival search engine.

Penguin and Panda

In April 2012, Google announced major changes to its algorithm. Panda was introduced to assess the content on the site, while Penguin targeted websites that exploited the link building process.

The up-shot? If your website has repetitive or meaningless information or builds a network of links from poor quality sites, it will be penalised and drop down the rankings.

Why does this mean that PR is the new SEO?

Because PR professionals are experienced and qualified in producing high-quality, engaging content.

Google’s updates have forced websites to cater for users, as opposed to optimising for a search engine. If the content on your site satisfies the needs of the visitor, working your way up the search rankings will naturally follow.

Also, Google looks for your website to have links coming in from reputable sources. It would much rather you have a smaller number of these links, such as from respected news sites or blogs, compared to a higher number of links from poor quality sites.

As well as using the content to attract such links organically, a certain amount of relationship building is required. Traditionally, PR professionals have built strong relationships with the media. The ability to build such relationships with a targeted online site is crucial to link building.

PR professionals are perfectly placed to not only create high-quality, SEO-friendly content, but to carry out the rest of the vital steps required as part of increasing brand awareness online.