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What does online PR mean for SEO?

Online public relations and search engine optimization tread common waters. While each discipline and its methods may differ, they both build organizations (and websites) through relevant and quality content. Some companies feel torn choosing between the two, but they fail to understand the interconnected impact of utilizing both search marketing and online PR. Because SEO is about optimizing your entire web presence, it inherently includes things like social media and PR. In fact, it seems these two disciplines actually have room for a relationship of synergy.

PR Scratches SEO’s Back

Most people recognize that SEO is more than just on-site optimization, meaning that off-site optimization is increasingly more important. Part of off-site optimization means creating quality content that people want to share. Building authority for a website includes links from articles, blogs, news, and more. At this point online public relations is beneficial in an SEO campaign because it helps attract quality links to build site credibility.

The role of public relations in an SEO campaign is growing in significance. On the surface, online PR means understanding the client, knowing their industry, and creating an image using content that reaches the target market. By reaching the target and providing value, the role PR plays is significant for building your brand. Bringing it back to SEO, there is no point in generating content if people are not interested. Through the use of online PR, content can be SEO-friendly, relevant, and help solidify an online presence because it ensures people are interested.

The Benefits of Bonding

SEO relies on quality content to be picked up and distributed, and PR can successfully swoop in to help. Consider Google’s organic search algorithm. Google continually tweaks the algorithm, and while most of these improvements don’t always impact your online presence, there were three pretty substantial changes in the last year that had a profound effect on positioning.

  1. Panda Updates (reducing content farms)
  2. Freshness Updates (ensuring content is relevant)
  3. Social Signals (gauging social media marketing interactions)

Creating quality, relevant content that fits most search engine’s criteria and SEO purposes can include a press release. The content of a press release should reflect the keyword research for the SEO campaign to broaden the scope of links. From the search engine’s perspective, an online press release contains:

  1. Trusted backlinks (Panda Updates)
  2. Timely content (Freshness Updates)
  3. “Sharing” icons (Potential Social Signals)

Clearly, the cooperation of online PR and SEO can be beneficial for a brand.

The PR and SEO Cocktail

Creating a cohesive strategy utilizing PR and SEO can be brilliant because the integration maximizes reach. By implementing keywords in a press release, SEO advantages continue. Interesting online stories and releases spread fast and easily, and by being SEO optimized, they have extra mileage. Even after a story or event is over, the content can continually generate traffic and interest months afterward. Better yet, the interested audience may also include journalists who want to publish your story or feature your release on their site, creating a bigger brand buzz. Additionally, the links a story creates not only generate traffic, but they help boost rankings as well.

In order to get the best return from publicity and positioning efforts online, these two disciplines can successfully integrate to generate interest, build authority, and cover more ground. An SEO strategy is the key to improving your overall web presence, and PR sparks intrigue and assists with organic rankings by producing fresh content. If you’re interested in learning more about the collaboration of online PR and SEO, SEO.com is hosting a How to Optimize Your Press Release webinar on February 23.

Client Spotlight: Aquarium supply company becomes an industry asset

Many people connect the stunning display of a saltwater aquarium with high-end hotels and dental offices, and few ever think they can afford one. However, there are opportunities to experience this luxury for less because building your own aquarium is possible and affordable.

Bulk Reef Supply is an online retailer of affordable saltwater aquarium supplies. Back in 2007, owners Andrew Duneman and Ryan Batcheller recognized that typical pet stores lack helpful resources that educate people about owning a saltwater aquarium. With opportunity in mind, they started Bulk Reef Supply. The company not only sells all the products you need to build a complete aquarium but also provides helpful videos on how to build and maintain them. They shine in the industry as an educational tool and vendor for anyone curious about owning a saltwater aquarium.

For those interested in saltwater aquariums, knowing where to start and how much money and time to invest is difficult to figure out. Likewise, many customers worry about managing and maintaining their aquarium, especially while on vacation.

“We want people to know that this isn’t as hard as they think,” said Richard Mast, director of marketing for Bulk Reef Supply. “We offer educational videos and we have customer service representatives with aquarium experience. We are trying to be the one source for any and all questions.”

The company really sets out to be the most responsive in the industry. With their vast variety of products and supplies, customers know their questions will be expertly answered in a timely fashion.

To take it a step further and truly help educate sea life enthusiasts, Bulk Reef Supply will launch a new interactive website within the year that includes a video explanation of many of the products found on the site. Eventually, people will be able to surf the site and learn what they need to know for their aquarium adventures including how to start a saltwater aquarium.

“Five years ago we wanted to be a resource, and today we remain a reliable resource. We separate ourselves from other companies because we take it to the next level,” Mast said.

Bulk Reef Supply is an excellent place for the novice, but the company can also provide experts with precisely what they need to keep their aquarium looking amazing.

Tips and Tricks: A clean surfing experience increases conversion

Consumers today are practically buried under an avalanche of product choices, and as the number of competitors begging for attention increases, so does the anxiety consumers feel. The best way to alleviate that anxiety is by simplifying your site. A clean surfing experience helps provide consumers with much needed assurance throughout the conversion process. Because you have mere seconds to engage a customer, the significance of a good design and easy checkout process cannot be overstated. Here are some areas you should consider adjusting to improve your site.

Limit content so you don’t distract from your call to action.

Too much text on a homepage can overwhelm, confuse, or bore the customer. If you clutter your homepage with content, they may leave the site without exploring any additional pages. To keep it clean, your homepage should directly lead your customer to what you want them to do. For example, if you’re selling clothing, make the apparel the focus of the page and provide easy to find “buy now” buttons.

Keep content clear and concise.

Being creative for creativities sake with your content can lose readership and sales. You want your content to be engaging, however, it shouldn’t be overly clever or confusing and you should avoid using industry jargon. To be honest, it never hurts to go back to the basics, so make sure your content addresses who, what, where, when, why, and how.

Make sure your call to action is noticeable.

Decide where you want people to look first on your site. If your call to action involves clicking a button, make the button big with contrasting colors to draw in more attention. Although the feel of your site needs to be clean and simple, the call to action must be bold and obvious.

Search marketing can only do so much to help increase your conversion rate. Once consumers click on your site, the site should seal the sale and an effortless surfing experience is critical for conversion.

Industry events

Online Marketing Summit: San Diego; Feb. 6-10, 2012

Search Engine Strategies Search & Social Accelerator Conference: San Diego; Feb. 9, 2012

PubCon: Honolulu; Feb. 13-15, 2012

SearchFest: Portland; Feb. 24, 2012

Search Marketing Expo West: San Jose; Feb. 28 to March 1, 2012

SEO.com events

Webinar: Tips to Improve Your Local Marketing — Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. MST

Webinar: How to Optimize Your Press Release — Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. MST