Behind Digital PR » online marketing Thoughts from Hill & Knowlton's Australasian Digital Practice head, Matt Overington. Mon, 16 Feb 2009 06:16:00 +0000 en hourly 1 Specialised search optimisation and the move back to PR Thu, 13 Nov 2008 23:47:00 +0000 Matt Overington OK, so this is anecdotal, but I’d like your help in either confirming or debunking my theory that SEO is moving squarely back into the digital PR fold. I’m not just saying this because I’m a digital PR guy, but based on an observation: I have been having a very busy time of late fielding a lot of questions about SEO and SEM.
In this ultra-competitive time, clients and marketers are looking to boost their search rankings as a way to get a leg-up on their competition, which is nothing new. The whole SEO arena has changed greatly over time: the advertising companies have had a go at getting it right, then search specialists started to pop up and offer advice built on their technical knowledge of how search engines work…
Search and web optimisation is something that I’ve felt for a long time
should draw on the expertise of the PR industry as it
requires detailed knowledge of customer motivations and what people
type into search engines. In order to get your SEO right, you first
have to get yourself into the head of your target audience and
anticipate what they’re going to type into their search queries. If you’re relying on a search-optimisation company, you’re missing the
other key part of the process, which is encouraging people to search
for your terms in the first place.
The real power of SEO comes not just from getting the content right online and building a website correctly, but also driving your consumers and potential customers to use your keywords when they search. The best way to do this is to ensure that all your communications – both online and offline – make extensive use of the terms that you want to “own”. This integrated approach ensures that any time and effort spent on SEO is rewarded through an increase in the number of people searching for the terms you’ve focused on.
Though the basic tenets of SEO are relatively straightforward (to the point that Google has released a guide that talks through the basic procedures and how-to’s), getting the keywords right and making an effort to “own” particular terms requires a bit of forward planning, research and integration with broader messaging. In that respect, natural results and paid search results are remarkably similar – you have to work it into your communications strategy, not your advertising strategy.
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Google begins commoditisation of web marketing? Thu, 28 Aug 2008 03:28:00 +0000 Matt Overington Google has launched an interesting tool called to help small to medium businesses develop an online marketing plan (thanks go to James Tuckerman for alerting me to this). The tool is built around a 10-step process to help users identify opportunities for their business and culminates in producing an automatically-generated marketing plan.

After spending a fair bit of time playing with the tool over the past couple of days, I’ve concluded that it’s designed to encourage businesses to sign up for Google AdWords. The tool focuses on stepping the user through how search marketing works and helps select keywords. The final output is a slick, 12-page PDF document that can be taken to managers to feed into a broader marketing plan. It’s elegant, and does a good job of demystifying the world of paid search and measurement (though one negative point is the potential for a user to think that AdWords is the be-all and end-all of “online marketing”).

This news comes as Red Herring today reports that Google has changes planned for AdWords that could boost the number of paid ads delivered per search.

Google’s advertising delivers the majority of its revenue (US$16.4 billion in 2007), so driving awareness and adoption is an obvious strategy for growing business and revenue.

From a digital PR perspective, the timing is perfect. If used properly, Google’s tool will help grow awareness of the opportunities surrounding digital marketing and break down some barriers to adoption. This should help open the door to conversations around what opportunities exist above and beyond Google AdWords, while reinforcing the measurability of online PR. Great work, Google!

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