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Top 5 PR Techniques to Improve SEO

Published: February 26, 2014

Author: Molly Shotwell

If you’re looking for fresh ideas to improve your SEO, you may want to look into some tried-and-tested PR strategies. We’re not talking about the usual press release, which has long been abused and rarely works in SEO, anyway. What we’re talking about are some strategies that can be effectively tailored to have a positive, long-term impact on your SEO, thus helping you grow your business.
Before we get to the meat of this discussion, though, you may want to get an idea on why it shouldn’t be a surprise that PR and SEO can converge at some point. Let’s take a look at their definitions (from a PR point of view):
PR – a tool for building relationships with media professionals, key industry influencers, and both external and internal stakeholders for the purpose of enhancing one’s visibility and credibility.
SEO – an iteration of the relationships built through PR, applied within the world of the Internet and measured through social signals, links, page ranks, and other indicators.
So, you see, it is only logical that effective PR strategies can become effective SEO strategies as well. Here, then, are five of the best PR techniques you can use for purposes of improving your SEO:

Focus on Content

Yes, I know you’ve been hearing so much about content since you first decided to market your business online. Well, there’s a simple reason for that. Whatever strategy you choose to adopt, content will always need to be on the forefront. Well-written content can deliver the right message to the right people. Keep your audience’s attention with a good mix of articles, photos, videos, slideshares, and infographics. Whenever you create content, think about how it can boost your PR.

Learn the Art

Yes, SEO is an art. Remember that your concern isn’t just Google’s crawlers and constantly evolving algorithms. There are also human gatekeepers (mostly editors and journalists) on Google’s Webspam team who are always on the lookout for ways to improve the manner in which they assess a link’s importance. When you send out an online pitch, therefore, you need to be artistic enough to ensure it gets past the gatekeepers. An artistic pitch is one that doesn’t unnecessarily mention the word “link.”
Let’s say you’re making a pitch to guest post on a blog that’s considered an authority in your industry. Never tell the blogger that you want to guest post so you can add a link from their site to yours. The blogger probably knows that’s what you want, but you don’t have to sound too eager for links. Just tell them you want to guest post and then give them at least three post ideas to choose from. You’ll sound more professional this way.

Adopt a “Success” Mindset

When you adopt a mindset of success, you won’t settle for simply trying to give your pitch a chance to succeed. Rather, you’ll always strive to figure out how you can get the best possible chance of succeeding in getting your pitch accepted. With a traditional SEO mindset, you’ll probably think of how you can get in touch with the owner of the blog you want to guest post in. With a PR mindset, however, you’ll likely start by checking if anyone in your existing network knows that blogger so you can leverage that shared connection. In the absence of a shared connection, you need to engage the blogger and build a relationship first before making any pitch.

Adopting a “success” mindset means not just searching for a possible way of achieving success, but striving to get the best chance to succeed. Flickr.com photo by Paxson Woelber  

Leverage Your Company’s Figure of Authority

Every company has someone whose accomplishments are definitely worth broadcasting to the world. Whether that’s you or someone else, you need to leverage that person’s credibility. If that person is a good writer, let him guest blog on the company’s behalf. If that person has natural charm, reach out to an industry-related radio or TV show and him appear as a guest consultant there. You may also look at podcasts and online radio shows for possible guesting slots. If that person is adept in public speaking, you could arrange for him to speak at industry-related conferences. Even if some of your authority figure’s activities aren’t done online, someone’s bound to write about it or post videos of it, thus earning plus points for you in terms of SEO.

Do Good

A lot of businesses gain press coverage by helping others. You could do something as simple as making a significant donation to a worthy and popular cause or you could organize a charity event for a specific cause. If there’s a particular charity or cause you’re passionate about, you could come up with creative ways to raise awareness and funds for that charity/cause.
A few months ago, Typhoon Haiyan devastated several towns in the Philippines. Among the businesses that made a mark in the aftermath of the typhoon was Coca-Cola, which announced that they wouldn’t be putting out advertisements for what remained of 2013 and would use their advertising budget to help typhoon victims instead. News of this decision went viral on social media. Needless to say, Coca-Cola earned huge points in the hearts of their target market.
SEO can do so much more for your business than improve your SERP rankings. It can create goodwill for your brand and boost your sales even beyond your own expectations. This is why it’s important for you to keep your SEO strategy fresh, and one way to do that is to adopt the tried-and-tested PR techniques discussed above.

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