Public Relations & SEO: An Overview Amy Marshall, Online Marketing Specialist UVA Health System January 5, 2011
A definition Search Engine Optimization – the process of getting found by Search engines Target audiences Attracting the attention of both requires an approach that covers website content and design, social media, public relations, marketing, and other communications efforts.
What does SEO entail? Paid/Adwords vs. Nonpaid/Organic Organic or nonpaid search accounts for most website traffic. Tasks for Organic/Nonpaid search include: Keyword research Page optimization Link building Social media Content strategy
Keyword Research Answers the question what are people looking for and how are they finding it? Keywords are the terms or phrases people use when performing a search on the web. An evolving and complex process, researching the best keywords to help people find the targeted web page(s) involves identifying the most effective and commonly used terms that match the specific content and tasks that web page offers. Keyword research forms the foundation of the basic goal of any SEO process: Getting found.
Optimizing Pages For a page to be found, it must clearly and accurately identify itself and its content to both search engines and users. This means both the content users see and the metadata search engine robots read must clearly state the topic and its relevance – so users know if they want to click and robots know where to rank the page.
Link Building Search engines give more weight to websites with a large number of links from other credible websites. Inbound links also maximize the ability for users to find us. Sites to find:
Manage Social Media Presence A successful SEO campaign requires social media engagement. Not only does social media create links, drive traffic, and build reputation with a targeted audience, but search engines rank websites with social media engagement higher in their search results pages than those without it.
Ongoing Content Plan It’s not enough for a website or page to be accessible through search; to maintain high search engine rankings over time requires that users consider the content on the site itself worthwhile, user-friendly, customer-centric, trustworthy, and appealing.
SEO & PR: Shared Goals Building the organization’s reputation and awareness Attracting attention and interest Improving and creating relationships outside the organization Driving, connecting, and matching people to services they need that we offer (that is, getting business) In fact, SEO PR is kind of a sub-branch of SEO, defined as: …a blend of search engine visibility and traditional public relations that disperses a company’s message across the Internet by way of online media outlets and search engines. SEO PR not only helps disseminate an organization’s messages, but it also incorporates search engine-friendly communication through techniques such as optimizing copy in online content such as press releases, articles, whitepapers, blogs, RSS feeds and websites.
Similar Tactics Public relations strives to build a company’s reputation, largely through the use of positive media coverage. SEO (link-building, especially) strives to build a website’s reputation by getting links from relevant and respected web sites – including media sites, social media sites, etc. Both require: Knowing the audience Writing for that audience Content knowledge Relationship-building
How does SEO benefit PR? SEO: Increases visibility and ultimately more views of press releases Allows your target audience to find you Garner more media coverage
How does PR benefit SEO? SEO-optimized press releases generate: Media relationships that can lead to valuable linking and social media connections Backlinks from credible news sites which increases the ranking of your website or blog for your keywords Visibility in search engines Ranking in Google News and Yahoo News for your keywords Tens of thousands of headline impressions across hundreds of blogs, websites, and news sites that run RSS headlines
A Nice Quote “To get the maximum return from any publicity effort, PR people and SEO people need to meet together and look for the synergies that can be created through their respective disciplines.”
Some first steps: From the SEO side, we can: Track traffic for specific news-related items Track search results and social media mentions Optimize pages and content to reflect news items; link to press releases Share opportunities for outreach or coverage that appear in search
First Steps From the PR side, helpful items include: Using keywords for specific anchor text – the terms that link to the site – in press releases Linking back to uvahealth.com where possible – and where it makes sense Writing appealing releases that people will want to share Try (if not already) an online press release distribution service that pushes releases out to online as well as print media Share contacts and connections for link-building activities where appropriate
Resources for Further Research: http://hubpages.com/hub/SEO-Press-Releases-How-to-Write-them-and-Where-to-Submit-Them http://publicrelationsblogger.com/2010/05/what-is-seo-pr-search-engine.html http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/03/4tips-approval-optimized-press-releases/