The lines between traditional media and digital are increasingly blurred and we see this every day. Tweets are read out on the news, and bloggers get columns in magazines targeting the niches they are in. That's good news especially for those who rely on their websites drive their business.
Traditional publishers are finding their feet on new digital platforms, and digital professionals like SEO experts (Search Engine Optimisation) are adopting PR-type techniques to help them show to Google the value of the website and client they are looking after.
In bygone times, link buying and all other risky techniques were employed to fool Google into getting a website ranking. (ed: over the past two years, Google has been continually updating its algorithm to reduce the yield of these practices but also detrimental to both parties involved in the transaction).
I have a fundamental issue with spending our hard-earned money on buying links when I can be spending that budget communicating our message and mission to customers that share our passion for design and want to be inspired to create more in their home."
There is no point spending money on something that Google is actively penalising websites for doing. Instead, focus on the quality of online mentions, interactions and links which are as future-proof as it can be.
To make matters worse, Google unleashed what is being called Penguin 2.0 a few weeks ago. This update to its algorithms is designed to crack down even further on what they consider spammy websites. These websites use "link schemes" like link exchanges, automated linkbuilding programs and keyword stuffing into almost incoherent articles to try to game the system.
Myriad of these semi-automated websites have managed to get high rankings on search engine results pages while offering little to no value to the visitors.
Building links through PR relies on building long-term, natural relationships with relevant websites. My belief is that Google will get smarter and smarter so that it only rewards those links that meet the criteria I outlined above anyway. So the medium-to-long term risks from a change in Google's algorithm are almost zero.
An integrated PR/SEO strategy helps a company get its name out there to both journalists and bloggers, right as traditional and digital media are merging. It keeps the focus on the brand message, so budget is spent on more than just links. Finally, it builds the links that will stay valuable for the long term, while Google is cracking down on spammy links. That is why integrated campaigns are growing – and will continue to grow – in importance.
Ian Monk is the founder of bathrooms.com and is passionate about PR and SEO. His work history is steeped in entrepreneurship, formerly running a successful IT software development company and prior to that, within the banking industry