When people first started to use SEO for business, it operated as a separate discipline from traditional public relations. However, as Google has modified its algorithm, SEO and PR have become joined at the hip. Businesses have come to see the benefit of using PR in SEO to boost results.
How so? Public relations puts a company in the spotlight, building brand awareness and credibility through press coverage and mentions. Those mentions, especially when they are online, also boost the quality of search engine optimization.
In turn, better SEO leads to more website traffic and brand recognition. It’s truly a win-win.
One of the strongest ways to build SEO is through link building. Before we get into how you can build more links to improve your SEO, let’s look at why these are important.
Why Link Building is Important to Your Business
Have you ever had a friend who introduced you to someone, told you about them, and basically vouched for their trustworthiness? If so, the previously unknown person most likely moved up a notch in your estimation. Now what if several of your close friends told you the same thing about the person? Bet you're even more likely to trust them.
The same principle applies to link building.
The more high authority websites that have "follow links" to your site, the more clout you gain with search engines like Google. What does this do for you? It lands you closer to the first page, where potential customers are looking for reliable brands with whom to do business.
True, there are tools out there that do all the work for you. But beware -- many of these tools use shady techniques to generate a massive amount of links back to your site. While this seems like the easiest (and cheapest) route, it often backfires. Search engines like Google are wise to these tactics, and often penalize people who use them.
While we don't recommend using just any SEO tool, there are agencies that offer reputable SEO PR services. Along with PR and SEO expertise, such agencies also offer reputation management services that can help to build the authority of your brand and site.
If you are looking to do this on your own, this post is meant to point you in the right direction.
First of all, Google wants authentic, high-quality links. What makes a link high quality? The source of the link should...
- Be relevant to your business
- Have a high domain authority (a search engine ranking score)
- Be reliable
- Be trustworthy
- Have a large audience
How can you get such high quality links? Let’s look at a few key B2B SEO tips and ways to amp up the SEO quality of your website with the PR tactics you already use.
How to Use Your PR in SEO for Business
1. Build Relationships with Influencers
With the right tools and enough time, you can easily find influencers who fit your industry. Tools like Traackr and Buzzsumo can help you to narrow down what influencers would work best for your brand and contact them.
It’s important to interact with and get to know influencers before you ask them for a favor. Like, comment on, and share their posts on social media. Send them interesting information, even if it’s not yours. This will help them to remember you and think positively about you. When the time comes to ask for a favor (like a backlink to your site or a guest post), they will be more likely to agree.
2. Write Timely Content
What’s happening on the world scene? Can you tie your content into that event? This makes your content more appealing to top sites. A word of advice: Jump on such stories quickly, before your competitors do, or the news becomes old. Stay current with local and national events and be prepared to offer your expert opinion when warranted.
For example, say you are in the B2B financial sector. If a current event (such as war or violence) has significant ramifications on the financial market, you can write an article that offers your expert opinion on how the event would impact businesses, or tips for how businesses can cope. This could be a blog post, a LinkedIn or Medium post and/or you could initially and quickly inform local business journalists of your opinion with a quick email.
Not sure where to start? Use an application like Google Alerts to get notified as soon as big stories break. Have it ping you when certain industry terms or even people are mentioned online. Then brainstorm how you can expand on it with your own expertise.
3. Use Forums to Get Content Ideas
In order to attract the interest of top sites, you need to create content on trending topics. To hone in on an up-and-coming topic, you may need to do a fair amount of research. Where should you look?
There is a veritable goldmine of useful content ideas in online forums. For one thing, you may be able to find a forum that focuses on your particular industry, or search specific industry terms to see what people are talking about -- and where.
One such online forum is Reddit, where content ideas are just ripe for the picking. See what questions people are asking about your industry, and create content that will fully answer those questions. Or you could start your own thread, and see where the responses take you.
Another great online forum is Quora, where people ask questions on industry issues. Look for questions that pertain to your industry. Comment or answer a question, showcasing your expertise and authority. Link to some longer-form content on your site if possible buttressing your answer. Use it to get ideas for what’s on people’s minds so you can create in-depth content on other platforms that addresses those queries. Google rewards sites that answer questions people are seeking.
Social listening is another outlet that provides inspiration. Tools like Buzzsumo and Hootsuite do the work for you and show you what’s hot within your industry. From there, create your own take on the subject or go further in-depth into the subject and offer more value to your audience.
4. Make Online Reputation Management a Priority
What does your online reputation have to do with link building? Everything.
First of all, Google takes into account negative reviews on third party review sites and social media. Too many reviews will mean a significant punch in the gut where SEO ranking is concerned.
Second, when you approach others (influencers, journalists, and others) about working together in order to build links, they most likely will check you out. This means they will vet you through reviews, social media, and every other place on the internet. Finding negative information can put the kabosh on any relationship. After all, linking to your site could potentially affect their site as well.
Improving and maintaining your online reputation is therefore integral to your overall link building strategy. Avoid negative reviews by working hard to satisfy customers, answer concerns and complaints as soon as you receive them, and go above and beyond in your customer service.
B2B PR agencies offer reputation management services that could be a game changer to keep your online reputation in pristine condition.
5. Think Like a Journalist
If you want to gain backlinks from a top news site, you must first think like a journalist.
What is on their minds? What type of story do they care about? What value could you offer to them?
One possibility is to create news through a survey. Use the data you uncover to shine new light on industry trends. Or share a new angle for a story that has already been covered.
Journalists appreciate (and often reward) such forethought with mentions and backlinks.
6. Use Press Releases
The use of press releases has waned in the past few years, and some have even made the strong claim that press releases are dead. Far from being dead, these helpful tools still help spread the word about your news.
Press releases have evolved over the years. Now, more than ever, the key to a successful press release is storytelling. Modern journalists face all kinds of cutbacks and deadlines, so you need to make it easy for them. Create a ready-made story, with data, quotes, and visuals that they will be able to run with.
While syndicated websites can distribute your press release, you won’t get any SEO value from them because of "no follow" links. Instead, distribute your press release on social media and use keywords that will give it a little lift and help journalists and influencers to find it easily.
You can also make your release more appealing by sending it to a few select influencers before you release it to everyone. This "first dibs" strategy increases the value of your story.
7. Use HARO
HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a nifty way to connect with journalists who are looking for a story.
Registration is free. Just enter your name, email address, and information about your industry and expertise. The service will email you when a journalist is looking for your particular point of view. If it’s a good fit for both of you, you’re that much closer to a mention (and a backlink!). There are also paid subscriptions with more features and benefits.
This type of service can help you short-term to get backlinks to boost your SEO. But it can also help you long-term to cultivate relationships with journalists, bloggers, and influencers.
Follow HARO (@HelpAReporter) on Twitter for more opportunities.
8. Look on Twitter
Twitter is the central hub for many industries, and journalism is no exception. Journalists will often broadcast PR opportunities on Twitter to find someone they need for a story or interview.
How can you get in on this hub? It's all about using specialized hashtags. Journalists will often use the hashtag #journorequest or #PRRequest to put the word out there. Pair these hashtags with one specific to your industry, such as #b2b, #manufacturing, or #accounting to weed through the irrelevant posts and find a PR opportunity that will work for you.
There's a valuable place for PR in SEO and vice versa. The more these two industries work together harmoniously, the better results you'll see across the board.
How do you plan to use your PR to boost your SEO? Let us know in the comments below.
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