PR pros have been working for years on new PR trends that will propel their communications strategy forward. Today we’re going to focus on one trend that works quite well with digital public relations, yet is often neglected — SEO.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of improving traffic to your website content through such search engines as Google or Bing.
SEO leverages what we know of search engine algorithms to get content on the first page of search engines, and thus more likely to be seen and clicked on by audiences. SEO strategies include such tactics as keyword research and link building.
But what does SEO have to do with your PR strategy? Let’s take a closer look.
Why SEO is an Important Part of Emerging PR Trends
As mentioned above, one of the major components of SEO is link building — the practice of inserting links to other sites within your content and getting those other sites to link back to your site. This gives a head’s up to search engines that such content is related and boosts the importance of your content when it comes to related search queries.
Would you be surprised to learn that a lot of PR best practices already utilize SEO?
Every time an influencer mentions your brand, it most likely involves a link back to your site. Every time a media site mentions your brand in an article, you may get a new link to your site. All of this is PR and amps your SEO.
So if you’re already doing this, why learn more about SEO?
It’s simple: Learning more about the workings of SEO and consciously using SEO tactics will help take your PR to the next level.
Consider that sites who rank on the first page of Google get 91.5% of all organic search traffic. And 51% of all site traffic comes from search engines. Imagine the stream of traffic you could be missing by not using SEO in your PR strategy.
Adding SEO to your PR tool kit is not simply another task for your workload. It enhances your efforts and boosts your results.
What SEO tactics empower your PR strategy? Let’s look at 5 specific tactics that you should consider.
5 SEO Tactics That Will Boost Your Digital Public Relations
1. Audience Research
Knowing your audience is important on several levels. As PR pros, you need to know your audience to direct your storytelling. When it comes to SEO, audience research tells you what keywords to use and what kind of content is the best.
As you conduct audience research, it’s your job to piece together information such as the pain points and questions that your target audience has.
You can glean this information from various sources, including:
- Google Analytics or another analytics software on your site.
- Social media analytics (i.e., Instagram Insights, Facebook Audience Insights, etc.).
- Interviews with current clients.
- Surveys sent out to your current audience.
2. Link Building
Google takes links very seriously. When it sees links back to your site, it carries a lot of weight in its ranking. To use an analogy, it’s the web version of when cool kids on the playground vouch for you.
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While you may have passively contributed to link building as part of your public relations strategy, it’s now time to actively build links.
This involves looking for potential places to attain backlinks. When you do this, remember that quality counts. What makes a link high quality? First, it should be from a reputable site. Second, it should be from a site that is relevant to your brand — if you’re a B2B software company, a link from a cosmetics company isn’t going to carry as much weight as a link from an influencer in your industry.
Outside of the ordinary link building strategies used by PR pros, what other tactics can you use to get links?Here are a few you might consider
- Guest posting
- Content promotion
Don’t forget that a lot of link building depends on how your content resonates with your audience. When pitching a guest post, for example, you need to demonstrate that you know the audience and that the content is going to interest them. Or when you create an infographic that others can embed on their site, you need to create something that your audience has shown an interest in in the past — and that people will be eager to embed on their sites.
3. Social Media
First of all, we should say that just posting and engaging on social media does not directly impact SEO, since the majority of links on social media are nofollow ones. That being said, there are a few ways that social media can have a positive influence on your SEO.
For starters, social media is an undeniable powerhouse of influence. As you grow your social media presence and engage with your audience, it creates excitement around your brand. This excitement, in turn, has the power to create positive brand mentions on and off social media. Such brand mentions are a component of a good SEO score.
Second, social media is a great place to interact with influencers — those in your industry who have a large social pull and who, by default, usually have sites with a high SEO ranking. Social media gives you the opportunity to engage with such influencers, and if done right, can lead to an eventual partnership.
4. Content Strategy
Content is an essential part of both SEO and PR. Whether you write a blog post, ebook, or a byline for a media publication, it all comes down to content. And content creation often falls on PR pros to create on behalf of their clients.
A common SEO tactic that PR pros can use when it comes to their content development is keyword research. Such research tells you what phrases are most searched for on search engines and what topics are most popular in your industry.
Use a keyword research tool like the Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to see what long tail keywords (those that are 3 words or more) are most commonly searched for in your industry. Once you have these keywords, ensure that your content has these keywords sprinkled between 3-5 times throughout your article.
Aside from keyword research, you can also use such tools as Google Trends or the Related Search section of Google to find out what questions and subjects are most popular at the moment. Or you could check out what your competitors are doing, both on their site and social media to see what is working for them.
All of this informs your content creation to maximize the impact of your PR.
Your site’s authority isn’t just measured by what you do on your site. It also about how your site is viewed by others. That means the links that point to your site, as well as what people say about your site.
Just as PR pros pitch stories to media outlets, a key tactic in SEO is outreach to influential sites. Although these two have different goals, the practice is similar. When you get a link link back to your site, what does this do for your SEO? When search engines see links from other sites to your site, it shows that your content is respected — boosting your overall authority.
As you plan which sites to pitch or reach out to, the site’s authority should definitely be a factor. You can check this with a free tool like this one from Ahrefs. Simply enter the site’s URL and you’ll receive a score for that site. When a high authority site links to you, some of that authority rubs off on your site.
SEO tactics are not just for content marketing — they’ve proven themselves to be an essential tool for PR strategies and a viable PR trend. It’s time for PR pros to utilize more of these tactics as part of their PR arsenal if they want to empower their public relations strategy.
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