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Google’s John Mueller Praises Digital PR via @martinibuster



Google’s John Mueller had kind words for Digital PR in a Twitter discussion. He went so far as to say in many cases Digital PR is more critical than Technical SEO.

What is Digital PR?

Digital PR is basically just building awareness and popularity.

The short description of the strategy could be framed as: Create something worth linking to and tell others about it.

This is something I’ve been doing for fifteen years, way before the practice had a name.

Why Digital PR?

I’ve used this strategy for fifteen years, out of necessity, for building links to corporate B2B sites.

Back in the day, one couldn’t engage in desperate low level link strategies like reciprocal linking with a B2B corporate site.

So I had to come up with popularity-building strategies that wouldn’t raise eyebrows at the corporate HQ.

It’s basically link building with one arm tied behind your back.

The 2021 edition of low level desperation link building is guest posting, which in general is off the table for B2B companies.



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Link strategies that are good enough for an affiliate site are inappropriate for a corporate site.

What’s left is what some are calling Digital PR.

But there’s no clear definition of what Digital PR is. That’s why some definitions found online encompass everything an affiliate site would do to build links, including guest posting.

Clearly, some definitions of Digital PR are just a re-brand of low level link building.

But it’s not necessarily a re-brand of low-level link building, as John Mueller reflected on it in a discussion on Twitter.

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John Mueller on Digital PR

The discussion began with a tweet discussing how the difficulties in recruiting for digital PR.


“So digital PR/link building recruitment is kinda mad at the moment, but one good thing I think that will come of it is digital PR salaries rising. Tech SEO has traditionally been far better paid (still is) but it’s nice to see digital PR talent being valued.”


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Then John Mueller commented on Digital PR:

“I love some of the things I see from digital pr, it’s a shame it often gets bucketed with the spammy kind of link building. It’s just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases.”

Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) commented in the Twitter discussion on how digital PR can be a part of a fully considered SEO strategy:

“Digital Pr and SEO together can work very well. I find myself puzzled by people who insist the digital PR is a thing to itself & SEO works by itself, because I know how effective they can be when used together.

A campaign that using both can be a very effective.”


One person in the discussion wondered if relevance should be considered. My thoughts are that in general only relevant sites are going to link to content that is useful to them.

Is Digital PR Just a Buzzword?

A developer with Yoast was doubtful about the concept of Digital PR, remarking that it may be, in some instances, a term used for link buying.

He also suggested that a company spending money on PR might be able to unfairly influence Google.


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Jono wasn’t the only person who was skeptical. The discussion spilled over onto Facebook where I saw some people commenting on their feeds that link builders were going to rush out and rebrand as Digital PR.


Nevertheless, it’s good to see some corners of the search marketing industry begin to open up to a way of marketing that isn’t directly tied to ranking but rather approaches growing a site through activities that help a site become popular.

It might seem odd to suggest that a way to rank better is to become popular. But Google tries to rank sites that people trust and enjoy, which is what that Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EAT) is partly about.

So why not get out of the SEO box for a moment and at least think of non-SEO ways to make a site popular?


Twitter discussion here.


Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster



Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”



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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.



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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.


But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.


One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.


Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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