BP does crisis management via Google

According to Greenlight BP has bought-up big on Google and Yahoo search terms in an effort to improve its public relations after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Greenlight is an independent specialist SEO and PPC consulting and technology firm, the largest of its kind in Europe and the fastest growing – well that’s what their public relations blurb says.

According to Greenlight Director of Campaign Management Matthew Whitelaw:

British Petroleum (PB) has purchased Google and Yahoo search terms in order to influence consumers’ views on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It is clearly trying to protect its brand image following the catastrophe of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, turning to paid search in an attempt to present a more compassionate image. With BP buying top position in paid search, it hopes to drive users to its corporate response page which attempts to paint a more positive picture of the BP brand.

Excluding the paid search listing in the results page, 95% of the listings are very negative.  A search in Google for “BP Oil Spill” presents the user with a number of listings that are being very cynical of BP, including YouTube clips of the impact the disaster has had on the local area and its wildlife.

Today, internet users expect to get up to the minute reports on world events and the recent oil spill is no different. People now turn to search engines to find out information, read reports, and watch videos on latest events. Recent search trends for terms such as “oil spill” show the level of interest in the events in the Gulf of Mexico. Whilst some would argue that BP is trying to deflect attention away from damage the oil spill has caused, others will agree BP is just giving internet users the information they are looking for; after all, users are not forced to click on the paid search advert.

Paid search is the quickest way to see tangible results in online marketing. From a search perspective, this is the best move BP could have made to protect its image under the current circumstances.

Seems BP might be better at web strategy than deep sea oil drilling. This is something that other companies and their PR agencies should adopt.


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