The role of PR is changing rapidly, particularly in digital channels. One change augurs well for PR, if communicators can speak the language of SEO.
SEO is a zero-sum game: 88 percent of clicks on non-ad (organic) results go to those on the first search-results page. 90 percent of all sites receive no organic clicks.
Typically, PR pros emphasize their work's long-term value for branding and positioning. In addition, they tout leads and near-term impressions. But there’s a different source of long-term value that PR pros can build and get credit for: SEO value.
How does PR Boost Search Engine Rankings?
Many factors go into how sites are ranked for a query. These include: the site’s authority, how its content aligns with the query, how pages link to each other, page titles and description, and whether the site (sometimes inadvertently) uses tactics that 'spammy' sites employ.
The factor weights differ with every query and across different countries. AI solutions can help you understand what drives results for each query. This helps focus your SEO effort. There really are a thousand things you can do. These include:
- adjusting titles and descriptions of every page on the site
- working on backlinks to each page of the site
- adjusting content depth and word balance on each page
- sculpting internal link structures of the site
- fixing broken or poorly structured site links and
- cleaning myriad potential page penalties
One baseline SEO need for many sites is links from other high-authority sites. Successful PR campaigns can result in exactly that. But, you must take the right steps to optimize placements, bylines or otherwise for SEO. This case study from Frahm Digital shows the types of sites you want to get links from, and the integrated nature of a full-fledged SEO campaign.
How Do I Build SEO Value?
Here are practices to employ:
Know Keywords that Matter: Certain search terms matter more than others, based on their volume, where the company ranks and how well they align with its business. Use these keywords in your bylined articles. Use SEMRush for keyword research.
Fight for Links: Without links back to the company's site, SEO value is lost. Negotiate linking from the placement when you can and build in links if possible. For example, add value to an article with links to surveys, white papers and other info-rich assets.
Weigh Exclusivity vs. Reach: Often we trade away reach for better positioning in a top publication. But for SEO, this approach should be weighed against broader distribution of your article. Again, with links.
Respond in the Form of Q&A/FAQ: Some search real estate contains FAQ answers. Include questions and answers in your bylined articles. Publish the articles on your site. Tools like Frase can help.
Drive Traffic from On-site PR to Revenue-Oriented Site Pages: Make sure your company adds internal links to releases on its site and tracks activity.
Track Client Rankings: Use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs or STAT to track how your company places in searches. Once you know, analyze their progress. Search engine rankings can take as long as 2 months to adjust, so be patient.
Do What You’ve Always Done, Produce Quality Content: In June, Google released a regular core update, adjusting its search engine's underlying code. But Google has reiterated that its search lodestar is great content, which follows E-A-T core principles.
Last, if you haven’t started looking at content marketing as a practice extension, it's time. The skill sets required for PR and content marketing are similar, and the value to companies you represent is multiplied.
If you’re utilizing the same, old SEO practices, take off the blinders. Broaden your awareness. That’s what it takes to win the race.
Jonathan Epstein is CEO of Brewco