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PR (both digital and traditional) is an important part of any SEO strategy, and vice versa. By informing and working alongside your SEO team for an upcoming activity, you can ensure maximum online impact for your PR campaigns. SEO will also benefit by improving keyword rankings and content performance on your website. Continue reading to understand exactly how important the PR and SEO relationship is.

The Importance of Digital PR to Search Engines

Earlier this year John Mueller from Google Tweeted on the importance of digital PR and search visibility, saying it was as critical to get right as Technical SEO issues.

Often PR teams work with little or no SEO input. With Digital PR this makes no sense, and even traditional PR teams should consider the online impact their messaging could have. Does that Sunday magazine post have a killer Tag Line, what happens if I search that tagline? You wouldn’t believe the number of times PR teams fail to check this. That potential search traffic goes into the internet void and gets lost forever.

Make sure you search that clever tagline to see what comes up in Google, then have a page on your website optimised for that term so you rank for it.

Digital PR is more of an obvious fit. In-article links or brand mentions can not only increase brand awareness, but drive direct traffic and increase organic searches. They can also add to the Trust and Authority of a website if the site carrying the release in an online publication with good readership levels and a high domain rating.

Search engines still rely on links to associate and rate websites to each other and how they should rank for specific search queries. Often SEO link building campaigns are far from great quality. Digital PR campaigns that place high quality, original content in topically related, high authority sites are gold dust to organic performance.

PR & SEO Combined for Extra Impact

As you can see, combining SEO and PR can give a bigger combined visibility impact. The same is true of social media whose aspects should also be considered, from reviews, Tweets, shares, and posts on your business’s social channels in addition to the article comments section. This all helps to widen the reach of the initial release. Paid Social could also play a part here in boosting various posts to a wider audience.

Linking to the press release from your own website makes sense in a few ways:

  • Firstly, it will associate that page value to your linked page
  • It will expose your brand to that page readership
  • It will increase brand/product awareness
  • Google will see the association between your brand and the copy content

SEO links and PR links do have a different initial focus, SEO links are focused on the ranking opportunity presented according to the:

  • Location of the Link
  • The content context surrounding the link
  • Anchor text
  • Domain & Page Trust and Authority

For PR links the focus is usually:

  • Exposure in terms of views/clicks the link has the potential for acquiring
  • How the link will look on the page and that page content to align with the brand/campaign
  • Brand association

So, while the focus of digital PR and an SEO link may differ, in many ways they match up and can be complementary to each other.

As many PR campaign managers find out, the copy they send over is not always presented in the way they write it. Often online publications will not include links, and certainly not a follow link that passes page value and association. In which case it is good to know that your company/brand/product/service getting mentioned in a quality (topically related) article still allows Google to associate your company with the page copy and website it is on.

Digital PR SEO Tactics

So how can an SEO team add value and help the PR offering? While digital knowledge in the PR world is now part of the mix, there is still limited understanding on how search engines work and how they work out the value of a mention or link. So, the first thing an SEO person can do is educate the PR team on how earned media can impact search visibility.

Your PR team should:

1. Always ask for a link.

2. If no link is available, then the company name and homepage URL in the text (a good idea anyway).

3. Link structure – Use relevant (ideally brand or product name) anchor text in the link and link to the most relevant page on your site, not just the homepage.

4. Look for high domain authority coverage.

a. PR judge on readership, target audience and perceived quality within the industry – SEO will look at domain/page authority, topical relevance, and yes quality of publication and content, so similar enough.

5. The article/post should be topically related to your brand and quality original copy.

6. At best the link should be within the post as a text link surrounded by copy relevant to the linked page.

7. Always search in Google for your Article title, are you just up against the top competition, if so changing the title can make all the difference while still being on audience target.

8. Communicate with the Web and SEO team to align with what marketing they are up to, so they can prepare the target page so its optimisation matches the copy on the referring page.

Speaking of referring page – Your marketing team can use Analytics to benchmark the target landing page metrics and track referrals from link traffic from the post. Analytics will also show any increased awareness that it might have generated in terms of organic and direct traffic.

9. If allowed you could add campaign tracking to the link for better analytics.

10. Get the SEO/Social team to share and amplify that external content across their owned social media. A PR campaign that ends up having the extra metrics of referral traffic, organic, direct, and social traffic as well as increased noise and awareness can measure any success.

If the ongoing PR campaign is getting links and mentions on trustworthy and high Authority sites this will have beneficial effects, including:

  • That Trust and Authority will get passed onto (by a reduced margin) your website. Google prefers higher Authority, higher trust websites in their results, so any association to those sites reflects well on your own site.
  • Your website and the section the keyword within the post or article is placed on becoming related with one another – For example, if a Women’s fashion Ecommerce site, has a PR release placed in the Sunday Times Style magazine online – the website will become associated to the fashion sector and gain authority from the ST Style standing in that space. The keywords that Google are associating to that page and surrounding section will also be passed in some small way to your linked to (mentioned) page. So, if the page is about Kaftan Wrap Dresses, your Kaftan Wrap page being linked to will get a stronger Google association to those keywords and hopefully rank better for those associated terms.

Good PR takes time, money and effort to achieve valuable earned media on strong sites. So it makes sense to add in SEO knowledge to maximise the online impact of that PR, while amplifying and measuring that impact.

Our SEO team at Bell can offer training, reviewing of PR campaign content and measurement to show impact.

Get in touch if you are interested or have any questions. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Last year was full of changes and uncertainty, but presented new consumer trends and a greater emphasis on digital and SEO than ever. But what’s key to include in your 2021 SEO strategy?

Let’s take a look at 5 important areas that will help you be a cut above the rest.

1. Search Intent

Search intent in SEO continues to grow in importance. While it’s hardly a new concept, every year it’s a good idea to re-examine user behaviour to keep on top of changes. Especially after the year that was 2020 when online behaviours changed so rapidly.

Understanding the why behind a search query and matching it to one of the four types of Search Intent (informational, commercial, navigational and transactional) will help you write content that answers consumers questions.

There is a large section on the topic in Google's most recent edition of Quality Rater Guidelines.

Google is getting better at understanding how people search so make sure you create content that reflects the different types of user intent.

2. Core Web Vitals

In May 2021 Core Web Vitals will become a Google ranking signal.

Core Web Vitals are designed to measure how users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a page and combine the following signals:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe-browsing
  • HTTPS-security
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines

It will be critical for marketers to make sure they stay on top of this to be competitive with the average website and ensure their traffic and conversions are not affected. So start looking at this now ahead of the update in May.

Overtime Core Web Vitals will change as user expectations of web pages change so staying up to date and checking these elements of SEO regularly should be an important part of your SEO strategy.

3. Mobile First

By March 2021, Google will have switched all websites from desktop-first to mobile-first indexing. This means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of a website's content for indexing and ranking, meaning it has never been more important for marketers to focus on a mobile-first strategy.

If you haven't already, now is the time to check your website pages and make sure they are easy to navigate, and all images and content are displayed well.

It’s ok to have a different desktop and mobile website experience, but considering Google will essentially ignore the desktop version, if you still have a separate mobile site, now might be the time to migrate to a mobile responsive site instead.

4. Structured data & SERPs

In 2021 Google is set to offer even more answers directly on search result pages without people having to visit a site. This means structured data, or schema mark-up should be an important part of your SEO strategy in 2021.

Marketers should use structured data to help Google better understand who you are, what you offer and what audience you serve, increasing rich results from your website on SERPs. This can have a remarkable impact on CTA’s and attention from users.

Using Googles’ Structured Data Testing Tool, you familiarise yourself with the concept and start applying structured data for your website.

Although not always easy, if you can win FAQ or how-to schema on SERPS you can significantly increase the likelihood of people clicking on your result. You will want to make sure you're creating content with the user in mind and answer common questions on your pages.

5. Long-Form Content & Topic clusters

While the word count of content is not a ranking factor, long-form content generally suggests more information, more expertise and more questions answered.

Marketers should research topic clusters around one central content theme. Cover all aspects of a topic, in as much detail as possible with strategic interlinking. This will send signals to Google that the content of your site has a high level of breadth and depth.

Break up your long-form content with lots of keyword-rich H2 and H3 tags.

You should also take a look at updating old content with relevant new information. Answer questions you haven't previously touched on, and provide extra breadth and depth.

Conclusion

Adapting to SEO trends and keeping up to date with Google’s criteria is fundamental to SEO success. 2021 should see marketers put consumers' interests first, with a focus on excellent user experience and in-depth, interesting written content.

For more information about SEO strategy, get in touch.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

For the most effective online branding in a growingly complex environment, brands must resist the temptation to put the cart before the horse.

BRANDING BEFORE BRAND ACTIVATION

There are no shortage of articles and blog posts with tips to how to get the most out of online branding. Invariably, they focus on activation – how to make your brand work online through specific activities. It feels as if the ‘branding’ part of the term has taken a back seat.

The first question to address should not be ‘how do we make our brand work online?’ – it should always be ‘how do we make our brand work?’ To cut to the chase, it doesn’t matter how good your brand activation strategy is if your brand itself is weak, or convoluted, or poorly thought out. Online brand activation needs a solid brand platform from which to work, in the same way as ‘offline’ brands. If you don’t have a solid brand foundation already, the temptation to skate over the brand itself and just get on with it should be resisted.

Although there are differences between online and offline branding, the fundamentals are the same. Online branding is just branding online, and as such, should adhere to the rules of branding, which means taking the time to understand and develop your brand. A brand that encompasses not just what you do, but also what you say and how you behave. A good brand should be unique and timeless, a promise of value that connects with customers, users or a community through both functionality (what the brand does) and intangibles (how the brand makes people feel).

It can be argued that the intangible, ‘emotional’ foundations of your brand are even more important in the digital sphere, as in many cases the customer journey no longer includes actual, physical interactions with the brand – and people representing the brand – before purchase or engagement of service.

This is not to say that brands should not be developed specifically for use in an online environment. Far from it – an appreciation and understanding of the channel is imperative. Rather, if your brand will be specifically or primarily ‘online facing’, just apply brand fundamentals with that in mind.

Fundamentals such as: know your audience journey and touch points. Understand your sector and competitors. Develop values. Have a personality. Make promises. Have an ethos, or essence, or core proposition, or purpose, or any of the other monikers branding agencies like to use. Provide meaning and experience for your audience, and add value through intangibles.

Don’t leave these behind in the rush to activate your brand online. Without it, you will risk being seen as inauthentic by those you need to connect and converse with.  As with all branding, promise must equal experience. In short, you can’t build a house without foundations. The same is true for online brands.

CONCLUSION

To get the most out of online branding, ensure your brand foundations are ‘spot on’ before you consider specific online activation strategies. In turn, this should make activation far simpler, logical, and economical.

If you want to find out more about getting the most out of online branding, get in touch through the contact form below.

 

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