The Basics of SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. According to Moz, SEO “is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” Long considered an elusive marketing communications concept, SEO is in fact grounded in algorithms and actionable tactics. But, you might be thinking, what the heck does PR have to do with SEO? We’re glad you asked! There are two main tenets of every thorough SEO strategy — on-page optimization and off-page optimization.
Broadly speaking, on-page optimization focuses on SEO-relevant aspects of your website that are directly within your control. For example, incorporating the keywords you want to be found on search engines into various pages on your website; if you’re a mobile security solution and potential buyers use the search term “mobile security solution” to research products similar to yours , you’ll want to incorporate that phrase in headings and in body copy throughout your website. Other examples of on-page optimization include content formatting, clean code, alt tags and internal linking.
Off-page optimization is all about driving traffic back to your website from external sources such as links from relevant higher ranked websites and inclusion in local directories to prove its authority to search engines. This is where PR is important.
In addition to professionally announcing company news, such as a product update, partner program or industry recognition, press releases are important for link building. Ideally, the copy of the press release will include 1-2 links back to your website. Putting a press release out over the wire (ex: BusinessWire) can result in hundreds of syndications to authority sites (think Yahoo! Finance, AP, Morningstar, Newsday, etc.). If you are working with a PR agency, the digital reach of your press release will be even greater as they will pitch a targeted list of relevant publications, and possibly secure interviews for novel articles. This distribution is relevant to your website’s SEO because it shows search engines that the content of the release is regarded as relevant by sites that are higher ranking. This strategy is an example of positive “link juice.” Essentially, PR gains your company’s website professional references that vouch for its quality.
Regularly having your company name mentioned in articles on authority publications’ websites as part of your thought leaders’ identification (ex: Joe Smith, CTO of X Company, said, “Phishing attacks are increasing because…”) is also beneficial to improving SEO. This is particularly true if the company name is hyperlinked to the website. This concept involves leveraging anchor text which is the strategic hyperlinking of branded, or directly relevant, keywords — as exhibited by the hyperlinked words ‘anchor text’ in the previous sentence linking out to an article explaining what anchor text is. Again, PR offers dual benefits. One, it presents your leaders and company as authoritatively knowledgeable to the industry and prospects. Two, it shows search engines the same thing.
Social media arguably falls in between the roles of marketing and PR teams, either way it is a critical component of communications strategies. Due to their popularity, social media platforms hold a lot of SEO power. One of the first few organic links in the search results for your company will be your social media profiles. When “LaunchTech Communications” is typed into Google, after our website is our LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Twitter pages.
Standing up social media profiles for your company is particularly helpful in instances where competitors have a similar name. The social media links in the search results will take up precious scrolling real estate. Not to mention, sharing links back to your website through social media posts is perhaps the easiest SEO tactic there is.
Ultimately, executing a robust SEO strategy can easily take 40 hours per week. Since most SMBs don’t have the budget for a dedicated SEO Manager, it makes sense to invest in multi-functional services like PR. When you work with a PR agency, you’ll get the primary benefits of building company credibility and improving your website’s SEO.
Helpful SEO Resources
- SEO Vocabulary Glossary by Search Engine Journal
- Free Keyword Explorer by Moz
- Google Trends Tool by Google
- Backlink Checker by Ahrefs