Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a crucial part of digital marketing, helping drive traffic and generating visibility for brands.
With proven strategies such as keyword research, on-page optimisation, off-page optimisation, and measuring the results, PR professionals can push their content up the search rankings and generate valuable publicity for content.
In this article we will explore the blueprint for PR and SEO working together effectively, so you have the tools to optimise your content and dominate the search engine results.
Importance of keywords
Keyword research is the crucial first step when optimising content for SEO. This is where your strategy is built.
Researching keywords gives you insight into the phrases and terms your target audience is using to find information related to your industry or service.
It uncovers the opportunities for ranking for different keywords. The idea is to find keywords that are relevant to your business with good search volume. But you also want to find keywords which have lower levels of competition, giving your content the better chance of ranking higher.
Your chosen keywords will also be used to optimise meta data. More on that later…
How to find relevant keywords
You can find relevant keywords using dedicated keyword research tools.
You can use Google’s Keyword Planner for free, however paid platforms such as SEMrush and Ahrefs provide better quality data and are usually the best tools for finding keywords to target. These tools also provide insight into competition, telling you how difficult it would be to rank for each specific keyword.
The keywords you choose should have a high enough search volume to generate a significant amount of traffic. But keep in mind that you should also consider targeting long-tail keywords, which are more specific phrases that tend to have lower search volume.
For example, ‘fitness app’ will have thousands of searches per month, but also a huge amount of competition so it would be very hard to rank for. ‘Best fitness app for women’ has far less search volume overall, but it is also less competitive. These long-tail keywords are the foundation of your PR and SEO working together.
You can also use SEMrush and Ahrefs to analyse the keywords that competitor brands are using on their websites and in their content. This could help uncover keywords you may have missed or give you a better idea of what to target.
When selecting keywords, make sure they are relevant to your brand and the content on your website. This helps search engines direct the right kinds of traffic to your site. And also consider the intent behind the keywords. Are users typing them in to find information, or looking to purchase a product or service? Target the keywords that match the goals of your brand.
After you have chosen your keywords and written your fine piece of content, it is time to do some on-page optimisation.
These are techniques for optimising individual webpages so they rank higher and earn relevant traffic in search engines.
Here is a checklist for making sure your content is optimised:
Headlines and meta tags
The title and meta description are two vital elements of on-page SEO. They should include your chosen keyword that you want to rank for and accurately describe the content of the page.
Title tags should be no more than 70 characters, while meta descriptions should be no more than 150 characters. This is to ensure that they don’t get cut off in the search engine results page.
Headlines and meta tags should be written in a compelling way, in order to encourage users to click through to the page. Use modifiers such as ‘best’, ‘guide’, ‘review’, etc. in the headlines and meta tags to make them more compelling and increase click-through-rates.
Keywords in the body text
The body text should also include your chosen keyword, but they should be used in a natural way and not over-stuffed. A good rule of thumb is using your keyword no more than once for every 300 words.
The first 100 words of a page are the most important for SEO. By including relevant keywords in this section, you can signal to search engines what the content of the page is about.
Instead of repeating the same keyword multiple times, use variations of the keywords. This will make the content more natural and also can help to avoid keyword stuffing.
You can also add Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. These LSI keywords are words and phrases that are related to the main keywords and help to give more context to the content. Using LSI keywords can help to improve the relevance of the content and can also help to avoid keyword stuffing.
These tags (H1s, H2s, etc.) allow you to structure your content in a clear and engaging format. H1 is the primary heading and main title on your page. H2 marks the first sub-heading, H3 is the sub-heading below that, etc. These help search engines understand your content better and improve user experience. We would not recommend going further than a H3 tag to structure your content.
Internal and external links
Your page should include some internal (pointing to other pages on your website) and external (pointing to pages on other websites) links. Ideally you would incorporate keywords into the internal links, which tells search engines what the linked content is about. External links pointing to high authority websites signal to search engines that you’re providing trustworthy content.
Search engines reward websites that provide valuable, informative, and engaging content. Writing high-quality content is crucial for on-page optimisation, and it can also help to attract backlinks from other websites, which is another ranking factor. Therefore, it is important to use keywords in a natural and organic way, avoiding keyword stuffing and making sure that the content is well written and informative.
Optimising images and videos
Images and videos can also be optimized for SEO by adding appropriate alt tags and file names, and compressing the files to reduce their size. Image alt tags should describe the image specifically and succinctly – e.g. ‘Business teacher pointing at computer screen’.
With these on-page techniques, PR professionals can improve their content in the eyes of search engines and give their content a better chance of ranking. Now, time to publish.
Tracking SEO progress
Monitoring your results
After publishing your content you can track your SEO progress. This helps measure your SEO strategy.
One way of measuring results is through keyword position tracking. Again, we recommended tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush here, as they can help you track your rankings for specific keywords over time. This gives you data into how your site is performing in search engine results.
Another important metric to look at is traffic your website receives from search engines. This is done through Google Analytics, which is free to use. Using this tool, you can also keep an eye on bounce rate and time on site. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after only visiting one page. Time on site is the average amount of time visitors spend on your site. These metrics tell you how engaging your content is.
You can also check your backlink profile to measure SEO progress. Backlinks are when other websites provide a link back to your content, and they’re an important ranking factor. When you get a backlink, search engines consider this a positive ‘vote’ for your content which indicates that you’re providing value. Backlinks from good quality websites will help increase the authority of your site.
Finally, you can track conversions. If your content has been created with the goal of generating specific conversions (sales, form submissions, phone calls, etc.) then you can track these in Google Analytics.
Regularly monitoring your SEO progress helps you identify the areas where your strategy is working and where you can make improvements.
PR and SEO working together
SEO is an important aspect of a PR professional’s work. By using these strategies and monitoring the results, you can increase the visibility of your content across search engines and drive valuable traffic for your brand.
For more on SEO, download our white paper the ‘SEO best practice guide for PR‘. And get even more useful data on the effectiveness of your work with Vuelio Media Monitoring and Stakeholder Management.