Pubcon Live Blogging: The Intersection of SEO and PR

Moderator: Mark Jackson
Speakers:
Sean Jackson, CEO/Creator, Lead Maverick, Inc.
Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing

Organic search these days requires more synergy than ever before between departments. This isn’t discussed often, but it’s the focus of the discussion today.

 

Sean Jackson is up first

His presentation is for PR firm people who want to learn about SEO (something some apparently feel does not believe belongs at this conference, I disagree)

A new perspective – the intersection of SEO and PR agencies

Sean starts with the basics: SEO is important, and it has matured, both as a technology or a tactic.

The message is: “write well, rank well” – this is the Google line (it’s half-bullshit, in the authors humble opinion, build it and they won’t come, but it’s still an important part of SEO)

Press Vs. Public

The press can be media, bloggers, tv stations, reporters, etc. For years they had a defined audience who read them, follow them. But Google has opened the doors, letting us speak to the public directly instead of through a PR intermediary.

Search engines are the new intermediary.

A new way to explain SEO:

Public relations 
intersects with
online techniques
intersects with
Search engines

Online communications that influence the purchase process of customers on search engines.

Each stage of the purchase process needs to be ‘written well for’.

Here is the purchase funnel for every business EVAR:

Category awareness, brand awareness, brand consideration, brand preference, purchase intent, purchase, customer retention, customer advocacy.

Search influence:
How do we have influence on search? SEO PR is made up of content and distribution. That’s it. That’s what gives you search influence.

Every stage of the buying process should have something written about it. Communicate to people in every stage of the process.

A keyword is: what question is someone asking the search engines about a specific stage of the buying process.

Content rules:

  • Focus on a buying stage
  • research your keywords
  • treat as an advertisement
  • have a clear call to action defined (not necessarily to buy the product – don’t assume they’re in a specific part of the buying process that they’re not)

Write well:

  • Headlines – of course, your first 65 characters count for the most. Be sure to use the keyword, and we want to write a headline that addresses the query/question
  • Subheadings – 140 characters – the purpose of the headline is to get someone to read the subheading – use your keyword again.
  • 1st paragraph – include a hyperlink – ppl only have seconds and only scan, give them something to read here
  • general content – 300-500 words – 6 hyperlinks. Keywords at top, 5% KW density, use synonyms.

Rank well:

Here he discusses that online PR places like marketwire and pr newswire have SEO options: use them.

He says that this will take care of SEO by default – you write it well, they’ll distribute it. He’s missing some subtle but important things like duplication of content etc.

The fine print:

  • You must write often
  • Distribution cost money or time or both
  • Popular terms require lots of content
  • Long tails matter
  • Creativity matters
  • Seo pr is an easy process
  • Clear demand exists
  • understand what seo pr means
  • review how searchers move through the buying process
  • write well to rank well
  • review, rinse and repeat.

Next up Lee Odden

Okay, so Lisa Baron just yelled ‘thank god!’ when Lee Odden was introduced. Nice. (cut the guy a break the previous presenter was presenting to PR people, not SEOs so of course it seemed basic to SEOs)

The intersection between public relations and SEO, Lee calls digital PR.

64% of journalists report that they use either Google or Yahoo online news services to follow the news. A quote from David Meerman Scott, who receives emails about stories constantly, but doesn’t use those to choose topics, he goes to the search engines and search for information on the topic he wants to do a story on.

How do journalists use search?

  • Research past stories
  • Story ideas
  • Research new sources
  • Research press releases
  • Specific companies or people

What types of search do journalists do?

standard 91%

  • news 27%
  • blog 14%
  • Image 18%
  • Video 9 %
  • Local 5%
  • Bookmarks 9%
  • Other – 27% social network websites to find people

How do they use search?

“i was stumped recently when given a last minute assignment require an expert on the topic of communications infrastructure interoperability – a 15 minute google search let me hit my deadline”

What social media tools do you use?

  • Blogs 55%
  • microblogging 36%
  • social networks 64%
  • social news 14%
  • social bookmarks
  • media sharing
  • podcasts
  • wikis 55%

Most SEO efforts optimize for lead/sales generation. News optimization focuses on a different audience and outcome. Researcher > Google > facts, experts, trends > trusted source / media relationship

Push:
Outreach:
Wire services, networking, pitching, rss

Pull:
Optimized:
Press releases, newsrooms, social media, media coverage

How can we marketers take advantage of efficient seo?

Press release optimization:

  • Research keywords
  • optimize content
  • call to action
  • landing pages
  • Post to newsroom
  • pitch to media
  • RSS
  • wire service distribution
  • measure success

Tips:

  • Think upward and to the left
  • optimize for peole first, use SEs next
  • use keywords in title, subheading, body
  • don’t obsess over keyword density
  • a five hundred word release use the target keyword two to four times
  • use keywords in links to company web site
  • add media: images, podcast, video, pdf/word docs

Press release metrics:

  • Google and yahoo news inclusion
  • page views / impressions
  • media and blog pickups
  • inbound links
  • social bookmarks
  • keyword rankings
  • corporate site traffic
  • conversions: sales/pr

Newsroom optimization:

A lot of websites don’t have a newsroom – it’s just an aggregate set of content that’s meaningful to a journalist.

  • Press releases
  • media coverage
  • events
  • white papers
  • newsletters
  • exec bios/photos
  • media contact

These newsrooms can get links from journalists.

Digital asset optimization: news

  • Announcements
  • press releases
  • images
  • Video
  • Blog/RSS
  • Media coverage
  • Case studies
  • Microcontent

Online newsroom:

  • Blog software: wordpress, type pad, blogger
  • share/save: bookmarks
  • keyword: categories
  • chronological archives
  • Site search
  • Subscribe RSS
  • optimized for keywords
  • include: press releases, media coverage, events
  • cross link to related pages on main web site

GM Europe is a great example of a good newsroom

Pr tactics that affect seo

  • Press releases
  • Letters to the editor
  • Online newsrooms
  • Media kits
  • Blogs
  • White papers
  • Webinars / demos
  • Newsletters
  • Real world interviews
  • Podcasts / internet radio

SEO isn’t just about optimizing parts, it’s holistic

  • Make sure keyword glossaries available to seos are made available to the PR department.
  • Make it easy for consumers and journalists alike to find your message on the channels and in the format they prefer.
  • Journalists increasingly rely on search and social media
  • Create optimize and promote news content to reach customers and journalists
  • Best practices news optimization as a holistic approach, not just individual things

Q & A

Q: what are the disadvantages of using the free PR services

Sean A: You get what you pay for – metrics matter a lot. If you value the time you’re taking to put it out, monitoring metrics matter. Higher end packages include these.

Lee A: PRWeb used to be free, and it attracted a bunch of crap, which poisoned the domain a little in Google’s eyes. That’s why they went premium. If you’re just using the wire service distribution to do what an article distribution service does, so you may as well just do article distribution. The free distributions might land you anywhere, including unsavoury things, because of this I’d go with the paid services.

Q: if you’ve got the money, should I distribute over all the wire serices? Pro’s cons?

A: they paid services try hard to extend their distribution to places their competitors don’t cover – so research and see where the distributions are hitting and decide based on that. While there is cross-over, they each try to have unique distribution

A: we’ve done some testing by releasing similar but not identical PRs to different services – he didn’t say the results

A: multimedia have different distribution paths also

Q: do you have any advice for local PR?

A: you can target a specific GEO with a wire service – but before I do that I’d find out who’s writing locally about the beat you’re on, might as well contact them directly, ask them out for coffee, find out if they’d be interested in writing about you, your company or your news. It’s an opportunity to create some relationships that are harder to forge over longer distances.

A: the local side is important for most business: if you’re using PR to talk to customers, look for association sites, some are looking for content, including press releases. Some do it just to support the community. Association marketing.

As a side note from Sean:

Ereleases.com FYI, has a huge discount off of PRnewswire – they’re using PRnewswire for distribution, and have a proprietary 1400 journalist list. Check them out for national releases. 500 words for like 300 bucks, at national distribution.

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