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Where your company or brand shows up via online search engine results has never been more important. With nearly every company offering accessibility and outreach via its website and social media accounts – and with the majority of people searching for contacts, services and products online – the competition to stand out from the online crowd is tougher than ever. This applies to business-to-business marketers, too. According to Forrester, 74 percent of business buyers do online research before making an offline purchase.
For many people working in PR or communications, search engine optimization (SEO) – the process of controlling and monitoring the visibility of an organization’s website or online materials via unpaid search engines – has become a natural extension of their work.
As digital content continues to grow, businesses (including your competitors!) will continue to focus on SEO and how their communications efforts are helping or hindering it. This is why it’s important to understand some key ways PR tactics can impact fundamentals of SEO. Here are five of them:
Write Right – Any written information your company distributes or makes public – from text in your press releases to content on your blog – can impact your overall SEO strength. Since it’s often part of PR’s function to help craft your news, announcements and blog content, it’s important that your PR person or agency is well versed on how to include quality links and strong, keyword-rich content in your materials. This will help keep visitors on the page, increase engagement and ultimately boost your search ranking. But be careful not to overdo it, search engines are smart and they know if you’re trying to “game” the system. The right balance is key.
Credible Coverage – Speaking of search engines being smart, the media coverage your company receives in what are considered credible news outlets will rank higher in search than coverage run by lesser known, random outlets and sites. PR can help ensure that your news is getting placed in the best targets for your industry, whether it’s Automotive News, The Wall Street Journal or Crain’s Detroit Business.
Social Significance – Your company’s presence on popular social media sites adds to SEO rankings. But just having an account doesn’t guarantee success. Your social media pages need to have regular, consistent activity with substantial content that gets shared, liked, commented on and retweeted. Using your PR team to support your social media strategy by crafting posts, setting up a calendar of relevant topics, helping re-post news and media coverage, etc. can all help your company be seen as relevant in the eyes of search engines.
A Picture is Worth … – In addition to scanning the written content from websites and press releases, search engines also catalog images. For this reason, be sure any press materials you send out have images included. Also consider sending out news that IS an image, such as an infographic or a visual press release. It’s also helpful for your PR team to make sure the file names or tags used to title your image files include keywords that are also used in the correlating news, press release or post – this creates consistency and strengthens SEO.
Then and Now – As you would with any other PR or communications activity, it’s important to measure how you’re doing. It’s worth the time to see where you rank in industry search results before you begin SEO activities or implement a specific PR plan by searching for key terms, products, services, etc. and monitor any movement in your results as your strategy is implemented.
For more insights on how PR and SEO can work hand-in-hand, contact us at 248-269-1122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.