What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation/optimization (SEO) is the intent of optimising your website and online presence to better your positioning in search engine results.
What is PR?
Public relationships (PR) is the management of your reputation, whether it be a business or individual.
When you combine these two, you get SEO public relations, also known as internet public relations. The goal of this activity is to use search engine results to build awareness of your brand, trust in your business and reduce the visibility of negative press online.
As time goes on, SEO public relations is becoming more and more important. For example, Hosting Tribunal reports 72% of consumers won’t decide on a business until they read reviews. However, online reviews are just the tip of the iceberg for running an internet PR campaign.
Here is what you need to know about the hottest public relations trend of 2020.
In this article, we reveal:
- How SEO and PR work together.
- The best ways to run an SEO PR campaign.
- Some essentials when working on SEO.
Feature image credit: Oleg Laptev on Unsplash
Top 4 Benefits of SEO Public Relations
1. SEO PR can improve consumer perception of your business.
When someone Google’s your business name, what comes up? For most businesses, it will be their website, review websites and any big press surrounding their name. What each of these results links to can either give browsers a good or a bad impression of your business.
To ensure you’re giving the right impression:
- Be active with asking your happy customers to leave you positive reviews across a number of platforms.
- Enlist the help of a content marketing specialist to ensure your website copy is thorough and optimised for users.
- Release blog press releases when you have good news about your business to share.
- Make connections with industry publications who can share any relevant news from your business.
2. SEO Public Relations can drown out bad press.
The larger your business grows, the more likely it is you’ll fall victim to some not-so-nice press. It could be a bad product review on a blog, a slip up by one of your team that goes viral or even something personal about you as the owner. By having effective SEO, you can help push these results away from the first page of Google, Bing and other search engine results.
While there is no guarantee what SEO results you’ll receive, you can make every attempt to push these results down. The way to do this is to target these keywords in relevant blogs, pages of your website and these featured on other websites.
See more: Secrets of Writing for SEO
3. You catch consumers in the research stage of the marketing funnel.
The first stage of the marketing funnel is research. This is the stage where users are researching general products and services, and possibly, your business. By having effective SEO public relations, you can make a good impression on these people early on in their sales process.
When you catch people early on in their process of buying, you can create a stronger connection, increasing your chances of a sale.
4. It will be harder for your competitors to claim space in your branded search results.
What you don’t want to see in search results for your business is a competitor’s name. However, this can very well likely be the case when you’re in a competitive industry or have a competitor who is on the ball with their own SEO PR.
To prevent the likelihood of this happening, ensure you’re ticking the box for every single SEO best practice, including:
- Having a secure, mobile friendly website.
- Ensuring you have enough thorough and unique content.
- Updating your content regularly.
- Optimising all your images with file type, size and alt tags.
- Your page speed is roughly 3 seconds or less.
- Utilising good development practices.
Top 6 Ways to do SEO Public Relations
1. Claim your business listings on online directory sites.
Where there is a reputable online directory, you want your business to be. Online directory sites invest a lot of time and energy into their SEO to ensure businesses on them receive as much exposure as possible.
By giving your business an additional place to be found online, you’re increasing the number of spaces you feature in on search results. In turn, this removes one slot your competitors or negative press would have been able to fill. They also help with your own website’s SEO.
How do directory sites help with SEO, you ask? When a high-quality website with a high domain authority links to your website (called a backlink), it tells search engines you’re a reliable, trusted source of information. This is a crucial element of any SEO strategy.
2. Build a search-engine ready website and work on your SEO.
For SEO to work on your website, all your other ducks need to be in a row. This means ensuring your website is following all best practices for search engines at the time of publishing.
We listed a few essentials for an search-engine friendly website above, but some other essentials also include:
Still a bit lost? Talk to a website design and development company who also specialises in SEO and they can help you out.
3. Encourage reviews on a variety of platforms.
One of the best things for your brand is having the promises you make be reinforced by past customers or clients in reviews. You want to ensure whatever platform someone is on (whether it’s Google, localsearch.com.au or another medium), there are positive reviews for people to see.
However, negative reviews can also be an important public relations tool. A negative review or two allows people to see how you, as the business, would respond if things were to go pear shaped. So, it’s crucial you’re replying to all reviews as professionally as possible.
Tips for replying to a negative review:
- Give yourself a moment (even a day) to detach yourself and not take it personally. Consider it constructive criticism.
- In your response, let the reviewer know this is not the standard of work you aim to provide and want to resolve the matter.
- Do not point fingers, even if the reviewer is partly to blame for their poor experience.
- If you know who the reviewer is, contact them personally to try and resolve the matter.
- Of course, if you have hard evidence to prove the review is false, you can contact the platform to request to have the review removed.
4. Start a branding and industry blog.
Blogs are the modern day press release. They’re also a great way to get into search results for additional terms the main pages of your website cannot. For example, on our own website, we may rank quite well for SEO services Australia, but not so much for SEO public relations.
When a business wants to spread the word about a new product, service or news, PR professionals will write press releases. An SEO specialist will write a blog. Both are good and will serve their purpose. The press release will hit people via traditional forms of media, while the blog can be seen on result pages, social media channels and anywhere else you encourage it to be.
5. Expand your link building strategy.
A link building strategy involves analysing the pages you’re linking to within your own website, externally and those who are linking back to you. The purpose of internal link building is to create hierarchy within your website, showing search engines which are the most important pages on your site.
While having other high-quality websites backlink to you helps influence your domain authority by showing search engines you’re a reliable source of information. This second SEO strategy also impacts your public relations.
Like Google is influenced by high-quality websites linking to you, consumers are also. It’s like if your best friend endorsed something, you’d be more likely to trust what they say, right? The same is for brand marketing.
6. Be active on social media.
There is something about the security of being behind a computer that makes people share too much—most commonly on their social media. This is why it’s essential your business has even a minimal presence on the major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.).
Being on these platforms will do two things:
- Give people a way to contact you, whether it’s directly through a message, a comment or by tagging you in one of their own posts.
- Allow you to search for mentions of your business and react professionally in attempt to resolve any issues.
You should also be in local community, industry and business groups and pages as they can be a great way to build your reputation. Think of this like social media public relations.
A Few Things You Need to Know About SEO
There are no guarantees with search engine optimisation.
No one in this entire world can promise you a specific result as an outcome of search engine optimisation. The whole point of Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and other search engines is to provide the most relevant results to their users. If everyone knew what they believed constituted relevant, everyone would manipulate the results, and it would be chaos.
Long story short, if you have an SEO agency promising you specific results, say thank you, but no thank you.
It takes a while to start seeing SEO working.
“How long does it take for SEO to work?” Again, this is something no one can give you a specific answer for.
On average, you should be seeing some sort of movement in your Google Analytics and other reporting software, but it could be more or it could be less. You’ll need patience; although the more time that passes and the stronger your website content and digital marketing, the easier it will become.
A lot of things can influence your search engine rankings.
Search engines are constantly changing what relevant content means to them. This means website owners have to always be on their toes and updating their sites to comply. Everything from the platform the website is hosted on, to the server speed, content, keywords targeted, image sizes and external influences can impact your SEO results.
If you believe you’re doing everything right but your brand awareness on search engines is still not where you want it to be, give a digital marketing service (like Localsearch) a call.