Intersection of SEO and PR Agencies

March 12, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Mark Jackson is moderating speakers Lee Odden and Sean Jackson. We’re going to talk about SEO and PR.  I found heaven during the break. Now I’m in a coma. A deliciously, chocolate coma.

Ready for another session? Let’s go.

Sean is up first.

SEO is not only important, but it’s growing at 17 percent a year. It’s maturing as a technology and a tactic. SEO has matured to such a point that it means something else.

Words matter.  If you write well, you will rank well. [I call that “job security”.]

Press has its own audience and their own people who read them and follow them. And journalists look to them constantly. But what Google has done is allowed us to talk to the public directly. [How the heck has Google done that? We’ve done that. Blogging has done that. Not Google.] That’s the benefit of SEO and PR.  The public is always looking out. With these ideas and concepts that SEO has matured, to write well, to rank well, he wants to introduce a new way to explain SEO. [Oh, this should be good…]

SEO is about dealing with how public relations intersects with online communications. The search engines have become that middle man. We use public relations techniques with online techniques and are filtered by search engines. He wants that to be the new definition of SEO. I am…at a loss for words. I think it’s cause I’m delirious.

If you are doing SEO-style tactics (aka writing well), then you need to write towards subject matter.   You have to work with category awareness and then work yourself through.  Before someone can buy your product, they need to know the category. You have to focus on the stage of the buying process. Every stage matters. If you’re writing well about each stage, you can lead them through the purchase process.  Search plays a role in every stage of the buying process.

When you think of SEO/PR you have two elements: content and distribution. That gives you search influence.

Content Rules

  • Focus on Buying Stage: What stage is someone in? You need to find it.
  • Target keywords: Your keywords are the questions people are asking Google. [resists making an easy joke. Also, since when are keywords questions?]
  • Treat as an Advertisement: The content you write will have a headline. You need compelling headlines.
  • Clear calls to actions defined: Your call to action isn’t always about sales. It may be to move them to the next stage.

Write well

  • Headline: 65 Characters. Make sure you use keywords.
  • Sub-heading: Make it 140 characters (like a tweet!) Use your keywords again.
  • First Paragraph: The most important paragraph in the entire system.  Your first paragraph should fulfill the promise of your headline, that you use your keywords and that include a hyperlink. [This all seems so random.]
  • General Content: 300-500 words. 6 hyperlinks. Put keywords at top with a 5 percent keyword density. [Oh good, more hard rules.] Use synonyms.
  • Supporting Options: Use tags, digital assets that are related to your keywords.

To write well means that you are writing for a public audience looking for you through a search engine. You must write often. If you don’t write often, it matters not. [No. Seriously. He just said that. And I laughed. Out loud. Then he started rhyming and I giggled louder]

Lee Odden is next.

Fish where the fish are. Consumers are searching news. So are journalists.  A lot of folks mention Google News. They want to optimize their press releases for Google News.  It’s important but Google News isn’t the big dog in online news search that everyone thinks it is. That said,64 percent of journalists report that they use either Google or Yahoo! online news services to follow their news. Make it easier for journalists to find your content.

How do journalists use search?

  • 95 percent use it to research past stories
  • 82 percent use it for story ideas
  • 91 percent use it to research new sources
  • 91 percent use it to research specific people or companies.

What kinds of searches do they do?

  • 91 percent standard Web search
  • 27 percent use News search
  • 14 percent use Blog search
  • 18 percent use Image search
  • 9 percent use Video

What social media tools do journalists use?

  • blogs – 55 percent
  • twitter – 36 percent
  • social networks – 64 percent
  • social news – 14 percent

Most SEO efforts optimize for lead/sales generation. News optimization focuses on a difference audience and outcome. Lee Odden calls Chris Winfield (who’s sitting next to me) “a living case study” in creating relationships with journalists. Hell yeah, he is.

Lee talks about Pull and Push PR. Pull PR has to do with optimizing content. It’s about optimized press releases, social media and media coverage. Push PR is more wire service, networking, pitching, RSS, etc.

Optimization of news content makes sure that you’re paying attention to what people are looking for in hopes of getting media coverage. It’s very different than optimizing to sell a product. If it can be search on, it can be optimized.

How can Marketers Take Advantage:

Press release optimization:

  1. Research keywords
  2. Optimize Content
  3. Call to Action
  4. Landing Pages
  5. Post to Newsroom
  6. Pitch to Media
  7. RSS
  8. Wire Service Distribution
  9. Measure Success

Optimization Tips

  • Think upward and to the left
  • Optimize for people first, search engines next
  • Use keywords in Title, Subheading and body
  • Don’t obsess over keyword density
  • A 500 word release – use target keyword 2-4 times
  • Use keywords in links to company Web site
  • Add media: images, video, pdf/word docs

Title tag: 8-12 words, important keywords on the left. Focus on 1-2 keywords.

Where to use keywords: Title tags, page titles, categories, body copy, anchor text, tags, images, etc.

Press Release Metrics: How many impressions did it get?Was it included in Google or Yahoo News? Look at inbound links. Have any of the blogs picked it up? Social bookmarks? Keyword rankings? Corporate site traffic? Conversions.

Newsroom Optimization – What does a news room need to feel confident about doing a story on you.

Digital Asset Optimization: Optimizing different assets like video, blogs, video, audio, case studies, microcontent, etc.

Cross link between keywords of interest from your press release to a certain product page. Organize the press releases on your site by both date and by category.

PR tactics that affect SEO: press releases, letters to the editor, online newsrooms, media kits, blogs, white papers, webinars, newsletters, real world interviews, podcasts, etc

Lee is throwing out a lot of seriously awesome information. Unfortunately a lot of it is graphic-based which isn’t really liveblogging friendly. I’m also starting to get that glazed over, I’ve been liveblogging for 48 hours look. It’s really attractive I’m sure. My belly hurts.

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