We all know how important link building is for SEO, but in 2013 it is high quality links which will really boost your ranking. SEO in the modern age is about brand building, so it’s essential to make your site stand out from the crowd and use every available resource to get people talking about you. To do that successfully you need to do more than link building – PR can give your brand a big boost driving traffic and your ranking. We’re going to have a look at some of the tricks of the trade for using PR for SEO. So why does it have such an impact and how can you get it to work for you?
PR and SEO go hand in hand
Most people who run a business website are familiar with the concept of SEO; that is, the process of increasing your online visibility. They’re aware of the fundamentals like identifying the keywords that customers are using to find the kinds of products and services you offer, and then making sure that you have plenty of engaging content containing those keywords in order to gain good rankings with the search engines. However, earning real credibility requires something more than just great quality content on your own site; you need an extra ingredient in the form of links from external sites – because if other sites think your content is interesting enough to link to, Google will take their word for it and increase your ranking as a result.
But you can’t just sit back and hope that people will find you and like you enough to link to your site; you need to actively pursue those opportunities and persuade other sites to talk about you. Newspapers and similar sites are some of the most influential and credible sources around, and if you can succeed in getting them talking about you, you could significantly boost traffic to your site and, in turn, your conversion rate. But it’s not all about generating links; the savvy use of PR for SEO will also win you citations which are invaluable for building your brand, something which the search engines find very desirable.
The building blocks of PR for SEO
Selecting the journalists
Whilst it may be obvious that there’s little point approaching a sports journalist about, for example, your new car product, it does pay to put some thought into deciding who you should target with your press release. You might want to ask yourself:
•Who is likely to find what you have to say newsworthy?
•Whose recent work demonstrates an interest in your field?
•Who has access to and influence with your target market?
You also need to position yourself appropriately with the media. For instance, you may dream of getting yourself featured in the quality press (there’s nothing wrong with a little ambition!) but you’re unlikely to appeal to the news editor of a broadsheet if you’re launching a small, local business. However, to use the example of a car product again, you may have a shot at grabbing the attention of the paper’s motoring columnist; and if you succeed there, then other publications are likely to cover your story too, because the media is, in effect, a pyramid with the best and most influential publications at the top, from which the rest take their lead. On the other hand you may not want or need national coverage, so trade publications and local papers, TV or radio might be a more suitable target.
Choose your angle wisely as it will make all the difference as to whether your chosen journalists take your bait. Again, it comes back to being as newsworthy as possible, so can you claim to be the first or the best at something, in your local area or beyond? Something new, novel or different is the most likely to grab journalists’ attention, just as they know it will grab their readers.
Approaching the journalists – tactics
So now you’ve settled on WHO to approach, it’s a question of HOW to approach them.
First of all make sure that you’ve written an engaging press release based on the unique angle or selling point you’ve already identified; it’s more tempting for the journalist to simply rewrite this than it is to produce their own piece from scratch. If you have a lot of information you want to impart, produce a press pack too. Anything that will make a busy journalist’s job easier makes them more likely to write about you.
Everybody has their vanity, and journalists are certainly no exception. Appeal to it by familiarising yourself with recent articles they’ve written, or by checking their professional profiles and biographies. This may take a little time but it can really pay dividends if it helps you to get a well-respected journalist interested enough to write about what you’re doing.
Getting the timing right for your announcement
Timing is everything. Make sure that you are totally prepared and that both your website and your back office are fully geared up for the increased attention you hope to achieve, to ensure that you will appear credible, trustworthy and professional. Delaying your launch may seem like a waste of time and opportunities, but it can help you generate an air of exclusivity and excitement if you’re in a position to offer journalists a sneak preview ahead of putting your product or service on general release. Be sure also to check out what else is going on around the time of your announcement; if you want the headlines to yourself, don’t choose to start your campaign on Election Day. It’s an extreme example but it serves to illustrate the point; have the good sense not to go up against any event within your industry or beyond that is going to divert both public and press attention.
A winning combination
In order to succeed in online marketing, it’s vital to create and promote a strong brand, and we’ve seen why PR is one of the most effective vehicles to help you do just that. Now put PR and SEO together and watch your online presence soar.