Search Engines Rank First for Finding Company News; Way Down is Company Websites

[tweetmeme]The global PR firm, Edelman, recently published its 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer that gauges attitudes about the state of trust in business, government, NGOs and media across 23 countries.. Quite interesting reading – but one finding stuck out. The first source for news about a company is online search engines topping the list at 29%. Online news sources comes in at a close 23%.

Where are company webites? They register at a measley 11%. As usual, you can’t go by the numbers alone. Say someone goes online for information about a company. It’s likely s/he will click on the company’s website. But that’s not obvious in the findings. It’s an indirect route, but the ultimate destination is the company.

For the fun of it, I searched online for Edelman and first result was – Edelman’s website.  Likely a searcher will click on the link and go to – the firm’s website.

This is not to dispute the findings, which are informative and relevant. Companies need to ensure they are honest and transparent to engender trust.

To achieve the top page ranking, a company must hammer away at its key words in all its communications and will be rewarded by the search engines. Repetition is key, as the study points out. Edelman has done a fine job in dominating the first page of Google’s search results, so they are doing something right.

CEO Richard Edelman recorded a short video on the study findings, and I agree with his statement that companies must use multiple channels to engage their stakeholders:

  • Mainstream media
  • New Media
  • Social media
  • Owned media

I’d add a fifth:

  • Employees

Companies can’t rely only on paid advertising, nor is social media the new silver bullet. Key is developing a consistent message that is pushed through every channel in an interactive dialogue with internal and external audiences. That’s how you gain trust.

So, is your company minding its trust level?

"Edelman New Trust Model"

Edelman New Trust Model

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  1. Very interesting findings, Jeannette. And you’re absolutely right that employees have to be another channel. Depending on the industry, I can say that the employees are the caregivers of the brand.

  2. Dennis – I like that line, “caregivers of the brand.” They are because employees are the company’s public face with direct client contact.