SEO PR: the future for online visibility
For many years the worlds of public relations (PR) and search engine optimisation (SEO) have existed separately, providing companies with their benefits in a very disparate manner. However, the time has arrived for the two strands to work together in order to offer the best possible online result, particularly in light of the changes brought in by Google Penguin.
This is where SEO PR comes in. It focuses on the ‘credible’, places for brands to be seen online, and the ‘genuine’, organic activity such positive online conversations about the company.
The advent of Penguin was part of a shift in the emphasis of the search engine. Now earned links, which are back links to your website from trusted sources like national newspapers, and online conversations about the company or brand, are valued most highly. Subsequently, pages benefitting from these associations now rank much higher in search results than previously.
Content is very definitely king and through the use of SEO PR techniques, we can identify whether particular content is working and engaging the end user, whether this be through driving sales for an e-tailer or generating leads for more B2B focussed businesses.
Integration across platforms is key. This is achieved by using what is learnt over time to create content that online users want to engage with. Generating this activity across social media and the wider web, on comment sections of online publications for example, drives brand presence. Without it, brands risk becoming obsolete online, whereas with it companies, can demonstrably maintain their search rankings while simultaneously improving their profile and positioning.
In addition to improving search results, SEO PR can also benefit a brands’ online reputation by engaging with users. The ease with which online content can be shared via social media now means that users have a real voice. In the past, if someone had read a print magazine article and not liked it, they would be very unlikely to write a letter of complaint, instead just moving on.
However now that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and online comment boxes are so readily accessible from all devices, user feedback is generated quickly and in considerable numbers.
Listening to this feedback and making sensible changes in line with it is crucial to maintaining the long term relationship between a brand and potential advocates. Far too often though, we are seeing companies displaying apathy towards this vital information source. In doing so the chance to connect with advocates that would do much to spread the word about the online presence of the brand is lost and this is an opportunity that can no longer be ignored.
SEO PR allows the identification of methods and content types that generate the greatest engagement and the most credible places online for a company to be featured, raising both profile and online presence. Is that something your business can afford to be without in 2013?
Alex Wares is managing director at leading search marketing agency Mediarun