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Search Engine Optimization 101: What It Means For PR and Marketing
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Search Engine Optimization 101:
What it means for PR and Marketing
"A lot of SEO has been focused on technical matters and very highly specific
ways to configure your website and stuff like that.
There are best practices, and you need to make sure you get the basics right,
but it is true that a lot of SEO is now circling back around to good old fashioned
marketing [and PR].” –Matt Cutts, Google SEO guru
SEO, PR AND
1. SEO overview
1. The foundation: keyword research
1. On-page optimization – the “stuff” on your website
1. Off-page optimization – coverage, links, social media, content
1. SEO, PR, Media – what you can do now
1. Website content and
2. Smartwool’s press
3. Opportunities for
What is “Search Engine Optimization:”
• Influencing natural search results, not buying keywords/links (SEM).
• 60% “art,” 40% “science”
Why SEO is important:
• Website traffic drives direct sales. Our clients increasingly want to sell direct.
• 60% of clicks on Google in the top 3 results; 75% in the top 5.
• Users refine queries instead of scrolling.
• Search (Bing/Google) is the default internet “home base.”
• Words you use and quality of content
• Links pointing back to your site
• Some technical stuff (search engine indexing, website design)
• Authenticity, reputation, credibility, relevancy, freshness
• Social media
Misconceptions: Ongoing process, does not happen overnight. Not a
sketchy/shady practice, but an important part of a brand’s online strategy.
“I Want to Be #1 On Google”
Keyword research = targeting.
What do you want to rank on Google for? Consider:
• “Socks” vs “Wool Hiking Socks”
• Searcher Intent: navigational, research (commercial or non), ready to buy
• Answer users’ questions
• Word meanings: “Compression Stockings” vs. “Compression Socks” vs.
“Running Compression Socks”
• Search volume
• Google understands synonyms and context.
• Can you target “long-tail” keywords to drive more traffic in less time?
• Research with Google Keyword Planner.
Keywords are the foundation. These are the terms that will appear in your press
releases, social media content, articles, pitches, ad copy, etc. They provide
organization and set the tone for SEO efforts. You can’t SEO without keywords.
ON PAGE OPTIMIZATION
The Second Layer of the Foundation: The “Stuff” On Your Webpage
• Rule #1: Sites must be designed for USERS, not SEO.
• Technical website design must reflect keywords.
• Title/meta tags, image descriptions, headings
• Website must be easy for visitors to navigate.
• Website copy: About 100 words per page, using keywords 2-3 times.
• If it’s really hard to work in the keywords, you’re using the wrong keywords.
• Internal Linking: Make your site easy to navigate by linking to pages in copy.
• Name the link: Men's ultra-light running sock vs
• Linking out to other resources is a good thing and helps establish credibility.
• If it seems sketchy… it’s sketchy. Avoid keyword stuffing, spam, etc.
BAD Image Description: Socks, Comfy
Socks, Wool Socks, Run Socks, Happy
Socks, Toe Socks, Best Socks, New
Socks, Colorful Socks, Ski Socks
GOOD Image Description: Men’s merino wool
compression running socks
Everything Else: 3rd Party Links, Media Coverage, Social Media – “Backlinks”
• Authentic links and shares of your page are #1 influencer of search rankings
• 3rd party links back to your site show Google that you are credible and relevant.
• Not all links are equal: CNN.com > ImANewMommyBlogger.blogspot.com.
• Avoid bad, spammy content. Link to good content.
• All important: Quality, quantity, variety, relevant, freshness, newness.
• Links should build naturally (i.e., don’t seed 1,000 overnight and stop).
Key Takeaway: Coverage of your company and products matters. A lot.
Social media is not entirely understood, but is a game-changer:
Correlation with High SEO Rankings:
IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL
• Social shares, likes and comments on posts are increasingly important.
• URLs that are widely share on social media channels rank higher in search.
• Best case: brand's link widely shared (link to content, video, etc.)
• Correlation vs. causation: robust social presence = high SEO rankings.
• Google recognizes and interprets strong social media.
• Google+ is important. Low user volume, but it isn’t going away.
• Facebook took 5 years to overtake MySpace. G+ is 2 years old.
• Integrate G+ into your social strategy and don’t forget about it.
• But don’t spend all your time there.
• Compelling, shareable content is emerging as a key driver of brand
relevancy for a number of reasons:
• Establishes brand story and authenticity
• Builds connection with customers
• ALSO drives SEO
SEO AND PR:
#1: Digital coverage of products/company in a variety of outlets.
• Identify keywords and discuss SEO with PR team.
• Consider adding a specific digital element to your PR strategy
#2: SEO Optimized Press Releases: #1 Rule = Authenticity. SmartWool
• Press releases must include brand keywords – you can’t optimize without.
• 2-3 keywords per hundred words (approximately).
• 1-3 links per hundred words, used naturally.
• Link to relevant pages and social media.
• The text of the link matters – should relate to or include keywords.
• In-content links better than footer or sidebar links.
• Give photos and videos relevant captions.
• Read the copy out loud. Don’t sound like a robot.
• Google understands synonyms. Don’t repeat the same phrase.
• Wire Releases: Something to consider depending on goals.
#3: Consistency between website design, PR, product pages and descriptions.
#4: Branded Content and Social Media: Something to consider.
SEO AND MARKETING:
SEO will improve with an increase in digital conversations about your
• Website design should be clean, organized, easy to use, and include prioritized
• Advertising that starts conversations will drive shares, links, and SEO.
• Advertising and campaigns should be a consistent reflection of brand image,
keywords and website.
• A strong, robust social media fan base (built by ads) will in the long run share
more brand links and drive SEO.
• Does your e-commerce store prompt social action?
• Sharing purchases, viral offer sharing or sales
• Inviting friends to like brand pages, incentive-based referrals
• Social testimonials on product page
SEO RECAP: BASIC
1. Design for users/readers.
a. Authenticity, relevancy, and usefulness drives SEO.
b. What questions does your page answer? Why and how would users find it?
c. If it seems sketchy… it’s sketchy. SEO should be a natural process.
2. Organization comes from a relevant, authentic, targeted set of keywords
a. You search engine optimize for keywords. SEO can’t happen without them.
3. Pages need a technically correct foundation and website design first. BUT with
that established, SEO is then driven primarily through coverage, 3rd party links,
and digital/social conversations about your page.
1. Social media (all channels) is important and can drive SEO
a. Post compelling content that provokes social shares
b. Always ask: If it’s not shareable, do you really want to post it?
c. Example: “What are you doing this weekend?” vs. “This is what we’re doing
this weekend, what do you think?” with link to compelling video.
SEO: WHAT YOU CAN DO
#1 Rule – Be authentic. Design and write with users/readers in mind.
• Take a look at your brand’s pages. Are the pages authentic? Is there a
• If YES, are all digital communications consistent with keywords?
• If NO, what keywords should they be focused on? Can you do some
research and start a conversation?
• Social media: Post content in a variety of mediums (photo/video/links) and from
a variety of sources. Link back to the brand page when relevant and compelling
• “Home Run”: Widely shared posts that include a link to a brand page
• Talk with your PR team:
• Work to secure a variety of legitimate digital
• Follow SEO-optimized press release guidelines
• Consider a wire release if your brand is small, or breaking into a new
• Look at your online store: does it prompt social action during/after purchase?
• How can your ads spark conversations?
• I Want to Be #1 On Google
• Google Keyword Tool
• Smartwool Press Release Example
• SEO Beginner's Guide
• 15 Steps to Power SEO with PR
• Google 101 and Google’s SEO Overview
• Article on SEO, Content, and Marketing
• SEO and Link Building
• SEO 101 Resources (dozens of links to more info and tools)
Backbone Media Account Manager