Search engine optimization (SEO) is a foundational element of any Web-based marketing effort to gain search traffic from Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Naver, Yandex, and even Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn’s search functions.
Public relations (PR) has transitioned from its traditional roots to a Web-based content marketing enterprise. The content produced by PR is intended to reach the potential customers of your brand and influence them to come to your e-commerce sites and brick and mortar stores for the purpose of becoming a loyal customer who will eventually advocate for the brands product and services.
I will be presenting at the PRNews’ Google Conference for Communicators and delivering a brief titled, “Use SEO to Improve Brand Reach and Performance.” You can still sign up with a discount – use my last name “lloyd” at checkout to get $300 off the stated registration. The audience of PR professionals at the conference has differing levels of understanding of SEO and what it can do to improve brand reach and performance. A pre-conference survey was conducted by the PR News conference organizers of the registered attendees revealing some surprising but not unexpected results.
Topics of interest include:
- What content ranks high in search engines
- How to do keyword research before publishing online content
- What are the recent changes to search engine algorithms
- Use of various Google tools (Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Google+, YouTube, Google Webmaster Tools)
The first question to deal with is “Does public relations need SEO?” It’s a bit rhetorical because the bottom line is any website that distributes content is doing SEO already – search engines already crawl the content due to Web marketing basics. The issue boils down to whether you’re doing it well (and how well) or doing it poorly. If you’re doing it poorly or have convinced yourself as a PR professional that it’s too technical, too hard, too fuzzy, too long-term (I’ve heard all these and more), you’re limiting your PR efforts to extend your brand’s reach and performance.
The reverse question is just as valid. “Does SEO need public relations?” The answer there is yes as well, whether you, as an SEO professional, recognize it or not. PR has proven best practices that reach influential people in the marketing industry including important digital print and web-publishing services with which SEO needs to establish a relationship in their never-ending quest to get high search engine result page (SERP) rankings. This includes from PR influencers mentioning your brand and websites in their content marketing efforts. As an example, the release of the Google Hummingbird algorithm update has brought that issue in particular to the forefront of SEO best practices.
The reality is SEO can benefit from PR best practices and PR can benefit from SEO best practices. Collaboration and sharing of expertise is the order of the day. SEO is not a “one size fits all” kind of effort however. In my presentation, PR is a key stakeholder of SEO strategies. The approach is simple, but to succeed it must be comprehensive, strategic, and integrated.
Each PR group will have its unique needs and as the service provider in this case, SEO must present the full menu of best practices available and then deal with the customer base of PR in tailoring and customizing the public relations SEO program to include the best of both organizations. PR best practices will strengthen SEO processes and, likewise, SEO best practices will strengthen PR processes.
There is no shortage of SEO service providers and experts out there who will tell you what you need and not listen to what you’re saying. Collaboration is critical. You should only implement those SEO best practices that you, as the PR professional, find both useful and an improvement to the product you put out. Establish your desired outcomes and objectives, a set of key performance indicators (KPI) and choose some metrics that will allow measurement of your progress in collaboration with your SEO resource.
Keeping all that in mind, my presentation at the conference will follow that strategy. A comprehensive picture of the state of SEO techniques and best practices will be described and explained.
We will explore the ins and outs of search engine optimization and the various factors that must be taken into account to raise your brand’s profile in a Google search.
You will understand what kind of content Google’s elusive search algorithm favors and how to find and properly use the right keywords.
At a more granular level, we’ll discuss how to:
- Analyze your site and determine whether it is optimized for search
- Use keywords, links, and meta tags effectively without harming your page ranking
- Determine the difference between on-page and off-page factors and their impact on SEO
- Understand Google’s latest SEO ranking factors
- Recognize what kind of content Google’s search algorithm favors now
- How to perform an SEO audit on your organization’s website
- Differentiate between different types of searches – navigational, informational, transactional
- Visually understand the anatomy of on-page SEO
I’ll also cover a content optimization strategy
- Identify keywords
- Organize content by message
- Optimize content
- Create content
- Link to content
- Test strategies
As a communicator, you’re always looking for better ways to enhance your message, increase the reach of your brand, and measure the impact of your strategy. I look forward to meeting you at the PR News Google Conference, where we learn together how to take advantage of everything SEO strategies can offer communicators.
And because we’re all learning and no one has all the answers, I’ll leave you with these industry resources on SEO & PR integration:
- Created shared content syndication & distribution strategies
- Pull PR, Social, and SEO teams together to strategize on your biggest projects
- Set shared goals & KPIs
- Work on unified messaging documents based on research
- Connections public relations experts can benefit anyone doing SEO.
- Grow relationships with bloggers and additional social media users who have engaged already.
- SEO is about brand and non-brand mentions and being viewed as an authority.
- Creating quality content allows your PR department to promote your company.
- PR and SEO have almost identical processes: reach out to relevant publications,
- Make a timely, targeted, relevant pitch to the publisher, provide great content.
- Press releases alone are not an SEO strategy (see: Panda, link disavow, and nofollow tags)