SEO and PR

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Slides presented by Simon Sanders to PROI Workshop in Istanbul October 2010.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The importance of search results for reputation management
• How Google works - all about optimising
• Paid search - and its role in PR
• Applying SEO to PR - steps you can take

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  • Paid search (PPC)
    ‘Instant’ results
    Natural search (SEO)
    Ongoing effort
    Brand approach?
    To integrate natural and paid search
    Use paid search for quick and guaranteed visibility
    Reduce long-term dependency on paid search through SEO
  • Paid search (PPC)
    ‘Instant’ results
    Natural search (SEO)
    Ongoing effort
    Brand approach?
    To integrate natural and paid search
    Use paid search for quick and guaranteed visibility
    Reduce long-term dependency on paid search through SEO
  • Google matches what users want with what is available…
    what they type + the best match
    …according to how a page matches and its relative reputation
    how often keywords appear + number of sites that link to you
  • ‘Best practice’ guidelines apply – don’t fall foul of Google, can suddenly disappear completely – happened to Go Compare and their traffic plummeted overnight
    Rules and algorithms change often to offer better search results and counter those that try to ‘game’ Google
  • 1. What is a title tag?
    The title tag determines the name of a web page as it appears in Google. The content of the title tag plays an important part in the ranking a page gets in Google and Bing.
  • What is a title tag?
    The title tag determines the name of a web page. Title tags are mostly visible in Google and in the browser.
    GoogleThe page title Google shows is a page’s title tag. The same goes for Bing.
    BrowserThe title tag appears in the browser title bar and the browser tabs. When you add a page to your favorites or when you share a page via social media, the title tag is what apppears as the page title.

    Is the title tag important?
    You bet it is. The title tag is one of the most important things to get right if you want to do well in Google. It’s not the only thing but if you neglect your title tags you’re making it very hard on yourself.
    Tips for a good title tag
    1. Use no more than 66 characters
    Search engines only show a limited number of characters of the title tag. Google shows the first 66 characters. After that, it simply adds an ellipsis (…). If you want your title tags to look professional, don’t use more than 66 characters.
    Short titles are easier to read than long ones.
    The less words there are in your title tag, the more value Google attributes to each word. As a consequence, it’s easier for a keyword to score well in a title tag of 4 words than it is in a title tag of 8 words. This is called keyword density.
    2. Make sure your title tag accurately describes your page
    The title tag should contain the keyword you want to score with for that page.
    Make sure you use that keyword somewhere on the page itself.
    Use a keyword your visitors use. It’s nice to do well in Google but if it’s with a word nobody uses it’s not really going to do you any good.
    3. Think about what you want the page to do
    Make sure the title tag and content of the page correspond with the reasons people visit that page.‘Netbooks: reviews of the fastest models’ will appeal to a different audience and create different expectations than ‘Cheap netbooks’.
    4. Put the keyword first
    Google reportedly attributes more value to the first word in a title tag than the last one.
    Jakob Nielsen’s research shows that the first 11 characters determine whether someone continues to read on or not.
    5. Don’t forget to mention your brand name
    Putting your brand name in the title tag isn’t all that important if you’re a small company. But if you’re one of the leading players in your field, it’s a good idea to mention your brand name in your title tags.
    Wa advise most companies to put their brand name last. Only on your homepage should your brand name be first.
    If you’re an absolute top brand that the majority of people knows and trusts, it can be interesting to start your title tags with your brand name.
    6. Separate your brand name from the page title
    Use a vertical dash (|) or hyphen (-) to separate your brand name from the actual page title.
    7. Write attractive title tags
    If you stuff the title tag full of keywords, you’ll probably score well in Google. But it will make your title tag unattractive and people won’t click on it. So you’re kind of missing the point.
    For a lot of people, the title tag is their first introduction to your brand. Make sure you make a good first impression.
    Your web page’s title tag appears in a list with other search results. Make sure it stands out.
    8. Unique for every page
    Each page of your web site should have a unique title tag. If you can’t decide what a page is really about, how is Google supposed to know?
    How can you adapt your title tags?
    That depends on your website. Hopefully, you’re using a content management system (CMS) that lets you adapt the title tag of every page manually.
    If you’re choosing a new CMS, make sure it allows you to do that. If you want to do well in Google, it’s vital.
  • But N.B. Paid search offers excellent insights – look at the details!
    Click-through rates and conversions (tells you which words, terms work best)
    PR can recycle top performing terms in tags, descriptions and content
    Remember: many keywords could be ‘long tail’ phrases not always considered
    Paid search can work for tactical / one-off / seasonal / crisis campaigns
  • SEO and PR

    1. 1. 1 Social media How you find people Search How people find you
    2. 2. 2 Search engines are most visited websites (UK)
    3. 3. 3 Google > 90% of search in UK
    4. 4. 4 Q: How can you get visibility? A: SEO – optimising content for search engines the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via natural search results Wikipedia
    5. 5. 5 How do we find info / websites? Type in the URL? Google it?
    6. 6. 6 We Google it – whether area of interest or brand
    7. 7. 7 “Your reputation lives on Google’s results page”
    8. 8. 8 Look what happened Old news got republished by mistake on a US media website and then got republished by Bloomberg Share price fell 75% - $1bn wiped off - when Google indexed the story
    9. 9. 9 Natural search results Natural search
    10. 10. 10 Natural v paid search
    11. 11. 11 Paid search results Paid search
    12. 12. 12 Natural v paid Paid search Sponsored Pay per click Natural search Organic SEO
    13. 13. 13 Speed of results: SEO v paid search
    14. 14. 14 Paid search = instant, guaranteed placement
    15. 15. 15 When should you use paid search? Crisis One-off Seasonal Tactical
    16. 16. 16 Google’s mission? “Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
    17. 17. 17
    18. 18. 18 Blended results
    19. 19. 19 It matches what users want… according to how a page matches… …and its relative reputation …with what is available. How does Google work?
    20. 20. 20 SEO - the task Best practice’ guidelines apply – rules and algorithms change often TASK WHICH MEANS… HOW? Understand what users are looking for You need to understand the keywords people type Use keyword research to know what users are looking for Increase your use of these keywords You can respond to what people are looking for Use keywords in titles (pages, headings) tags (meta, images, video), links (external, internal) and copy (releases, articles, reports) Increase the number and quality of links to your site Creating content to fill in content gaps Earn ‘human’ attention, visits, recommendations and links – and earn more attention from Google
    21. 21. 21 e.g. SEO basics: <title> and <description> tags
    22. 22. 22 e.g. bad use of <descriptions> should be unique for each page
    23. 23. 23 Sample tips: good <title> and <description> tags > 66 – 70 characters max > Be accurate > Decide the purpose > Put the keywords first > Mention your brand name > Keep page title and brand name separate > Write attractive <title> tags > Write unique <title> tags for every page > 155 characters max > Use keywords you want to score with for that page > Don’t create false expectations > Think about your target audience > Tell the user what to expect > Write properly! > Don’t repeat the page title > Don’t just pull in first words of content > Unique <description> for every page
    24. 24. 24 Plenty of blogs on every aspect of optimisation – images, video, meta data etc.
    25. 25. 25 SEO for PR – eight things you can do > Generate content > Optimise for your keywords > Promote via social media > Develop your online newsroom > Use wire services > Ask mainstream media > Use paid search > Measure the value
    26. 26. 26 Eight things you can do – SEO for PR > Remember this simple rule: if Google can search it, find it and index it…then it’s worth creating content for it > So…news releases, reports, white papers, images, videos, FAQs, newsletters, blogs and more > Don’t just create all this quality content – you optimise it and promote it to earn links as well as traffic > Use keyword research e.g. Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool or Insights for Search to discover the terms that users search for and trends > Also ask for summaries of client’s / other agency PPC reports to inform what keywords are converting > Google Analytics insight from the webmaster about which search terms are being used and from which sources are also invaluable > When you have your keywords in mind – use them to tag appropriate content > In press releases use keywords in body copy of releases as well as titles and subheads > Write for humans and don’t stuff keywords too heavily (e.g. one or two phrases used 3-4 times max) > Work with clients / webmasters to ensure that the site is crawlable > e.g. avoid pages built in Flash, esnure you have an XML site map > Use keywords in title tags, page titles, section headings, body copy, link text, image alt text, navigation text and footer text > Create an online newsroom as part of main website > a blog-based system can be very easy to content manage and has in-built SEO benefits > create keyword-rich categories that will help users as well as search engines > Promote this content via mainstream / social media > Use media relations / social media networks / outreach > Add book-markng / sharing tools to make it easy for users to save / forward / share your content > Create and post alternative formats of the release (Word, PDF) > Don’t just post the release into your online newsroom – also blog / tweet the release and link to the press release > If budget allows, use wire services – can create extra links and news visibility > Where possible ask media to include the links you want and link text you want them to use > Use pay-per-click for short-term / quick response visibility. > e.g. time-sensitive / crisis / seasonal / reactive use can produce visibility in minutes > providing alternative content for negative listings in search results. > can use it to attract attention to news stories and then turn off when required e.g. after pick-up by media. > Measure the value > e.g. use unique tracking URLs in releases that link to specific landing pages > monitor release rankings, news visibility, social mentions, traffic & outcomes
    27. 27. 27 Social media How you find people Search How people find you Increasing importance of social media for search Who talk about you, link to you and drive traffic Which gets noticed by search engines
    28. 28. 28 SMO = Social media optimisation > Google loves blogs - > easy to index -> regularly updated -> themed content > You Tube / Flickr – video and images > Facebook and LinkedIn results rank highly for individuals > Tweets being indexed and ranked prominently in results > Provide quality content -> Build relationships / networks -> increasing traffic > Social media relationships -> Make friends, help out, give advice > Make it easy for people to find your content / share your content > ‘Like’ buttons, ‘Tweet this’ buttons
    29. 29. 29 Remember: optimise for your audience
    30. 30. 30 Remember: focus on your keywords
    31. 31. 31 Keywords What do people search for about ‘my issue’?
    32. 32. 32 Example using ‘public affairs’ as base keyword of how other relevant terms can be researched Most efficient: Click through rate = impressions / clicks. ‘Long-tail’ terms that are very valuable to know! Most effective: What produces most clicks? And at what cost? Most volume: What words / terms are most searched for?
    33. 33. 33 Google Insights – into what people search for…
    34. 34. 34 Google Insights – do people think of ‘spill’ or ‘leak’?
    35. 35. 35 Learnings from Google Adwords and Insights? Keywords are not always what you expect! There can be big differences between… …words and terms we think people use and what they do use (implications for content generation > URLs, titles, descriptions, tags) i.e. ‘most-searched’ AND ‘most clicked’ words / terms (implications for natural search > the words you choose to use) i.e. ‘most-clicked’ AND ‘most cost-effective’ words (implications for paid search too > which words are ‘action’ words to buy)
    36. 36. 36 What can you discover from paid search? Which keywords and terms work best What to recycle in tags, descriptions and content Where long-tail content gains can be
    37. 37. 37 Eight things you can do – SEO for PR > Remember this simple rule: if Google can search it, find it and index it…then it’s worth creating content for it > So…news releases, reports, white papers, images, videos, FAQs, newsletters, blogs and more > Don’t just create all this quality content – you optimise it and promote it to earn links as well as traffic > Use keyword research e.g. Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool or Insights for Search to discover the terms that users search for and trends > Also ask for summaries of client’s / other agency PPC reports to inform what keywords are converting > Google Analytics insight from the webmaster about which search terms are being used and from which sources are also invaluable > When you have your keywords in mind – use them to tag appropriate content > In press releases use keywords in body copy of releases as well as titles and subheads > Write for humans and don’t stuff keywords too heavily (e.g. one or two phrases used 3-4 times max) > Work with clients / webmasters to ensure that the site is crawlable > e.g. avoid pages built in Flash, esnure you have an XML site map > Use keywords in title tags, page titles, section headings, body copy, link text, image alt text, navigation text and footer text > Create an online newsroom as part of main website > a blog-based system can be very easy to content manage and has in-built SEO benefits > create keyword-rich categories that will help users as well as search engines > Promote this content via mainstream / social media > Use media relations / social media networks / outreach > Add book-markng / sharing tools to make it easy for users to save / forward / share your content > Create and post alternative formats of the release (Word, PDF) > Don’t just post the release into your online newsroom – also blog / tweet the release and link to the press release > If budget allows, use wire services – can create extra links and news visibility > Where possible ask media to include the links you want and link text you want them to use > Use pay-per-click for short-term / quick response visibility. > e.g. time-sensitive / crisis / seasonal / reactive use can produce visibility in minutes > providing alternative content for negative listings in search results. > can use it to attract attention to news stories and then turn off when required e.g. after pick-up by media. > Measure the value > e.g. use unique tracking URLs in releases that link to specific landing pages > monitor release rankings, news visibility, social mentions, traffic & outcomes

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