How Traditional PR Can Boost Your SEO

It’s easy to overlook traditional public relations when considering how to improve your website’s search engine rankings. But in cracking down on superficial search signals, Google elevated the importance of earning inbound links from trustworthy movers and shakers, and that’s where PR can be invaluable.

Dust off those people skills: Good PR can give you a huge advantage for improving your website’s SEO.

It’s easy to overlook traditional public relations when considering how to improve your website’s search engine rankings. For years, marketers could use low-brow tactics such as link spamming and keyword stuffing for easy (and sizeable) bumps. Recently, though, Google refined its algorithm to reward websites that offer intuitive and valuable user experiences. It’s impossible to game the system like 10 years ago.

But in cracking down on superficial signals, Google elevated the importance of earning inbound links from trustworthy movers and shakers.

Inbound links from authoritative, credible, high-volume websites can take your SEO to new heights. These links bring attention to amazing content and attract shoppers to online store fronts. Google considers these high-quality links as endorsements of your website’s content and credibility. And there’s no better way to win these links than with old-fashioned public relation skills. Read on to learn how your PR strategy can improve your website’s SEO.

Not Being Spammy Isn’t Good Enough

In the Wild West era of SEO, marketers used all kinds of dirty tricks to gain inbound links. They’d buy links from high-traffic websites, spam forums and blogs with automated comments, and create fake online profiles. They’d also turn to link farms — companies that build scores of thin, low-quality websites for the sole purpose of linking to other sites.

Fortunately, those days are long gone. Try any of those tactics, and Google’s advanced algorithm will blow your website’s SERP rankings to smithereens.

That said, building links that don’t cause alarm bells at Google isn’t enough to boost your website’s SEO. Google’s algorithm is tuned to reward inbound links from trustworthy, authoritative websites. These links must also be from websites that are relevant to your industry, and those websites must have credible, relevant link networks of their own.

Your SEO won’t get much help — if any at all — from inbound links posted to your friends’ personal blogs and websites. Even an inbound link from someone who blogs about your industry probably won’t move the needle. It’s not enough for inbound links to be compliant. They must also be impressive! Think about websites that people look to for information. We’re talking regional and national newspapers, popular consumer websites and highly reputable trade magazines. Earn inbound links from those sources, and Google’s algorithm will notice.

Of course, the next logical question is “how do I get inbound links from such high-profile sources?” How can you get one of your better remodeling projects featured in Better Homes & Gardens, or how can you entice the New York Times to feature your restaurant in its Food section?

It Starts with Great Content

Having great people skills ultimately doesn’t matter if your website isn’t worth talking about. And whether your website is deserving of attention depends entirely on the quality of your content.

By now, you might be sick of hearing the old SEO adage that “content is king.” It’s true, though. Investing in unique, remarkable content is more important now than ever. Over the years, Google used artificial intelligence to analyze countless digital signals generated by how people react to certain types of content. Thanks to this effort, Google’s algorithm is incredibly proficient at determining whether content is valuable and engaging. In today’s SEO landscape, none of your SEO efforts will gain traction if your content can’t grab attention.

High-quality content is also part of your sales pitch when asking for inbound links from your industry’s movers and shakers. They should see your amazing content and want to link back to your site! Your outreach won’t be taken seriously if your content is dull, useless or irrelevant.

Next, Make a List

Before reaching out to anyone, make a list of all the websites, blogs, newspapers, magazines and other editorial sources where you’d like to earn inbound links.

SEO Tracking 101: What to Track and How to Track It

SEO tracking is a critical component of search engine optimization which will allow you to see which Web pages are doing well and which need an SEO overhaul.

TM0810_searchglobe copyAs you probably already know, tracking is a critical component of search engine optimization (SEO). After all, you cannot possibly know what is working well and what still needs to be tweaked unless you track your results. Watching your trends over time will let you know how your website is performing overall, as well as which Web pages are doing well and which need an SEO overhaul.

Yet, with so much available data out there, it can be tough to know where to focus your tracking. Here are the essential elements that every business owner should track, and how to go about tracking them.

Keyword Rankings
The most obvious way to check your keyword rankings is to simply type your keyword phrases into Google and see what pops up. Unfortunately, your results will be heavily skewed. This is because Google personalizes search results based on previous browsing history. Since you are likely a frequent visitor of your own site, Google will artificially inflate your site’s rankings when you search for your keyword phrases from your own computer.

To get around this, you can use Google Analytics to learn your true, unbiased keyword rankings. Make sure you have an account at www.google.com/analytics and that the relevant code has been added to every page of your website. Also ensure that you have a Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) account at www.google.com/webmastertools and that the two accounts are linked.

Under Google Analytics’ Acquisition tab, click on Search Engine Optimization and then Queries. This will show you the keywords for which you are currently ranked, along with additional information for each keyword like the number of searches, your average Google ranking for that keyword, and your average click through rate. These numbers are unbiased, so they will not change based on your browsing history.

Search Engine Traffic
Your search engine traffic is all of the organic (non-paid) traffic that visits your website from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Under the Acquisition tab in Google Analytics, click on All Traffic, then Channels, then Organic Search to view your search engine traffic trends.

The precise numbers here are not what’s most important. Instead, look for general trends over the past 6 to 12 months. Do you see a general climb? If so, then you are doing well. If you see a general decline, then your SEO needs attention. Also note any major spikes, whether upward or downward, and see if you can determine the reason for them.