If you’re one of those people trying to game the system through spam bots and black-hat agents to increase your visibility in search, I implore you to stop reading now. Turn back. Revisit your digital strategy. Revisit your company’s overall goals.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Content is king. If your content sucks, stop wasting time and resources toward marketing efforts that will inevitably flop.
But if you’re one of those people focused on producing strong, quality content that provides value to your audience, keep on scrollin.’ Because you’re already one step ahead of the game in reaching your audience.
I’m talking about search engine optimization, or SEO, which is the art and science of ensuring that the words and phrases on your site, blog, and other online content are found by the search engines and that, once found, your site is given the highest ranking possible in natural research results.
Or in human terms: Crafting your content so you show up on the first page of Google’s (and other search engines’) search results.
“These days, every legitimate SEO expert tells you content is king. They all declare that digital marketing now rests on creating lots of original, authentic, compelling content for all the world’s online, social and mobile platforms.” – Donald Dunnington, Hyper-Local SEO & Marketing (pg. 33)
Aside from crafting amazing content, here are some quick tips to adhere to search engine algorithms and improve your ranking, according to David Meerman Scott in The New Rules of Marketing & PR:
- Use a clear URL.
- Identify appropriate keywords and phrases.
- Place words carefully within your content, tags, metadata, inbound links, and other details.
- Visit the FAQs and tutorials on pages of popular search engine advertising programs including Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Yahoo! Search Marketing sites.
In a previous blog, I talked about how important it is for PR practitioners to build relationships and be more audience-centric. The same is true for SEO.
“SEO is the new PR and PR the new SEO When you talk to today’s SEO managers, the conversation frequently turns to the sort of relationship building that was the foundation for the public relations…The only difference is today’s SEO-oriented media relations are largely focused on online media, and a major objective is to influence your ranking in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), not just count news clippings.” – Donald Dunnington, Hyper-Local SEO & Marketing (pg. 28)
Online media also means you can’t just throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks – we now have access to an abundance of data that gives us insight into what’s working, or what needs to be optimized moving forward (re: Google Analytics). For instance: What social networks drive the most site traffic? Which devices does your audience use most? What content produces the most short- and long-term conversions? What’s the actual value of your digital return on investment?
Lisa Buyer offers the following measurement and analytics tips in her book Social PR Secrets (Chapter 18):
- Start with the basics first: It all starts with the basic understanding of your owned properties, so begin with the web analytics of your owned media; your website and blog first, and then move to looking at other outside data analytics.
- Measuring in all the right places: At the end of the day, the most important analytics are what matters most to your business goals. This could be email sign-ups, subscriptions, product sales, media mentions, visits, or shares.
- Today’s social PR KPIs: Setting key performance indications (KPIs) prior to a Social PR campaign allows you to set benchmarks to measure against and helps get the “buy in” from all the decision makers. Make sure everyone (from the president to CMO to sales manager to marketing) is on the same page as to what the meaning of success looks like. Of course, the ultimate KPI is the actual sale or conversion (financial ROI) or the front-page story in The Wall Street Journal (many times ego-ROI), but there’s a journey involved in that ultimate KPI win, a process of touchpoints, relationship building, and nurturing.
- Create kickass content.
- Make the content available and easily accessible to audiences on a global scale.
- Measure and trust the data.
In Dunnington’s Forward, Miranda Miller summarizes it best:
Forget about what it is you want to do – what does your target market want and need? Who are they? Where do they live online? How do they seek out information, make decisions, and prefer to connect with brands? These insights are going to drive your search and social strategy, as going global essentially means going local in someone else’s locale.
Hopefully now you’re saying: SEOhhhhhhhhhhh! But if not, feel free to shoot me any questions you have in the comments below.