The Role of SEO in PR

FlowersI’ve been in public relations for over 10 years. But it wasn’t until I went in-house in late 2005 that I even heard these three letters: S – E – O. Huh? Search engine optimization, what’s that?

 

Little did I know how important this was. Without the magic of SEO, people wouldn’t be able to find you on the ever-powerful Google and other search engines. And PR’s role is more important than we realize.

 

When executed well, public relations can positively impact the SEO of your company. I previously wrote a posting about how to “SEO Your Press Release.” In this post, I want to expand on my original post to discuss how PR can play a more conscious role in SEO, whether a press release, blog posting, case study, white paper and more.

 

Before going into my seven six tips, I think it’s important to highlight the concept of Page Rank. Simply put, it’s a measurement that seeks to determine the value of that page based on content and the number of inbound links to that page. Google PageRank uses a scale of 1-10 to rank pages. The higher the number, the better you page “ranks” according to Google. Typically, a 5-7 ranking is good.

 

Now here are my top tips for optimizing your PR efforts.

 

Keywords: I’ve been guilty of this. I’m more enamored with the eloquence of my writing versus the practicality of selecting the right words that 1) people search on and 2) will increase my company’s visibility in search engines.  I’ve now started using tools like Wordtracker,Google Adwords Keyword Tool and more to determine what key phrases/keywords are more strategic for what I’m writing.

 

When I’ve identified my key words, I strategically use the words in the headers and first paragraph of what you’re writing. Also provide the web master with these keywords. He/she can create meta tags for the page, which further helps the search engine spiders to read the content on the web page. Try to keep the list to about 10-15 max.

 

Newswire Capabilities: Consider what features your current newswire support. Since inbound links from external sources are important, can you embed links into your release? If so, how many?

 

Typically, you don’t want too many links as this can be viewed negatively. Also, hyperlink your key phrases or words that you’ve researched. This will associate the link with those words, helping from an organic search perspective. Since news wire distributes the press release to various online publications, the affect is that multiple websites are linking back to your site.

 

From a social media perspective, can you tag keywords to your release or submit it to popular ranking sites, such as digg, delicious, reddit and others?

 

I would recommend reading these articles that dig deeper into the various newswires and their social media street cred:

PR Web Takes The ‘Social’ Out of Social Media

Untangling Claims About Wires Services & Social Media

Social Media Release in Action

 

Creating URLs: When you’re done writing the press release, case study or other writing assignment, don’t ignore making suggestions on the URL where that content will live. Using a generic system may help youur webmaster find the documents, but since URLs can contribute to SEO, your wasting valuable real estate. Provide a specific URL that leverages your keywords, while providing a structure to easily find this page in the future.

 

Title Page: Like the URL, naming the web page is prime real estate. Provide a 7-8 word descriptive title that also leverages your keywords (see image for this post).

 

Bookmarking: Since search engines look at the number of inbound links, submitting links to your press releases and other content to third party websites may benefit your company. I define bookmarking as any place where you can proactively submit or add a link to content on your website. This would include Facebook, Twitter, digg, delicious, reddit and other social tagging sites.

 

This is probably on the edge of PR vs. marketing, but I believe that PR should be aware of this as part of their arsenal. Furthermore, Tom Pick of WebMarketCentral did a great series looking at the different social tagging sites out there. For me, I consistently submit content to 4-5 sites when I have new content.

 

WebMarketCentral Series:

Part 1: Alexa Rankings

Part 2: The Worst

Part 3: Specal-Purpose Sites

Part 4: B2B Traffic Building

Part 5: Tier 3 Sites

Part 6: Tier 2 Sites

 

Blog Posting/Commenting: Some PR agencies post and comment on behalf of clients. Though I am personally uncomfortable with this tactic, I realize that this happens. Whether you’re in-house or in an agency, the key is including links to pages that need increased visibility.

 

As I mentioned above, this means linking key phrases or words to create an association to your company. Another consideration is to include the page in the URL field when submitting a comment.

 

For example, my friend’s website works with expectant and new mothers. The home page has a good rank of 5, but the breast feeding page only has a rank of 1. My friend is active in the right newsgroups for her industry. I recommended that when she commented about breastfeeding, she should start linking back to the specific breastfeeding page vs. the home page.

 

Final Thoughts

It’s an exciting time to be in PR. The lines between PR and marketing continue to blur. PR is playing a larger role beyond brand awareness and visibility. PR now has the opportunity to demonstrate real value through increased SEO and web traffice, which in turn, increases potential sales leads.

Will you be ready?

 

Previous Articles Related to SEO

Search and Find – SEO Your Press Release

Seed Words Make Your PR Flower

 

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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “The Role of SEO in PR

  • May 19, 2009 at 17:27
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    Great work. Thanks a lot for sharing a great concept of PR as well as how to get and increase one’s PR.

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  • June 22, 2008 at 22:11
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    Good post Cece! It is an exciting time right now for PR. After all, PR has always been good at producing lots of content in many different forms. It’s an easy conceptual step to then think strategically about how to put that content to work for your client from a SEO perspective.

    Re posting comments on behalf of clients, I’m against it. I realize you can move a lot quicker, but it’s a very slippery slope. What we do is identify posts of interest and craft a suggested response. Then the client needs to edit, and take it from there.

    Dave’s correct re the “no follow” for URLs in comments, but not all do it. I got some visitors off a comment to a blog post by Dan Farber about Yahoo, since I had written on same topic. Just make sure your comment and URL are on point to the original post.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend.

    Chris

  • June 16, 2008 at 14:57
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    Hi Cece,

    Great post! Thanks for linking to my ramblings.

    A quick thought on the SEO value of commenting: many (most) blogs insert “no follow” tags into links in comments. That means you won’t get any SEO benefit from commenting on most sites. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it – I still highly recommend getting involve on other sites -just don’t expect too much benefit along those lines.

    Cheers

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