A large (and growing) number of companies are deploying some form of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Because of this, these companies are dissecting their communication practices with the hopes of harnessing the power of the internet. Companies of all sizes are taking down the silos and integrating online campaigns with their offline campaigns and vica versa. Additionally, lead generation via the web is becoming more important than ever, even for those who were not traditionally considered part of the sales funnel, like PR. If you’re in PR, then you’re in luck. There are plenty of opportunities for you to show measurable results, but only if you know how to take the wall down and mesh your PR efforts with your company’s SEO strategy.
So, what does SEO involve?
SEO is a lot of things, it’s making sure your on-page dynamics such as Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, H1-H6 Tags, linking issues etc… are exactly what they need to be. SEO also involves off-page dynamics. Where are your links coming from? What are they linking to and not over optimizing your “anchor text”. When these two dynamics work together, SEO takes shape and you will see the volume and quality of traffic coming to your site via search engines increase. This of course is under the assumption that you have done some initial keyword research and have determined what phrases you want to target.
Many PR departments aren’t to worried about on-page dynamics such as website structure. However, the PR department does influence a number of areas that can determine your SEO success or failure. This is where the opportunity lies for your PR team to contribute and benefit from a company’s SEO strategy.
Influencer Engagement (Bloggers)
Most bloggers include links to relevant websites within the different articles they write. This goes for media websites as well. Additionally, many of these influencers have already done the leg work and created a community who all have the same passion.
Let’s take an outdoor lifestyle influencer (blogger) as an example. Let’s say this particular lifestyle blogger’s website gets over 5,000 unique visitors per day and also has over 35,000 Twitter followers, 25,000 Facebook Page Likes and 10,000 Instagram followers. You being an outdoor gear company would be a perfect fit and it would likely be quite easy to engage/work with this particular influencer. Creating content and sharing your offering with this blogger’s community.
What exactly should you do? You can encourage all of this by engaging yourself:
Link back to relevant posts, retweet/favorite tweets from community influencers. Additionally, you should be working just as hard to position your company as an authority or influencer online. This will put your business on other’s radar screens. This “top-of-mind” presence can translate into important visibility and publicity opportunities.
Develop relationships with bloggers and link back to their own blog from your company’s blog. Do this only when it makes sense.
Stay on top of what community influencers are talking about and what the people in those communities are engaging with.
Understanding how online audiences communicate with your business, your products and services, even issues they might be having and using a consistent voice in your online communications is one of the blocks SEO was built on. What PR pros need to understand and utilize is the keywords that the SEO team ID’ed.
Tactics you can use:
Write news releases with search engines in mind and include the keywords your business identified.
Offline, and much like your content, when talking to news outlets, reporters, influencers or any external party, the one talking should include those keywords. Keep this consistent in your organization as well. By “training” all employees to use a certain language (keywords), increases the chances of various blog posts and articles consisting of those keywords along with your company name and a link to your site. If done correctly, this could all work together and become a great way to gain inbound links to your site which is necessary for SEO.
If you have a blog, keep it up to date! Consistently posting on your company’s blog puts you in a favorable position with search engines. Your blog can work double time when you mesh important keywords into blog posts. Doing this will force your blog to work as a communications tool as well as a visibility tool.
With this crossover, how does one effectively manage each and every task? Well, just like any real life relationship, communication is key. As the SEO team works more closely with your PR team the two departments will need to communicate. A LOT. What you don’t want to happen is have each team perform the same task without the other one being updated with developments. Communicate while working on joint projects otherwise you will be duplicating the workload.
It’s no secret that engaging content which is targeted at the correct audience won’t just increase brand awareness, but it will also encourage people to share. Content has really become the glue that binds SEO and PR together. These, at the core, are the two main goals of any search engine optimization or public relations professional. Additionally, any relationship a PR expert makes with an influencer could be a game change for your SEO team. In its simplest, joint PR and SEO goals may develop stronger digital marketing plans which assist in ultimately spearheading brand visibility.