SEO for PR pros: start with these three basics
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something which most PR pros are familiar with by now. The big problem with SEO, as with most things technical, is that it is very easy to get stuck in the weeds with the overwhelming amount of topics and advice online. You may have heard about new SEO buzzwords in 2017 like AMP, https, and voice search. The reality is that if you don’t get the basics right, you should not worry about these trends.
For the PR professional who is jumping from deadline to deadline, the best path forward is to keep it simple and focus on a few big SEO related tasks at a time. In the case of SEO, as it is with most things, doing a few things well is better than doing many things half-heartedly.
But one thing we stress to clients is to not completely ignore SEO. You can have the best article in the world, but if it isn’t optimized for SEO, you will lose out on big traffic numbers.
So, what are the things that if done well can put you ahead of most of your competitors?
For many years now mobile has risen in importance relative to desktop, and in 2016 Google changed its algorithm to reflect the significance of mobile.
For PR professionals, this means ensuring your work website is mobile responsive. Journalists aren’t necessarily looking at your website behind a computer. They are often in the field or at press conferences and like regular people, looking for information on their mobile phones.
So how do you optimize for mobile?
If you haven’t already, ensure the next refresh of your website includes a responsive mobile website. Google has indicated it prefers responsive design over having a separate “m.” version of your website.
Think about how your content renders on mobile while creating it. Google Chrome allows you to simulate how your content will appear on various mobile devices.
Backlinks still rule
Backlinks are the incoming links to your web pages, and despite claims suggesting otherwise, they are still the most critical element to a well ranking page in search.
It makes sense that Google would see the pages people are linking to (and thus talking about) as high quality content, and thus promote it in its search results.
There are a few key things to remember about backlinks:
Quality is just as important as quantity. Google will attribute greater SEO value if your web page is linked from a high quality source (e.g. a respected news organization) than it will for a low quality source (e.g. a spammy site)
Diversify your sources: Google looks favorable if your links are coming from a diverse range of domains (websites), as opposed to fewer ones
But good things don’t come easy. Backlinks carry a lot of value because they are difficult to implement. How do you get another website to link to your webpages?
The backbone of cultivating outside links to your web page is to have awesome content. Think about your content calendar for 2017. Are you writing content that people in your industry or in the news would be willing to share?
Guest posts: writing a guest post for another blog or website is a great way to send traffic back to your domain. If you have experts in your organization, encouraging them to write elsewhere can boost the presence of your website or newsroom.
Reduce your bounce rates
If your bounce rates are high, it means that visitors to your website are not finding the content they are looking for.
Suppose someone searches for ‘Green Australian Snakes’ and they click into your webpage. But instead of information about Green Australian Snakes, your page is about socks you are selling called ‘Green Australian Snakes’. This results in people immediately ‘bouncing off’ your page in search of the content they are actually looking for.
Google’s algorithm perceives this to as your web page does not meet the expectations of the search result. Higher bounce rates usually equal a lower ranking in search result.
To improve the bounce rate, try these methods:
If the right traffic is coming to your website, but your bounce rate is high, think about what your audience is looking for and improve your content. Are they looking for easy to access ‘how to’ information? Are they looking for a list of useful resources? Adapting your content to the user’s expectations will be a big step in keeping them on your page.
Make your ‘Call to Action’ prominent. You’ve improved your content. Your audience even likes it as it matches their expectations from their search. But what now? Are you leading them to other pages they might useful through powerful call to actions? Or are they clicking off your page immediately leading to a ‘bounce’?
Include interesting and engaging text ‘above the fold’. If your best content requires scrolling, many of your visitors may never get to see it.
Reduce your loading speeds and creating a good user experience, especially on mobile.
Ready to get started?
It’s time to put these basics into practice. These three SEO areas, if implemented correctly and consistently, will lead to big traffic wins for your newsroom. But what else do you need? Check out three of the most useful tools for PR professionals to learn how to best optimize your content.
PressPage provides a SaaS PR platform with additional services for creation of advanced social newsrooms, virtual press centers and online media hubs. It enables brands to publish and distribute rich content, and provides direct insights into the results. PressPage empowers PR professionals by adding efficiency and effectiveness to their daily work routine.