We look at how Search Engine Optimisation and PR can complement each other to deliver the best results for your digital marketing campaign.
The digital landscape is constantly evolving and with it so too is the role of PR. Whereas once PR pros used to deal primarily with print media, today it is important to engage with online sources too. This means social media, blogs and, most importantly, search engines. Search engine optimisation is a vital art for any digital marketing campaign, and through savvy implementation, SEO can deepen the impact of any PR campaign. SEO and PR should therefore not be treated as separate entities. Rather, the two should work hand-in-hand to deliver the best possible results.
WHY ARE BACKLINKS IMPORTANT?
Key to any SEO campaign are backlinks. Search engines rate the importance of your site based on authority and relevance. Obviously these are difficult things to determine, so one of the key areas search engines look at is the number of links to your site from other websites. These are known as backlinks, and they are treated as votes for your website. The more 'votes' your site has, the more authoritative it is considered. The more authority you have, the higher you will appear in the search results.
So one of the key elements of SEO is linkbuilding. Getting other high authority websites to link to your website will have a huge impact on your search engine ranking position. This is where PR comes in - by offering the ability to promote a brand on high authority websites, such as news sites and blogs.
HOW CAN PR ASSIST SEO? LINKING
It is vital to provide a link to your site either in the press release itself or as part of the supporting email. When the release is received by the sites you have distributed it to, the journalist will be aware of the link and it is more likely a backlink will be added to that site as part of the story the journalist writes up.
These backlinks should always have relevant anchor text. This is the clickable text that contains the backlink. If you are linking on the words ‘click here’ for example, you are not going to receive the full benefit. It is more effective to write: “For more information, please visit the Fast Web Media website.” It is also acceptable to use the brand name or URL as the anchor text.
Keywords should be used throughout the release. It is best to aim for around two to three keywords per 200 words. Inclusion of keywords will help the piece attract major search engines and increase exposure; keeping a cap on them ensures that the release isn’t overburdened with keywords and dismissed as spam by Google. Keywords should also be used in image files.
All images should be saved with a relevant title in the program it is written in, and always correctly written. For example: ‘fastwebmedia_PR’. Images should also be saved as jpegs and be of a reasonable size – for example 300 pixels on one side. Images are important for ranking highly in Google News, so the better optimised your images are, the better your chances of ranking highly are.
Press releases can be instrumental in helping content go viral. Significant visual content such as images and videos can be offered to contacts as embeddable codes, which contain links to your site. Whenever that code is added to a site, it acts as a backlink. An embed code, such as those that can be found on YouTube, also make the job of the journalist much easier, as they only have to copy and paste the code onto their site.
Linkbait is another effective method of raising awareness of your brand online. Linkbait is content that is compelling enough to encourage users to spread it virally through their Facebook page, Twitter feed or blog. Press releases can be sent out to promote the linkbait and aid the viral spreading of the content.
If you are contacting bloggers, it is also worthwhile encouraging them to share your content on social media by including a message they can copy and paste into their Facebook fan page or Twitter feed. For example: “It would be great if you could also Tweet about this: Predict the score of the Carling Cup Final and win signed merchandise - http://www.facebook.com/Carling?sk=app_194094117276543 #carling”
Backlinks are more important now than ever. They help a site gain credibility and authority in search engines and will ultimately help your site appear higher in the search results. A digital press release is an easy way of achieving this, and a release without backlinks is a missed opportunity.