17 December 2020|Business Growth, Latest Posts, Launching a business, Marketing, PR, Promotion, Resources
Good quality links and content have become much more important for telling the search engines whether a site should be served up in their search results or not. That’s why an SEO-savvy PR agency is now the most powerful weapon for boosting web traffic. Louise Findlay-Wilson, Managing Director at Energy PR, elaborates…
SEO may seem like a dark art, but it’s only perceived like that because people have tried to ‘game’ the system, using tricks and techniques to take advantage of the way the search algorithms work. For instance, in the old days, the links to a site were a key measure which Google’s algorithm used. So, SEO agencies focused on securing backlinks; whether they were legitimately sourced or of any quality was of no real concern. The SEO power of a small number of high-quality backlinks could easily be replicated by an enormous quantity of low-quality backlinks! And so, an entire industry was born, with people paid to paste links back to sites by adding them to every website on the internet that had a comments section. What nonsense!
These days, while high-quality backlinks are still extremely powerful, such spamming is quite rightly penalised. The algorithm has become smarter. And that’s the bottom line really. SEO algorithms are in a constant state of evolution, in their bid to help users find what they are actually looking for. While there might be a few tricks you can play, eventually the algorithm gets wise, and you might even be penalised for trying to out-fox the system.
Google wants is to offer users a relevant, quality search result. As a result, modern SEO efforts are all about honestly generating and promoting a usable site, that’s purpose is understood and ‘does what it says on the tin.’
Your Site & The Media
Seen in this light, a PR agency has such a big role to play in all of this. A decent PR agency utterly understands the target audience a business is trying to reach. It will know what makes them tick, what questions they have, and so will help ensure that in terms of content and tone the website ‘talks’ to them clearly and helpfully.
The PR agency will also deliver quality links to your site through its online media activity. PR people are highly skilled at leveraging the news agenda to get a journalist to do your marketing for you, talking about your products and services in what feels like a third-party endorsement and carrying links in the ensuing coverage. Such media activity boosts traffic to your website and vastly improves your Google performance. Let me quickly explain why this is the case.
Respected online media titles are rated by Google and the other search engines. If your company is featured in an article on a relevant topic in a good, pertinent media title and that article then links through to your website, Google’s algorithm notes it. It recognises that, for that subject, a respected website (the media) directs people to your site. If this is repeated on many media sites consistently, Google will conclude that yours is a good site to point people to for that topic. So, it will place you higher in the search rankings when people search for it.
That’s why, with some careful consideration for the key phrases/topics that matter to your business, you can use online media relations to dramatically boost your web traffic. For instance, we’ve helped one company more than double its already good web traffic figures in a year, through highly tactical media work designed to boost its search engine optimisation.
Obviously, this kind of work isn’t a quick fix, but the sooner you get the right PR agency on board, and they make a start, the sooner you will make a difference.
Bloggers, Vloggers and Partnerships
A savvy PR agency will also help your SEO in other ways. For example, writing up your successes as case studies, and prompting happy customers to leave Google reviews, massively boosts your SEO.
The agency will refresh your website’s blog or knowledge centre. Regularly crafting compelling, carefully optimised, content, which again boosts your chances on the search engines. I don’t mean pages rammed with keywords which are hard to read and add no value. I mean content which adds value to the reader; educates and informs them; perhaps answers technical questions and helps with their decision-making. If relevant and useful it will also be perceived to merit recognition by the search algorithms.
The PR agency will also help you develop relations with influential bloggers and vloggers – arming them with content which again links to your site. Good for your traffic and for your SEO.
Brand partnerships, either with likeminded complementary brands or with suitable influencers, is another powerful way to create web traffic, content, links and SEO, and PR is the vehicle which drives such brand relationships. For instance, we helped toy brand Galt, partner with the kids’ luggage brand Trunki. Through the alliance both parties reached new online audiences, boosted their content and drove web traffic to their respective sites.
The jury is out on whether shares on social media may or may not affect a web page’s position in search listings. While Google doesn’t overtly say they do, a spokesman did confirm that Google crawls social websites for data in the same way that it would any other site saying: “Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results.”
Furthermore, in a 2018 study, Hootsuite tested the SEO results of articles; some had been promoted on social channels, some hadn’t. It found that the pieces with top social shares received an average 22% boost during the duration of the experiment.
Even if you don’t believe social activity boosts SEO performance, social profiles definitely influence the content delivered in search results. You may have noticed yourself that if you search on a brand name, social media profiles will often be amongst the top results.
That’s an important consideration, as if your social channels are going to be the first thing someone is served up when they search for your company, you want them looking tip top. It pays to have profiles with up-to-date info and engaging content. Again, something that’s part of your PR activity.
As you can see, PR is a critical SEO tool. Indeed I’d argue that it really is the only future-proofed SEO strategy, because it generates real backlinks, true endorsements and content that’s designed to resonate with your audience rather than hoodwink the search engines. If you’re not using PR as part of your SEO strategy, please start. But rather than appoint an SEO agency that’s trying to ‘adopt’ some of PR’s tools and techniques to help them ‘game the system’ – why not go for the real deal, appoint a proper PR agency that knows its SEO stuff.
For more information about how to deploy PR to boost your company’s SEO visit https://www.energypr.co.uk/expertise/driving-your-e-commerce-businesses
About the Author:
Louise Findlay-Wilson is a regular speaker and commentator on PR, digital and social media and owns leading agency, Energy PR. In a PR career spanning over 30 years, Louise has worked with a huge array of B2B and consumer brands. From major names such as the BBC, Lloyds Bank, Capita, Cap Gemini, Schwartz, 20th Century Fox and St Paul’s Cathedral through to exciting, ambitious start-ups and fast-growing SMEs – helping them use PR to drive and accelerate their growth.
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