PR pros are not all convinced that SEO is a skill they need to master. However, as content marketing gains popularity,SEO becomes more and more important. The more content there is on the web, the more difficult it is to find what you’re looking for.
Content marketing isn’t a new idea for PR. We’ve been doing this forever. Corporate magazines, thought pieces, by-lined articles for executives, sponsored radio shows – we’ve done it all. Now content is the hottest new marketing idea. And it’s all being published online.
Back in 1995 it was easy to post content and have it be visible to those searching online. Now there are billions of pages online. Finding that interesting, relevant piece of content is much harder. ‘Post and they will come’ is just as naive as “Build it and they will come’. People only beat a path to your door when the know where that door is.
So yes, SEO has become an important PR skill.
That means you have to learn how Google operates and keep up with their constant tweaking of the algorithm. Google has recently admitted to Search Engine Land that since October 2014 their Penguin algorithm that addresses the quality of inbound links and fights spam has been put on a rolling, continuous optimization schedule instead of sporadic updates..
What does that mean for PR pros?
First let’s look at what Penguin is and what it does:
First introduced in April 2012, Google’s Penguin algorithm focuses on removing sites from search results that have improved their performance artificially with low-quality links. Because Google’s ranking algorithms factor in the quantity and quality of links, sites have been finding ways for years to artificially increase the number of links pointing to their sites by buying, exchanging, or engaging in other forms of easy link acquisition. Practical Ecommerce
So Google counts links from other sites to your content and weights the value of those links. PR people should understand this model well – it’s third-party endorsement. And the value of the party that doing the endorsement makes a difference. A link from a trusted media site or an authority in your field obviously counts more than a link from the guy down the road who has no real connection to our brand. Or worse still, a link from some spammy link farm or service that sells you links for $5.
At the end of the day, though, the only thing that can resolve a Penguin algorithm issue is the very thing you need to improve your SEO to start with: Earn more links from more high-value sites. Jill Kocher, search-engine-optimization expert.
Ah! More links from high-value sites. And suddenly Digital PR is in demand. We know how to create excellent content that attracts those high value links, organically. We have, or can create and maintain, relationships with bloggers and reporters and can get stories placed on trusted media sites.
All the hullabaloo about link-bait and great content leads right back to PR. Now is the time to
- Sharpen up your writing skills and creativity
- Learn to make visual content that excites and delights
- Build good relationships with the influencers in the industries you serve
- Listen to the conversations of the people who are interested in your brand or your type of product or service.
- Extract insights from the fire hose of data on line
- Use these insights to craft your content strategy.
Digital PR is now a vital part of the marketing mix.