Tag Archive for: SEO

What Google’s Latest Product Reviews Update Means for Consumer Products Digital PR

[4 minute read time]

Product reviews are about to change and this will impact your digital PR and earned media, especially CPG or consumer product brands. Google is constantly updating how it evaluates websites, to surface the best content. As Google gets smarter, so must brand and their PR agencies, especially those like ours that incorporate digital PR and SEO into our strategies and recommendations.

Constantly watching Google’s changes is part of being a digitally forward PR company.  

We’re extremely aware that SEO plays a role in brand communication decisions and as importantly, editors and publishers, and influencers of the online outlets our clients want coverage. Modern PR and reputation management takes into account many inputs and SEO is absolutely one of them.

Why Google’s High Quality Content Changes Your Digital PR

Yoast SEO has an outstanding blog if you want to dig deeper into SEO hints and tips; that’s where we picked up on a recent change that affects CPG PR and Consumer Goods PR because it’s all about product reviews. Product reviews play a considerable role in consumer goods PR like fashion, DTC brands, or home goods, or CPG PR like beverages, snacks, and wellness supplements. Journalists often do a “round-up” of products because they’re reasonably easy to create, they usually include samples, and they do well with readers who appreciate a curated perspective from a trusted third party. In otherwords, they’re a cornerstone of digital brand awareness for CPG, DTC, and consumer product brands.

But in Google’s quest for “high quality content,” it’s caught on to the fact that these product reviews might be juuuuust a tad too easy to create, so it’s updated how it views product reviews.  Savvy editors and journalists who are keenly aware that their content is in a constant battle for eyeballs will adjust the way they do product reviews, which means consumer brands and their consumer product PR agencies should be in the know too.


What Will Qualify As a High Quality Product Review in Google’s Eyes

As a brand, it’s in your best interest to secure earned media in outlets that do well with Google product reviews. Rarely is Google transparent about how it’s changing its algorithm, leaving SEO experts to read the tea leaves instead. BUT, this time, Google left some breadcrumbs. In it’s Google Search Central Blog, Google recently published an entire page of documentation about its product reviews update that every brand and PR agency in the United States should be reading. In this update, Google asks product reviewers to ask themselves these questions to answer whether their article is “high quality content:”

  • Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?
  • Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
  • Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
  • Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?
  • Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
  • Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it?
  • Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision?
  • Identify key decision-making factors for the product’s category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas.
  • Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says?


How Does This Change Earned Media Coverage for Consumer Brands or CPG Brands?

Here at Avaans Media, we have a saying, “media relations don’t happen without relationships.” We work extremely hard to consider the needs of the outlet and the journalists, and Google has just provided us with a modern roadmap for improved media relations.

  • For one, CPG brands or consumer product brands should be helping journalists understand these key differentiation, and those key differentiators should vary from the exact language on the brand’s website.
  • Further, CPG or consumer product brands should be prepared to develop more content, that’s exclusive to the press, which shows the product in a lifestyle setting. Most CPG and consumer goods products do a quarterly photoshoot, but they should also set aside some images for journalists only and be aware of using the same image repeatedly.
  • Your owned media and earned media should not look identical, and if you help editors and journalists by providing images that don’t appear on your site, it will help the brand get more eyeballs and the editor will appreciate your effort.
  • The information provided to a journalist should walk them through the decision-making behind certain features and design choices while also providing hard data as to how a product compares to it’s competitors.
  • PR agencies should get really great at identifying the expert journalists covering their products and lifestyle use cases and contextualizing them to different reader considerations in order to secure product reviews. This will allow a journalist to include your product in a series of different articles targeting different readers. Making the job of hardworking journalists just a little easier is one way PR and journalists create trust with one another. That trust translates into better coverage for the brands.



Blogging Tips for Businesses: Build Authority

There are many reasons to blog. But today we’re going to focus on one objective: Become an expert in your field. You can build authority through blogging, these 11 blogging tips for business will get you started. Actually, we’ve given you more than 11 tips, but we like to under-promise and over-deliver.  
Why bother with becoming an expert in your field? One reason: sales. The more comfortable a potential customer or client is with you and your business, the more likely they are trust you. Imagine getting more leads that close faster. That’s the power of blogging.

In the world of blogging for business, there are two types of authority: online authority and people authority. We’ll cover tips for both.


First, Start with Building Authority with People.

This is the kinder, gentler form of authority building. Its essentially relationship building with your community and audience. You’ve always got to keep the audience’s needs in mind. Satisfy their needs and you’ll find that your business blog begins to satisfy your needs.  It equates to providing value which equates to a higher affinity and higher trust. Its that simple. My blogging tip for business  rule in building authority is to treat your website viewer the way you’d like to be treated. Remember (Almost) everything you need to know about social media you learned in Kindergarten.   Authority building for people is the Jackie Kennedy of social media. Its classy. Not always the easiest.

Why start here? Well, ultimately, its people who do or don’t read your blog. Blog for people first, search engines second. You can get all the traffic in the world and if your blog isn’t written for people, its ultimately a failure. 

Great Content Builds Authority and Trust:

When you create how-to posts, or advice posts, industry reviews, your also giving your potential customers a reason trust you.

  1. Create a variety of content types, including video, photos, slides. Not only will this reach a broader audience, but naming these other content types with keywords helps. But the real message here is to make the content useful, helpful.
  2. Create content that you’re comfortable creating. Some people don’t like to write, that doesn’t mean you can’t blog. Today’s blogs are filled with every kind of media. Have fun with it, and find a medium that you’ll love creating. Know that Google searches all media types.
  3. Be honest and transparent. Give good advice about the products you sell, tell your potential clients what you tell your family. Why? It adds to your credibility. Tell your customers the pros and cons about how your different products compare, or what they should know when they buy a particular product. 

Write Like a Person and Let Your Personality Shine:

  1. Be yourself. Countless of people have become authorities simply by being themselves. Gary Vaynurchuck comes to mind. He started off vlogging (video blogging) with profanity-laden, but passionate, videos about wine. These videos were so wildly successful for Gary’s wine business that he is now a known expert in business and social media. He is also an author. Note: his books came AFTER the blog. I doubt when he started his videos he knew what path it would be take.  Now I’m not saying you have to use profanity in your blog, its all about knowing your audience. But you CAN be yourself. Go ahead, try it, its not as hard as you think. “Stop thinking like a marketer, sales person, ect. and start thinking like a human.”
  2. Let other’s be themselves. Give your writers their own profiles and identities. When you give your writers their own personality, then readers begin to get to know them, which increases trust.
  3. Write the way your audience speaks. Show the jargon and complicated language out the door!
  4. Ease off the sales pitch. Be a valuable resource to your potential client and that will help drive sales. You can have a blog with conversion opportunities like email capture and information requests, and I think you should. Just don’t write your blog post the same way you write marketing material. No likes to “be sold.” 


Some hints for building online authority (SEO):

Online Authority: is how much relevance the search engines give your blog, we often call that SEO (search engine optimization). Essentially if you don’t consider this aspect, you can do a lot of quality work, and its never going to be seen.  As of the 2012 Google update of Penguin, how the biggest search engine is viewing your website has changed. The entire intent of Google’s changes are to help searches find the most relevant and authoritative sites first. I compare using these techniques as the Marilyn Monroe of social media. Its irresistible. And in the world of sex symbols and authority building: essential.

One of the most valuable blogging tips for businesses: USE WORDPRESS. Its optimized for search and some simple plug-in’s will make some of this technical stuff MUCH easier.

Post Consistently.

  1. Google likes posts to be at least 300 words. Google also loves websites that are consistently updated.
  2. The more pages you have, the more traffic you get, its really that simple. Hubspot recently published that companies with 51-100 web pages generate 47% more traffic than companies with 1-50 pages. That’s a big jump.

Use Keywords in Your Title and Throughout Content:

  1. Once you identify your keywords, tag them with <H1> in the title. Don’t know how to tag a word with <H1>? If you’re using WordPress, one of the handiest ways to check this is to use the free plugin WordPress by Yoast. Don’t forget to use the <H2> tag within the content too. This reinforces the keyword and gives the search engines that the content is consistent and valuable to the reader.
  2. Use your keyword in the first and last sentences of your blog.
  3. Keyword density is still important. Using your keywords throughout the blog helps build authority too (see how that sentence worked?) The recommended density is 1-4%, but I’d err on the middle to the higher end of that density if possible. Don’t go overboard; write good, readable content, just keep in mind that Google likes to see your keywords used consistently throughout.
  4. Not sure what keywords to use? Just use Google’s handy keyword finder.

Using Photos to Increase Authority:

Photos can definitely impact online and search engine authority. Photos are useful for a lot of reasons. They make it more attractive to the eye and therefore the reader. But photos and videos are also a good source of online building authority. My most popular blog post ever was because I titled the photos correctly and for common searches. Its over 1.5 years old and its still attracting over 10% of my total monthly blog traffic. A single blog post. WOW. Thank you VERY much!

  1. Use the alternative text tag <alt-tag> to include the keyword in your image. I personally feel the more the photo contextualizes the keyword the more effective it is at driving PEOPLE traffic. But from a search engine point of view, even if the photo doesn’t directly speak to the topic, use those <alt-tags>.
  2. Reinforce the <alt-tag> by naming your file with the keyword. Use hyphens and separate the key words. Skip words like “the”, “a”. You don’t need your image name to make sense to a human, just a search engine.

Build Quality Links: 

Natural links are the best. The kind that are most relevant to your content. Don’t just go around asking for and swapping links, Google is on to you, it isn’t (as) effective, in fact, Google is penalizing sites who exploit link building with non-relevant links. Plus, its kind of spammy.  There is good news, links to your website via social media counts! That means that more of your content that is shared naturally through social sites the better Google views your website.

Build natural, relevant links through social media. Google watches the sharing to and from your site.  Sharing on Google+ doesn’t hurt; some say its increasingly important. Most definitely add the +1 button to your site. If you don’t have a Google Plus account, here’s your reason to start.

  1. Blog consistently. Google likes websites that are regularly updated. But its not just that; according to HubSpot, increasing blogging frequency can increase your leads by almost double.
  2. Google authorship comes with having a Google account. Its good for both technical authority building as well as personal authority building. It’s easy to do this. This image shows the information that pops up when I search for my name right there on the right-hand side of search results.


Pacific New Media, Blogging for Business Class
Fall 2012: November 8.
Spring 2013: April 17th

Authority Building Infographic

Hubspot Benchmarking Report (October 2012)