SEO and Media Outreach
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a significant role in how marketers and public relations specialists produce online content. If you’re not familiar with SEO, it refers the process of making your website better for search engine like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
It’s worth noting that SEO and the various considerations that are involved in designing an SEO strategy are very complex and often require assistance from organizations that are dedicated to helping companies develop, monitor and maintain an SEO strategy. The following information is designed to offer tips to optimize your content for SEO.
In an increasingly digital environment, it’s a good practice to consider your audience’s intent behind their queries, whether they’re searching for new product offerings, gas prices, store hours or to place an online food order for pickup—even if they misspell your company name. For example, online searches often fall into three common categories: informational (user is looking for specific information, transactional (user wants to buy something, register for event, download a PDF, etc.) and navigational (user is looking to reach a certain website).
“Impatience, immediate action, instant gratification, even some impulsiveness—these are just a handful of descriptors for behavior today,” says Lisa Gevelber Google’s vice president of marketing for the Americas. “We have all been empowered and emboldened by information. With our phones acting as supercomputers in our pockets, we can find, learn, do, and buy whenever the need arises—or the whim strikes.”
Gevelber notes that people are searching at the exact moment they need something and are looking for places that can meet their immediate need. When making these on-the-spot decisions, people are “more loyal to their need than to any particular place.”
Employing good SEO strategies can help your content rise to the coveted first page of search results on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, etc. The higher the rank, the faster people can organically search the web and find your content. Google’s ranking systems, for example, sort through hundreds of billions of webpages to find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second, which are presented to users in a way that helps them find what they’re looking for.
It’s important to consider keywords when developing digital content, which help define your content, are relevant to your business and align with what your audience is searching for. There are many keyword tools online that can help you find words or phrases people are searching for, as well as keywords used by your competitors. Look for indicators like search volume (average monthly searches) and competition scores that show how easy or difficult it is to rank for a specific keyword. The Content Marketing Institute offers a list of free keyword research tools.
Here’s something to keep in mind with keywords: Don’t overdo it. Beyond matching words in a search query, search engines like Google will look to match the words in the query with relevant content/context on the page. Search algorithms will then prioritize the most reliable sources. So, for example, mentioning the word “cat” more than 20 times in an online press release without context runs the risk of search engines penalizing that page, or even your whole website, by lowering the rank of that page/site.
Taking a deeper dive into keywords, using semantic keywords, which refers to the meaning and intent behind a user’s search term or phrase, can help even more with on-page optimization (i.e., URL structure, title tag, body copy, H1 tags). There are many great resources online to help you better understand the ins and outs of semantic keywords and searches, such as Search Engine Journal and SEMrush, to name a few.
A good way to approach building an SEO is to have patience and consider a third-party partner for guidance. There are many companies and resources available online offering tips and tools to help companies identify the path forward—all while gaining a keen understanding of what your customers are searching for and how your brand can become a trusted resource in an increasingly complex digital environment.