Developing an effective online campaign is harder than most want to admit. PR professionals who are used to the typical ways of delivering a brand will benefit from an online marketing lens in order to balance messaging efforts across search marketing platforms. Following are some guidelines for SEO, paid search and writing for the Web as ways to reach client PR goals.
Keyword development is the single most important thing you can do when planning an online campaign. If your clients do not have 20-30 keywords, ask them for service keywords, executive management names, branded products/service and phrases they know their clients use when searching for their types of products/services.
Additionally, you can refine keywords based on where they operate. Then, you will need to get two or three of their competitors to assess what keywords they are competing for and winning in. You will also be able to see if their competitors are investing in paid or natural search by reviewing keywords in Google Keyword Estimator, doing manual searches by keyword and by using some of the paid, but effective, tools like www.keywordspy.com. Always make sure that you use your top keyword phrases throughout any copy you develop for your client.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Keywords need to include both long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords. “Online marketing” is an example of a short-tail keyword, while “Online marketing for professional services firms” is a long-tail keyword. Short-tail keywords get more hits but are less focused and associated with research. Long-tail keywords get fewer hits but are associated with the buying phase.
Keyword phrases can be many and varied. The buying behavior keywords can contain exact matches to product/service names, descriptions, exact locations or names of people.
SEO keywords tell the search engines what you do; therefore, the more your keyword phrases represent that, the better. Once you have your SEO keyword list, you must ensure they are populated and tagged on all of your clients’ content and platforms.
Paid search is buying ad space on search engines based on keywords and is a fast and easy way to drive leads. For better ROI, you should focus your efforts on long-tail keywords.
If your Web site is new or has little to no traffic, it is worthwhile to buy short-tail keywords in paid search while your SEO program takes effect. To determine the costs per click you will be charged in Google and other search engines, use this tool—http://www.google.com/sktool/#—to yield suggestive keywords and related price bids.
Beyond having the right mix of keywords to drive interest and direct response in paid search, your Web copy within the paid ads must be relevant to the search and drive action. Guidelines for writing for paid search:
• The ad title should have the search term in it.
• The first line should include the keyword term and the value proposition.
• The final line should include the value differentiator (either type of service, product or price point).
Here’s an example:
Search term: “Boxing Classes”
Taught by pro trained boxers, intro and advanced.
Only $20/pp. Taught daily. All boroughs.
WRITING FOR THE WEB
When writing content for the Web, you must follow some rules in order to enhance search visibility and engagement.
1. SEO works not only by keywords on your site, but it is also heavily influenced by relevant and quality Web sites where your business is linked to, via a listing, article submission or video /image submission that is tagged.
2. On your site, make sure that you are continually adding content with primary keywords infused into the copy. Make sure you do not overload your copy with keywords. This can be referred to as keyword spamming and it is not appreciated by users or search engines.
3. Link internal pages.
4. Each page should be dedicated to a specific offering or benefit and have a keyword strategy. Again, make sure that you are developing a few keyword phrases per page.
5. Use primary keyword phrases in all your headings.
6. Test keyword phrase density to assess the keyword density. You need to have a density of 3% to 5%. You can find analysis tools at http://webdesign.about.com/od/seo/tp/keyword_density_analyzers.htm.
ENGAGING WEB WRITING
Effective article writing and placement is important for two reasons: SEO and brand building.
• KISS—Keep It Simple Stupid—is a must in writing for the Web. Content should not be intellectually void, but it should not contain complex sentences and should be easy to understand.
• The key to writing articles beyond research and creating an angle is to put important messaging at the head of the page—the summary of the story should come before introduction. Web users tend to scan, not read.
• Press releases and most online content now is made attractive through the use of multimedia. Audiences now expect this. Press releases therefore, should contain a short video, an image and aquote. Further, tagging multimedia with keywords always boosts SEO ranking.
• Blogs are a more personal form of writing and work well when creating a personal branding story or when it is based on a specific subject or theme. Images increase blog post appeal, and should always be tagged with keyword phrases for SEO purposes. PRN
[Editor’s Note: For more of Sally Falkow's SEO strategies and best practices, watch PR News' SEO Strategies & Tactics to Boost Your PR Webinar on demand.
This article was excerpted from PR News’ Digital PR Guidebook, Vol. 3. This and other guidebooks can be ordered at http://www.prnewsonline.com/store.]
Jasmine Sandler is the CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.