Moving from a PR background into the digital marketing world of SEO was a bit of a daunting prospect, but it has been surprising to discover how related they actually are. After all, one of the major objectives of PR is to increase awareness – whether that’s for a brand, product, event or campaign – and SEO plays a huge part in improving online visibility. Considering that most people turn to a search engine to find information, and are likely to convert on a page one listing, it makes sense that PR and SEO should go hand in hand when implementing any online strategy. Here are five tips for boosting your online PR with more effective SEO strategies.
1. Analyse organic search data to gain brand insights
Even before I worked in SEO, I was obsessed with checking the keywords that people were typing in to search engines to find my company’s website. Some of these were very surprising, which taught me that there were a few misconceptions out there about our brand. Checking the keywords that are driving traffic to your site in Google Analytics is a vital way to measure your SEO efforts, and can also give you important insights into what people think about your brand. Are the keywords that represent your brand driving traffic to your website? Are people misspelling your brand name? Do you need to undertake SEO to ensure the keywords commonly associated with your brand are actually driving traffic?
2. Make sure your press coverage has links
For a PR person, there is probably no greater feeling than seeing your perfect little press release appear in a newspaper almost word for word. However, did you check that there was a link to your website in the article? SEO teaches us that backlinks from good quality sources like newspapers can do wonders for your search rankings. Plus, it will drive more visitors to your website. Every time you receive press coverage online, it is important to check for a link. If there isn’t one, use your PR charm to ask the journalist to add it in. It provides additional information for readers and a great citation for your website.
3. Add engaging and shareable PR content to your website
Adding content to your website that is fresh, unique and shareable on social media is not only good for your brand and engaging visitors to your website, but it can also impact on your visibility in search engine results. This means that regularly adding press releases, feature articles, videos and other PR content to your website is essential. Modern SEO is all about creating content for users, not search engines. Search engines will reward companies with better rankings if they frequently create high quality content for their website.
4. Make your press releases and PR documents search engine friendly
Just like when you write the headline and first paragraph for your press release to ensure the who, what, where, when and why is covered, you should also be thinking about the keywords you need to include to help people understand and find your news in search results. Remember to write your press release first and foremost for your audience – you should never stuff your news with keywords to try to improve your rankings. Don’t forget to include a few anchor text links in your press release to your website as well, but be careful not to overuse these.
It is also important to optimise all of the PR and corporate documents that are on your website, such as PDFs of your annual reports, fact sheets, flyers and publicity materials. Search engines do read PDFs, so make it easier for them to find and index your document by setting the document properties to include a relevant and keyword-rich title, subject and tags. Finally, a user and search-engine friendly filename is important, so avoid filenames like ‘123456789final.pdf’ and go for ‘Company Name-AnnualReport.pdf’ instead.
5. Brainstorm company stakeholders that you can ask for links
If your company has corporate partners or sponsors an event or charity, provide a link to them on your website and ask for one back in return. Check the websites of your company’s stakeholders and search for any high quality websites that are including information about your company but aren’t linking to you yet. Ensuring your website has links from good quality websites will help to improve your SEO, and also helps to attract additional visitors to your site.
PR can learn a lot from the principles and practices of SEO. So make sure you spend time on integrating them effectively to help increase your brand visibility and awareness, drive traffic to your website and build a stronger overall online presence.