Why SEO needs PR needs social media needs video
When online business owners started clocking in the nineties that having websites that could easily be found in the search engines brought increased visibility, traffic and leads a new marketing discipline was born. Early SEO specialists had to grapple with search engines that indexed pages based on very simple criteria (such as page title). Now, almost 20 years later, search engines employ sophisticated and secretive algorithms that use an ever-changing collection of variables to rank websites in their search engine results pages.
There are two of elements to a successful SEO campaign:
1. On-page optimisation: making sure the lines of communication between your website and search engines, such as Google, are open. This takes the form of html code, notably the page title and description, and the readable, keyword-rich content on your site.
2. Off-page optimisation: collaborating with other websites to give yours a digital nod of approval by linking to it. This tells search engines that your site is one of quality and relevance, which visitors will find useful. The result? Search engines push your site up their rankings, driving more quality traffic your way.
So, why, in 2013, does your SEO strategy need the help of your PR, social media and video teams?
How PR and SEO interact
There are a number of important crossovers between PR and SEO. Google’s latest algorithm (the set of rules and calculations that dictate how it chooses to rank one site above another), which goes by the name of Panda, was launched in February 2011. Since then it has been updated a number of times, the most recent (and perhaps most significant) being the Penguin update in April 2012. The most important element of the update is its focus on the quality of content and the date of the page, giving sites with good, frequently updated content top priority in the search results.
What does this mean for businesses? Fresh, compelling and regularly updated content is key, which means the ability to create an interesting, widely-followed, regularly updated company blog or news page is now more important than html literacy in achieving higher search rankings. Your company’s B2B PR function should already understand the business, the issues that affect your clients, and how to communicate these. So the logical thing to do is to hand this responsibility directly to them.
Secondly, building quality links to your website is a critical element of your SEO plan. This is something your PR team is already working on, in the form of guest blogs or contributed articles that come with links back to your site.
Combining PR and SEO also ensures consistency of branding and messaging, making it important to consider how these two marketing functions should work together.
How social media and SEO interact
Social networks have a major role to play in your ability to optimise your site. As mentioned above, your blog is an essential element in your social programme. But additionally, social bookmarking and social sharing are the new link building, as search engines increasingly use recommendations made on social networks to rank sites in their search pages.
What does this mean for businesses? Your social media and SEO activities need to be closely tied, so collaboration between these marketing functions is now key.
How video and SEO interact
With around 3 billion searches a month, YouTube is now the web’s second biggest search engine. Need I say more?
Okay I will. Aside from the fact that your human viewers will engage better with your brand if you communicate with them via video (quality video only – don’t try to cut corners on your business video and make it utterly cringeworthy because no one will watch it, or worse, they’ll watch and laugh), video constitutes content and fresh content will be rewarded.
Add to that the fact that tags and descriptions that link back to your website will go a long way towards building your search rankings, and you’ll quickly understand the importance of making sure your SEO agency is dynamic enough to be able to incorporate video.
It’s 2013, and it’s no longer advised for organisations to segment their marketing activities. The boundaries between SEO, PR, social media and video are becoming increasingly blurred, and any organisation that recognises this and implements an integrated approach to communications will enjoy the benefits of being ahead of the curve.