CIPR Summer Social: is the PR industry falling behind SEO?

I’ve been very remiss in failing to mention and big up the CIPR’s Summer Social.

The Summer Social is a series of informal meet ups organised through the CIPRs Social Media Advisory Panel (DISC: of which I am a member).

So I'm making amends as of now and urging anyone in the PR, marketing and social media sectors to get along to this week’s event as it tackles an oft-debated and really important issue: where do the lines between SEO and PR blur? When is it right and where does it put your clients at risk?

The event takes place from 5pm – 7pm at the CIPR HQ, 52-53 Russell Square, London, WC1B 4HP. and is hosted by Speed Communications' Stephen Waddington who asks: "Has the PR industry failed to reskill for SEO – and will social media be the next missed opportunity?":



“Search agencies are increasingly packaging planning, content development and analytics, into a payment-by-results model. It’s a compelling proposition for a marketing director that is seeking guaranteed outcomes.



Now search agencies are starting to use PR tactics such as press releases, by-lined content and wire distribution to drive their campaigns prompting the scrutiny of the role of PR versus SEO.



This week’s CIPR’s Social Summer 2010 workshop will ask what the PR industry can do to regain ground on SEO. And whether social media, like SEO before it, will be the next missed opportunity for the PR industry.”

The idea of Summer Socials is to offer PR and marketing professionals the chance to learn and find out more about social media and a host of related topics.

It’s less formal and structured than traditional CIPR events or workshop which is a good thing as for the £10 cost we serve beer and nibbles and you get to quiz experts and fellow practitioners about the emerging media landscape.

Looking forward, future Socials include sessions from Wolfstar MD Stuart Bruce, MD of Tweetdeck, Iain Dodsworth and Julio Romo with guests form Channel 4 and the BBC.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Is Knol *really* the great Wikipedia-killler?

Doc Searls is the first to echo some of my initial (private) scepticism about Google’s Wikipedia rival, Knol.

Knol "aims to include user-written articles on a range of topics".or as Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan calls it, "Wikipedia with moderation."

Knol permits anyone to author a page about a particular topic. While each article or ‘knol’ defaults to a ‘moderated’ setting, this can be changed to closed, preventing anyone else from authoring it.

This struck me as odd from the outset. I personally wouldn’t place too much trust in anything that was authored, put online then closed to revisions or third party intervention. That’s simply advertorial.

The power of Wikipedia, as David Weinberger has pointed out previously, is not necessarily the articles themselves – it is the social knowledge that is embedded in both the article and its discussion page. Wikipedia is trustworthy because it isn’t authoried by an authority rather, by many conflicting authorities.

But I presume Google knows this already as Knol is a shrewd business move. How smart a move remains to be seen.

Edelman Digital’s Steve Rubel circulated an internal memo which highlighted some of the ‘operating rules’ for Knol. These include:

  • Each article can list its “Affiliation” – a move intended to flag conflicts  of interest.
  • There is a significant emphasis on authors and their authority. For example authors are asked verify their name using mobile phone or credit card details
  • Google (apparently) has a team in place watching for spam, while links are no-follow in an attempt to prevent SEO spam.

But despite these worthy measures, it already looks as if the spammers are setting to work.

Going back to Doc Searl’s initial foray into the Knol-iverse, he writes that that a big chunk of the search results search for ‘hair’ were, in his words, “commercial gaming”.

More specifically he highlighted a clear example where Knol’s guidelines were being (or at least appeared to be being breached):

“The top result is for this article on hair loss, by Rob E. Angelino, Founder Hairlab center for hair restoration. Or so it says at the top. At the bottom it says "Copyright © 2005-2007 United Global Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved".

Not sure how that squares with Knol’s defaulted Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, but it’s significant that Mr. Angelino also has collaboration closed on the document. You can do that with Knol. It also says here that Mr. Angelino is "Founder and CEO of United Global Media Group Inc." and "currently the CEO of The Beauty TV Network". Mr. Angelino has a total of six knols, including one each for the Beauty Channel, BeautyTV and The Beauty Network.”

And there’s my concern made real. I just don’t get the point of Knol. It is just one quick and easy algorithm away from a spammers’ paradise. But even despite Google’s best attempts to keep Knol spam free. I still don’t see the point. And perhaps that’s because there isn’t one.

The big hype around Knol has been that it is Google’s Wikipedia-killer. But, as Doc points out, Knol isn’t a rival to Wikipedia at all. It doesn’t come close or even compare.

And maybe Google knows that which is why they (or someone) has positioned it as such.

Technorati tags: Knol, Doc Searls, Wikipedia, Spam

“Terror outrage: BRITNEY, ANGELINA and OBAMA all unaffected as hundreds die in SEXY agony”

The story I blogged last week – and followed up by Shane Richmond – about UK newspapers using SEO to boost their online readerships continues to rumble on.

The Guardian‘s Neil McIntosh adds his perspective to the debate and links to the most amazing piece by Guardian columnist, Charlie Brooker, who highlights the inanity in what is, to most of us digital types, common sense. It also contains possible my favourote non-headline of all time as used in the title of this post (hopefully it’ll bring me some extra traffic too).

Brooker’s piece also neatly provides the tail to this story. What began life in the once-acerbic satirical magazine, Private Eye, has now itself become satirised by one of the UK’s leading satirists after one-time collaborator, Chris Morris.

Technorati tags: SEO, Daily Telegraph, Charlie Brooker

Telegraph.co.uk’s SEO – Shane Richmond responds

I posted earlier this week about a story in  Private Eye about Telegraph.co.uk ensuring their news stories are chock full of realtime SEO key word goodness.

Well, I asked the Telegraph’s Communities Editor, Shane Richmond, if he could enlighten us any further and he has kindly posted his response on his Telegraph blog.

What Shane says makes total sense and (perhaps unlike the ultra traditional Eye) I see no reason why media outlets shouldn’t optimise their content.

In keeping with this idea, Shane provides a great insight into what other UK newspapers are doing – or reportedly doing. Shane writes:

"we’re [Telegraph.co.uk] far from unusual. As far as I know, staff at the Times get an email telling them what search terms are bringing people to their site, the Guardian, it’s rumoured, has begun training staff on SEO and the Mail has recently hired an SEO manager."

Intersting times indeed.

Technorati tags: Telegraph.co.uk, Shane Richmond, SEO, Newspapers