SEO for PR Pros


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Intro to search engine optimization (SEO) for PR people, including five best practices and an overview of how to optimize your content for search.

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SEO for PR Pros

  1. 1. SEO for public relations prosSeptember 27, 2011<br />Laura Kempke<br />SVP, Content Marketing Services<br />@laurakempke<br />
  2. 2. Process of improving visibility of a website in search engines via “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results (Source: Wikipedia)<br />SEO defined<br />ORGANIC<br />PAID<br />PAID<br />
  3. 3. Website traffic and conversions<br />Attract/influence people searching for information on which you’re an authority<br />Likely don’t know your brand names<br />More people click on organic results than on sponsored links<br />Part of the top of the online marketing conversion funnel<br />Your alternatives: a lot of advertising or reliance on brand recognition<br />Why do marketers care about SEO?<br />
  4. 4. Clear relationship between placement in search results and click-throughs to a web page<br />Placement on results page matters<br />Source: Optify, “The Changing Face of SERPs: Organic Click-Through Rate,” 2011<br />
  5. 5. What affects search rankings?<br />… and many things we can influence<br />Things PR people can’t control …<br />High-quality, fresh website content<br />Use of keywords—prominence and repetition of terms people actually search on<br />Popular social media content that includes links to the site<br />Links from authoritative websites (e.g., media sites)<br />Consistency over time<br />Website technology (e.g., URL structure, page load time)<br />Site age<br />Heavy use of technologies like Flash<br />Inclusion of XML site map<br />4<br />You have some control over:<br /><ul><li>On-page SEO = factors internal to your website
  6. 6. Off-page SEO = mostly link-building from other sites</li></li></ul><li>SEO Best Practices for PR People<br />
  7. 7. Research your keywords and use them <br /> But don’t let them get in the way of good writing<br />Keywords are the words people really use when searching<br />Probably not your brand names<br />You might call it “customer care,” but if people search on “customer service,” you must weigh value of search volume vs. messaging<br />If a list doesn’t exist, create one<br />Google Analytics—Check traffic to see what terms bring people to your website; exclude paid search, branded terms<br /> and other free tools will let you explore keywords and understand how competitive it will be to rank for them<br />Reality check—only use terms if they describe what your organization offers<br />1<br />
  8. 8. Long-tail keywords are valuable, particularly if you need fast results<br />Create content to support these searches<br />Create pages on your website that use keywords and keep them updated<br />Ranking for competitive keywords may be a long-haul proposition<br />Source: SEOmoz, “Beginner’s Guide to SEO”<br />
  9. 9. Pay attention to titles <br />If you’re writing website copy, use titles on all pages<br />Press release titles shouldn’t be too long (65 characters or fewer)<br />Use a keyword or two, but no more than that<br />Create titles that make people want to read further and share<br />“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest” (Source: Copyblogger Media)<br />2<br />
  10. 10. Use anchor text to link to and within your site <br />In news releases, blog entries and other online content, include keywords in links to pages on your website<br />“Shop towels are ideal for your toughest clean up tasks” vs. “click here for information about shop towels”<br />One to a few words, not long phrases or sentences<br />Go beyond the home page to link to second- and third-level pages<br />Link within your site, or between your blog and website<br />Established corporate website but new blog? Link liberally from the site to the blog and among pages on the blog to build quality links quickly <br />3<br />
  11. 11. Stick with it<br />Website pages must be maintained over time<br />SEO isn’t a project that you complete and then move on<br />Search engine algorithms change, as do your competitors’ SEO strategies, so continued cultivation is necessary<br />If you need an immediate lift in website traffic, consider using PPC also<br />4<br />
  12. 12. Determine metrics and measure progress<br />Rankings matter, but aren’t the only result to consider<br />Increased website traffic. Better yet, website conversions<br />Use Google Analytics or other analytics software for tracking<br />Include calls to action on landing pages <br />Look at bounce rate, time on site<br />If visitors aren’t spending time on your site, clicking deeper into the site or converting based on your CTAs, your keywords may be bringing in the wrong people<br />More inbound links<br />Should be accompanied by a quality metric—poor-quality links can work against you<br />SEOmoz Open Site Explorer and HubSpotLinkGrader let you look at links<br />Able to hold conversions steady, but decrease PPC budget<br />5<br />
  13. 13. How to Optimize PR Content for Search<br />
  14. 14. May not be able to pick site technology or affect navigation, page load time, URL structure<br />But you can write great copy, proper headers and include links using anchor text<br />Ensure you have pages that map to keywords (i.e., include the term in the header and first paragraph, then a few more times throughout)<br />Use variations on keywords, not the exact term repeatedly<br />Keep pages up to date <br />Fix or delete broken links <br />Build the foundation: Website copy<br />
  15. 15. Journalists may not like them, but releases have SEO value when used properly<br />Write short titles<br />If you must write long, get a keyword at the front of the title<br />No links in press release title—distribution services don’t pick them up<br />Write great titles to promote clicks and shares<br />Use quotes<br />BusinessWire’s EON service, built on Vocus’ PR Web, relies on rotating them to keep release fresh <br />Use keywords and variations, but don’t overdo it<br />If you suspect a keyword is used too frequently, try the free PR Newswire keyword density tool:<br />Releases: Maligned by media, but valuable for SEO<br />
  16. 16. Add links using anchor text to keywords<br />Don’t link to the same page more than once<br />Do link to pages deeper in the website or to your blog<br />Consider spelling out your homepage URL at least once since not all syndication sites pick up hyperlinks yet<br />If you’re catering to your local market, add your address<br />All major distribution services claim to provide the best SEO support<br />If partners, VC firms, etc. post your news, check their sites to make sure they’re linking to you<br />News releases, continued<br />
  17. 17. Allow you to continuously add fresh, pertinent content to the site <br />Link to your site and other posts to try to extend time spent with your content<br />Promote and make it easy to share posts to build links<br />Headlines should be short and include a variation on a keyword<br />Invite guest posts and contribute to others’ blogs<br />Quality links matter—don’t rush for quantity without a strategy<br />Media sites linking to your posts may be some of your most valuable links<br />No comment spam<br />Blogs: Your own and other people’s<br />
  18. 18. People sharing your content (plus links) on social sites increases its authority in the eyes of Googleand Bing<br />May counterbalance traditional factors (e.g., site age)<br />Google search results increasingly personalized with local results, “+1” feedback from friends<br />Google+, Twitter, public LinkedIn results show up prominently in search results <br />If you aren’t using social media but care about search, reconsider involvement in social media<br />Superb content is shared, which has SEO value<br />Optimize social content and use keywords in titles<br />Traffic from social sites is measurable using Google Analytics<br />Social media and search go hand-in-hand<br />Social media directly supports search<br />
  19. 19. Videos and webinars<br />Title matters <br />Describe the video or webinar in a summary<br />Use tags if possible (e.g., YouTube)<br />Consider accompanying short videos with a transcript<br />Images<br />Posts with images are more appealing to readers, and therefore more likely to be read and shared<br />Use ALT text to describe the image in detail<br />Surround image with relevant text<br />Include a caption<br />Name the image file in a manner that includes a keyword if possible<br />Presentations<br />SlideShare can provide an easy SEO boost<br />Web video, images, presentations support SEO<br />
  20. 20. Someone has an ax to grind with your company and they’re making a scene online<br />Your product received a negative review<br />Coverage about a resolved crisis is still showing up in search results<br />Ongoing activities<br />Continuously monitor company, product, exec names online<br />Buy domain names, including .org, .net, etc., that include your company or product and negative terms<br />Register for the same terms on social platforms like Twitter<br />Participate in online forums where people are likely to discuss your company should something go wrong so you have an established following<br />After the negative story appears, push positive articles higher in search results<br />Consider a press release with links to your site or other web properties on anchor text <br />Comment on negative posts to state your perspective, include links to site<br />If it’s a media story, ask the journalist or blogger directly for equal time<br />Blog using the same negative terms to allow people to find your response<br />SEO and reputation management<br />
  21. 21. Key takeaways<br />Set your SEO goals<br />Results page placement is important, but not everything<br />Focus on calls to action and conversion<br />Work alongside the online marketing team <br />PR may not own the company’s web presence, but you control a lot of content<br />Consider SEO each time you create online content<br />Know and use your keywords<br />Use anchor text<br />Understand that SEO doesn’t replace quality content creation and shouldn’t get in its way<br />
  22. 22. Thank you<br />Laura Kempke<br />SVP, Content Marketing Services<br />@laurakempke<br />Schwartz MSL<br />230 3rd Ave., Waltham, MA 02451<br />781.684.0770<br /><br />