Over the past decade and a half there has been a constant tug-of-war between SEO’s and the search engines. The owners of websites want their content, products and services to appear high up in the search results pages. The search engines on the other hand, alongside creating PPC revenues, want to provide their users with the most relevant results. As a result of these opposing goals the search engines algorithms have steadily evolved to make it more difficult for those out there who are trying to cheat the system in some way or form.
Link building has been the main focus and means to success for the majority of online marketers for a number of years. A back link from an external site to one of your pages is essentially and a vote of confidence and improves a websites reputation in the eyes of search engines like Google. In order to take advantage of this many of ‘SEO experts’ and marketers devised cheap and nasty ways to acquire poor quality links from spammy websites. As a result search engines started to take action; initially emphasis was taken away from footer links, blog comments and side-bar links. SEO’s got savvy to this they moved onto in-content links on purpose built blog networks which seemed to work quite nicely for a while. The search engines are now responding once again; de-indexing purpose built content farms and introducing the Panda updates so that only unique and quality content is recognised as being valuable.
Quick SEO fixes have been devalued persistently by the search engines so the long term value if in quality link building (as it always has been). This article will explain how you can combine your PR efforts with SEO to achieve some spectacular results.
Aligning PR & SEO Efforts To Attract High Quality Links
Good public relations (or PR) is the processes of increasing the exposure of a company and improving their reputation through positive media coverage; does this sound familiar? PR & SEO go hand in hand because the dynamics of each process and the goals are almost identical.
Despite the fact that they are so closely linked, many PR agencies are guilty of viewing their role as a completely different task to that of an SEO. With the decline of print media and digital news outlets going from strength to strength this is a foolish assumption. More and more news, reviews, guides and public information sites are writing about a vast amount of content and linking to external sites of all kinds to provide their readership with useful information and navigation.
These websites are generally viewed by search engines as being high in value due to their large readerships, the high number of inbound links to their content and their large number of social media subscribers. The links these sites create are therefore highly valuable to modern SEO’s.
So Who Is Better Placed To Get These Links Than PR Professionals?
The same editors who manage the print versions of these publications are usually tasked with the running of these websites and so the relationships that PR professionals have built up over the years are a vital key to acquiring these links.
Dropping links into articles might sound like common sense to even the novice online marketers out there but believe me great opportunities are being squandered day-after-day because PR and SEO managers are not sitting down together and synchronising their efforts.
A while ago a major UK supermarket ran a story on misshapen fruit. This story about fruit which is fine to eat but is not sold due to the shape made it into one of the most authoritative sites online; the BBC.
Although the supermarket did get a link back from the BBC site they failed to capitalise on the on-going benefit the story could have brought them. A search for the name of the supermarket and the name of the article today provides over 300 results however not one of them originates from the supermarkets website and only a tiny fraction link back to the supermarket, instead the BBC is accredited by most for the content.
So Where Did They Go Wrong?
While off-line content comes and go within a few days, online publications stay around for a much longer period of time and they gain more media interest as they get republished again and again. The supermarket in question failed to capitalise because they never published their own version of the story. Without having your content on your own website online editors will seldom link back to your website to credit you for the content, for starters where should they link to?
Optimising Press Releases
Along with a copy of the article on your site to remain as link-bait press releases should be considered so that they make get maximum interest from journalists. Reports always attract a lot of interest because journalists are always keen to see how they could use the facts to create a new angle for a client or a story they have in mind.
A car insurance company in the US recently issued a press release that included a nationwide survey on the number of American drivers who were guilty of DWD. What is DWD I hear you say? Well using Google keyword tool I can tell you it receives almost no searches per month which would indicate that hardly anybody knows.
So Where Did They Go Wrong?
Journalists are inundated with hundreds of stories a week so it is vitally important that you use language that they can understand immediately in order to maximise your chances of getting republished. Using language that is search engine friendly will also increase the chances of a journalist discovering the story on your own website and deciding to republish it.
Strategic Insights For PR & SEO Professionals
- News stories online are valuable for longer periods of time: At least give yourself a chance of being credited for the original piece.
- Links back to your copy not only bring traffic but they can also help with the websites search engine rankings (developing a good internal link structure helps this too).
- High quality online stories offer increasing returns: The better your copy the more links it will bring in.
Bio: Gemma Jones is a PR professional with links to many pr agency Manchester organisations. She likes to blog about digital PR and the evolution of SEO.