If you are a business owner, you may be questioning if SEO public relations would be beneficial for your brand. The answer is a resounding yes. The following article will outline the why’s and how’s behind integrating PR into your company’s SEO strategy.
SEO Public Relations – Why they are important
In the past, the public relations aspect of search engine optimization was not prioritized, since spammy techniques such as buying links and keyword stuffing were not yet rebuked by Google. However, since rolling out their Panda and Penguin algorithm updates in 2011 and 2012 respectively, Google can now recognize and penalize sites that manipulate search results by placing unnatural links directing to high authority sites on their pages for the sole purpose of boosting their rankings.
Post-Panda and Penguin, Google no longer passes value to low-quality content sites, so businesses must now build their authority naturally. This is where integrating PR through outreach becomes critical.
Here are the best ways you can use to improve your SEO public relations.
Increase Thought Leadership
One of the most valuable components of PR within SEO is the ability to become a thought leader in your brand’s industry. Becoming a thought leader means that you are well-versed and knowledgeable in your business and are willing to write about and share your knowledge with others. Two great ways to do this is through guest post blogging and by responding to reporters’ queries for future publications.
1. Guest Posting
Guest posting is when one contributes an article to another website or blog. Somewhere within the article the author will include a link back to their business. The point is to provide new, unique and useful tips or information to websites that share a similar audience as your own so that they eventually become familiar with and trusting of your name and your brand.
When first emailing sites in hopes of becoming a contributor, pitch a few different topics that fit in with their current content, but make sure there is not already an article on the exact topic you are pitching. By not doing your due diligence and assessing the prospective site for topical relevance, you are more likely to be turned down or simply ignored.
Becoming a recognized and sought-after guest post blogger can be a challenge at first, but once you are able to get your first few articles published, you can send prospective guest posting sites the link to your live articles and it will become easier to get future topic pitches approved.
Here is a simple guest post pitch template you can follow:
2. Online Reporter Services
Take advantage of online services such as ProfNet and HARO that email their subscribers a list of current queries journalists are looking to have answered. Those subscribed can then respond to the query and if their response is chosen to be featured, they will eventually earn a backlink to their site within the article they were quoted in. This will increase the authority of your site as well as present additional writing opportunities if you can foster an ongoing contributor relationship with the reporter.
Sometimes reporters will not send out the article link to contributors when it is finally published. Because of this, subscribing to a backlink monitoring services is a proactive way to ensure you are accounting for all links earned back to your site.
Sponsor Online Reviews
A great way to get some positive PR for your brand is to offer free products in return for an online review.
The most potentially lucrative way to do this is by building a relationship with an online influencer in hopes of having them review your product on their page. An influencer is someone who has a high follower count on their social media account. Since big-time influencers with millions of fans (think Kim K, Tati Westbrook, James Charles) are likely to charge big bucks for a post about your product, consider reaching out to more local influencers who may have a smaller following, but still offer a great opportunity to advertise your brand to the specific audience that you are targeting.
Reaching out to those with 10k-50k followers is a good idea because they are popular enough to have significant influence, but small enough that they are likely to agree to a product exchange for a post rather than a check.
Of course, if your product has major flaws or doesn’t operate correctly, you do not want someone with such a large fan base highlighting any errors in your product. With that, if your product is still in development or about to go through a revamp, wait until your product is in its optimal state before offering to share it with an influencer to ensure they will be impressed.
Like reaching out to influencers, it is valuable to reach out to individuals in hopes of having a review written directly on your site or third-party seller sites, such as Amazon. This is great for products or services that appeal to people outside of Millennials or Gen Z, who are not as likely to recognize popular social media celebrities and instead rely on honest, unsponsored reviews from normal people.
By providing product in exchange for reviews helps to ensure that those searching to purchase will see positive reviews written by real people and feel even more obliged to buy.
In a time where everything gets put on the internet, it is increasingly important to monitor online mentions of your business, as well as mentions of those closely associated with the brand, such as the CEO or CFO. In instances where the business is mentioned due to a new press release, event or any other reason that does not have negative connotations associated with the story, kindly reach out to the host site and ask them to hyperlink your brand’s name to your home page if they have not already.
On the occasion that your brand receives negative press, consider creating a piece of content that outlines the recent issue and what your company has done, is doing or will do to resolve the issue and have it live on your site somewhere. You can then reach out to the webmaster of the site with the negative mentions and ask that they append your newly created article somewhere on their page through a link. This will help to mitigate any negative impact on the brand’s reputation and also helps to prove that the business cares about its customers and is working to resolve the issue.
Write Press Releases
Another valuable PR task that will boost your SEO is the creation and sharing of press releases. As with any content, do not stuff your press release with a bunch of hyperlinked keywords. Instead, only announce fresh, exciting and relevant updates that are truly newsworthy. While there are newswires that are used for constantly distributing press releases, try having it published on local industry sites to drive more relevant traffic to your site, instead.
Some of the simpler PR tactics for SEO are:
- Correcting broken backlinks
- Pitching your content as a resource to other sites
- Requesting a link be added to mentions of your brand.
An SEO site audit is a great way for business owners to gauge the amount of opportunity there is for PR outreach without having to dig into website analytics themselves.
1. Broken Link Building
If your brand has been around for a while, you will probably be able to find cases where a link that used to point to your site but is now broken or redirecting. Reach out to the site with a working URL and request they replace the current link with it. This will allow readers to learn more about your brand as well as pass authority from the linking site to yours. Win-win!
Consider using the following language to email prospects:
2. Pitching as a Resource
Pitching as a resource is another great tactic. It entails that you out to a webmaster about an existing piece of content and having them add a link to a resource from your site.
For example, if you are a florist with a blog post about “Fresh Flowers That Will Last Through the Heat” try finding sites that have articles about summertime festivities on a wedding planner or other event coordination blogs and offer your content as a new resource for their readers. That email could look something like this:
Unlinked Brand Mentions
Finally, as mentioned in the reputation management header, finding unlinked brand mentions online and asking the site owner to turn it into a hyperlink will allow readers to explore your brand further if they wish:
To truly optimize your business online, go beyond creating thin content stuffed with keywords that won’t provide readers with any actual value. Instead, make sure your brand’s image is being enhanced on all platforms by integrating public relations and implementing social outreach into your SEO strategy. From press releases to guest posts, the opportunities to grow your brand using off-page SEO are extensive.
This guest blog was written by Emily Banks. She is a Bay Area Native who got tired of SF’s cold beaches and decided to move to San Diego. She is currently a contributing editor for 365BusinessTips.com, as well as a marketing expert for an online faucet supplier. When she is not typing away on her office keyboard, she can be found eating street tacos in the sunshine.