It should come as no surprise that the internet is one of the most powerful tools that marketers have ever seen. It enables brands to connect to customers in the most intimate way ever, yet, the internet offers an interesting paradox because there are so many users on the web that it is easy to get lost among all the noise. That’s why a website’s ranking on search engines like Google is so important to getting your brand seen by the public.
The craft of getting a website to the top of the search engine results page is known as search engine optimization – also referred to as SEO. The business of SEO is complex and involves a lot of know-how and industry knowledge. But as a marketer you should be aware of an unapparent match made in heaven: SEO and PR.
They may seem like an unsuitable couple, but the truth is that SEO and PR have a lot in common. Both aim to bring awareness and visibility to your brand and to increase the credibility of your company. If you are able to use the two in conjunction, you may be able to generate a consistent source of quality leads for your company.
SEO: A Short Introduction
SEO is a tricky science. Results can be achieved by following a formula, but the formula is extremely sophisticated and only experts truly know how to break it down. Similarly, SEO takes a lot of coordinated efforts, creativity, and technical knowledge to get good placements on the major search engines.
While the entire SEO process is too complicated to explain in depth here, there are a few aspects that are important to understand. Google – and other search engines for that matter – uses complex algorithms to determine how websites are listed on its results page. The algorithm is “secret”, but it is known that certain factors – like content and links – are more important than others.
One part of the SEO process involves the on-site work like keyword research and making sure the site has the proper architecture. This technical work is ongoing and constantly changing, but your website can remain up to date by following developments like those published on Google’s Developers Blog.
The more elusive part of SEO is generating links and quality content for your website. Google uses links to determine how popular and trustworthy your website is. Each link is essentially an endorsement, confirming that your website is an authority on the topic it addresses. The more of these links you have, and the more authoritative the sources they are coming from, the higher Google will rank your website.
Where PR Comes into Play
So what’s the role of PR in this whole story? A properly executed public relations plan can be a great way to develop valuable links to your website from respected and reputable sources on the web. Via outreach, partnerships, and other opportunities, you should be able to build a large amount of awareness of your brand.
The end goal is to get as many high-quality mentions on the web as possible, with links leading back to your website. A good PR strategy should be able to get materials published on trusted media and/or government websites. This will have a double effect: the links will help your SEO efforts but the publications may also lead potential customers to your website.
Developing a fruitful PR strategy may sound easy, but it takes a lot of time and effort to successfully reach out to other organizations. In order to make sure you get as much traction as possible, you need to make sure your content is as good as it possibly can be.
Develop content that is appealing and relevant to the customer. It should be informative and interesting, while simultaneously offering some sort of value that customers can’t get anywhere else. Also, don’t forget that the internet is also a visual medium. You want your content to include materials that users can interact with like quality photographs and video.
Measuring Your Efforts
Once you have begun implementing a combined SEO-PR strategy, you should keep an eye on the metrics that will reveal whether your strategy is working or not. By constantly monitoring your efforts, you’ll know if you’re making a difference or if you need to adapt or change your strategy in some way.
One of the most important metrics to watch is the amount of organic traffic that is coming to your website. This will give you an idea of where users are coming from and how they are finding your website. If your strategy is working well, organic leads should increase over time.
You can also keep an eye on the links that are pointing to your website. Specific tools on the web can help you judge the quality of links; this will give you some insight into which areas require your focus and which can be left as is.
Overall, in the internet era, the importance of SEO and PR can’t be underestimated. Developing a combined SEO-PR strategy may seem like an uphill battle, but if you are able to do it successfully, there will be countless benefits. The stronger your plan of action is, the more visitors you’ll have on your site and the more sales you’ll generate.