What is SEO?

In the past I worked with WordPress a lot & of course have always had keywords in mind from the PR side of things. Plus, a lot of the PR I was doing was merging more and more into Social Media/digital strategy/content marketing type work.

Anywho, SEO at it’s most basic form is creating content & using tactics that fulfil the criteria set by Google in regards to how they rank pages.

So, of course, the end goal is to have your content/website being the top of the page suggestion when people google search terms relevant to whatever your product is.

Google’s OFFICIAL guidelines are here:
https://www.google.com/intl/en_us/insidesearch/howsearchworks/index.html

BUT there is actually a lot of controversy surrounding SEO because of the dirty tactics that developed once Google took over the world and people started abusing loopholes in Googles system. There are a lot of grey areas too i.e. Google says they prioritise “quality content”, which is very subjective and to me means well written, useful information with relevant images BUT to SEO it usually means “each page needs to have over 250 words”.

However, Google’s priority is the end user finding the information they need thanks to Google search (the entire point of the ‘product’).

So, for Google to continue being a great & useful product it has to prevent content that uses SEO shortcuts from getting top page rankings (rather than valuable, reliable information that SHOULD be ranking most highly).

Therefore, Google is CONSTANTLY improving and changing things and punishing SEO shortcuts.

This Forbes article gives a pretty good overview:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkrogue/2012/07/20/the-death-of-seo-the-rise-of-social-pr-and-real-content/

Personally, I define PR as something like “managing a brand’s reputation with the public”. You can interpret that however, but the basic principle is the same and is basically timeless/regardless of changes in industry tools etc. I definitely DON’T define PR as “sending press releases out to media publications”. I consider (and a lot of people would disagree with me) SEO to be a tool within the PR Toolkit, which is a tool that may also be used by Sales, Marketing .. whatever ..

There is also a lot of “PR is dead” or “SEO is dead” blablabla. To be fair, they are kind of “competing” for the same job, but using different tactics to achieve the same end goal.

A good overview of the PR vs SEO controversy is here:
http://www.shiftcomm.com/2014/03/pr-is-the-new-seo/

The truth is, they are both merging into Content Marketing .. which iiiis:
http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/

Once you understand what content marketing is, I think you can see how PR & SEO both fit into things.

I suggest you researching more in the below areas, as PR is evolving and these are the areas that are becoming more and more relevant to what is currently “PR”:
- Content marketing
– UX Design

As for the PR side of things … Is there a cookie cutter strategy?

Firstly, read this:
http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/SEO_for_public_relations_A_stepbystep_guide_10942.aspx

I can’t really give you a solid strategy .. it’s not an easy thing to pin down. However, there are small things you can do SEO wise to boost things. 

As far as media releases go it’s super simple:

- Don’t repeat links (unless it would be helpful to the reader)
- Write naturally and use relevant links that will HELP the reader, but if you can link to your own RELEVANT content then even better! (which is where content marketing comes in)
– Keep keywords consistent (but also where you need to watch you are not coming across as tacky or compromising the quality/readability of content)
– Avoid spammy-looking linking i.e. Linking to a whole bunch of products that you are selling (if it’s not relevant to the content).

Check out Google Adwords for popular keywords (you will have to guess/use your intuition a bit to get on the right trail!):
https://adwords.google.com/

If you use wordpress or a similar CMS there is a whole subset of SEO recommendations for that which you can research if it’s relevant to you.

Bear in mind, I believe we should be “writing for people, not (google) crawlers” anyway.

Quality, useful and well-written content is what will always “win” in the end. HOWEVER, you must be careful not to compromise the quality of your work just to fulfil some SEO checklist. I will do as SEO requests up until the point where I feel it is compromising the quality of my writing.