We were asked recently about the best way to increase a company’s ranking on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines, and whether public relations can help with this effort.
PR definitely can help increase your search rankings by appropriately marketing good content.
Not long ago, there was a company that sold eye glasses online. The company’s management decided the best way to increase their search rankings was to get people to write comments about their experience shopping with the company. To ensure people would “talk” about them, the company purposely made the shopping experience as negative as possible. With all the reviews and blog postings, the company shot up to the top of Google rankings.
In other words, the company gamed the system. Google, as well as other search engines, is getting smarter about this practice and has introduced a new algorithm that eliminates the success of such schemes, and also reduces the high rankings of content farms.
Using public relations to foster high search rankings takes a concerted effort, but the payoff can be impressive. Here are five steps to getting better search results using public relations:
- Develop a high-quality website.
- Understand your search terms. Leverage Google Analytics to understand which search terms people using to find your site. Review your competitors’ sites to see the terms they use frequently. Research other opportunities for your company to lead using search terms. Two good tools for this are Google AdWords and Wordtracker. Both enable you to enter a word or search term, and get a list of other related terms.
- Develop good content. In addition to placing high-quality content on your website, create content that can be used in blogs and on social media channels. Ask company experts for ideas for white papers, position papers, presentations, etc. Your company has a wealth of content just waiting to be tapped (link to blog about content).
- Link. Link. Link. Create links back to your website whenever possible. In PR efforts, create link-rich news releases and use a paid distribution service likeMarketwire to index your news on search engines. When contributing byline articles, offer a white paper that can be downloaded from your site. If you send e-newsletters, link to information contained on your blog. On social media channels, offer good content through links to your website. Upload slide presentations to SlideShare and videos to YouTube.
- Create a blog. Blogs showcase content and thought leadership, and give a more human view of your company. They also provide good linking opportunities to other content and can act as an entry point to your website from social media posts. Bring in varied voices from your organizations to contribute blogs and offer experts outside of your organization the ability to contribute, as well. These outside links will help your search rankings. Also, make sure to include Meta titles in your blogs that correspond with terms in their content.
Review your website to make sure you are providing rich content that interests your customer. This can be a combination of product/service information, reviews, industry information, trends, etc. Make your website a destination for customers to come to for good information, not just a sales pitch. Google provides good guidance on what makes a quality website.