Working in SEO for the past five years, I’ve seen the remarkable transition of the industry. Google’s constant battle for a spam-free web and its evolution as a search engine, has kept things interesting for search marketers.
Whilst it seems Google is switching towards a quality standard of great usability rather than traditional ranking factors, the search engine for a number of years now, has placed greater importance on the quality and relevancy of the content linking to sites. So to climb Google’s results pages, a big ranking factor is to write and share insightful and appealing content that generates good quality links.
Acquiring genuine links of quality seems a relatively new concept for some SEO’s, but PR professionals have been doing this since the beginning of link time – whilst perhaps not always appreciating the value!
What I’ve found (myself included in this) is that SEO as an industry is very good at the technical side of things but not great at acquiring high domain authority links.
The best links I’ve had over the years have developed naturally through good PR. That’s not to say you shouldn’t give a journalist a reason to link to your site because you want to acquire it ‘naturally’. Natural links have developed because the publisher saw fit to do so – not because we placed random anchor text with the intent of ranking for a particular term.
Where the PR, SEO cross over lies is with content. Previously, content calendars would solely be utilised by PR experts for scheduling and creating topics. SEO professionals are now integrating content calendars into their strategies. Content calendars in particular are crucial to SEO’s, helping them to stay up to date with seasonal prompts to generate effective content. Creative PR events and stunts, in comparison, can also assist in generating major attention and branded mentions across the web.
Because SEO is a long game, showing an instant return on investment is very difficult. It doesn’t help that the industry as whole is tarnished by a minority of opportunist weak marketers offering outlandish deals for ‘Page 1 results’.
Clients don’t see value in something they don’t understand, which is why client education and setting clear objectives from the get go is crucial. That said, not showing the client a sufficient traffic return in the first six months is not going to help them see value in any respect.
This is why obtaining good PR based Links is crucial as a deliverable. The technical side is important, but showing an instant traffic return is both measurable and scalable. If I was to place an excellent article in a national newspaper, the client would see an increase in referrals to their site and potentially subsequent sales and leads. Regular PR also spearheads brand visibility, which in return would increase the number of brand-based searches. The link in question would also be passing page rank to a client’s page.
All three of these points can show an instant return on investment.
Where social lies in all this, is that it becomes the platform for branding, SEO and marketing campaigns. Social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and a monumental list of others are extremely important ways to promote content and gain incoming links to a website. The social sphere is also a huge network for content creators with their own massive level of reach. Tapping into these connections from a social account helps build relationships and therefore the potential for links
SEO as a single entity doesn’t pack the punch like it used to. In 2010 agencies could spam a site to the top of Google, but that just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Today, the more people want to become successful through SEO, the more the term umbrellas into multiple marketing skill sets. PR and social are at the top of that list.