Anna King, Founder and Director of Scripsy explains how to can use PR to boost your business' Google ranking.
It’s no secret that getting your website on to the first page of Google will make all the difference to your business. After all, Google is how most of us find what we need these days, and few of us have time to search past the first screen of results. But achieving a high Google ranking is no mean feat, with millions, if not billions, of other websites to compete with. And when you’re short on budget for online advertising, winning over those tricksy search algorithms can feel like an impossible task.
But, while online advertising can definitely help, it’s not the only way to fight your way up the rankings. Thanks to the major updates, Panda in 2011 and Penguin in 2012, the dodgy SEO tactics of old have now been outwitted by the search giant – in fact they’ll probably do more damage than good. What matters now – and Google has confirmed this – is relevance, demonstrated by links from other popular sites, and how readers interact with your content when they click-through. And that’s where PR comes in. Here’s how…
Backlink bonanza: Business gold dust for the 21st century, backlinks are one of the most effective ways of boosting your Google ranking. But they can’t be any old link. For Google to take them seriously, backlinks have to be natural and in an editorial style, plus the more popular and highly ranking the site, the higher the links are valued. So, media websites, such as national newspapers or trade magazines, are one of the most sought-after sources, as they are seen as independent and trustworthy, and they also tend to be widely read. And how do you achieve coverage on these sites? PR, of course. News releases, by-lined articles and media interviews are fantastic ways of achieving coverage, and hopefully links, in these types of outlets.
Creative content: A second big factor influencing Google’s algorithm is how visitors behave once they arrive at your site - and the more satisfied they are, the better. That’s why it’s so important to fill your site with content that is going to attract and keep your target audience’s attention, so they spend more time reading and clicking through to other pages. Content marketing is a growing discipline for just this reason, but its roots really lie in PR, which has effectively been doing it for years. Thought leadership reports, market research, blogs, articles and white papers are all great for drawing readers in and have the added benefit of encouraging shares on social media to generate more links and traffic. Another tip is that longer content tends to rank higher on Google, with first page results averaging around 1,890 words. So, try to mix it up with some long-form articles, as well as the more bitesize pieces.
Stakeholder relations: There are lots of reasons why building relationships with your relevant industry associations and influencers is a good idea, including networking, sponsorship and partnership opportunities. But stakeholder and influencer relations campaigns can also give a nice boost to your SEO, by enabling you to list your business on web-based directories, and contribute content to their blogs or news areas, generating valuable backlinks and organic traffic. As Google generally considers industry bodies to be trustworthy and reputable sources of information, your overall ranking is likely to experience a positive impact as a result.
Social support: Links on social media don’t directly affect your search rankings, according to Google, but that doesn’t mean that building a following on these channels is wasted effort. By regularly sharing relevant and creative content with your social community, you’re helping to drive new visitors to your site, increasing the likelihood that they’ll share your content with others and also encouraging backlinks. But it’s not all about those links, as Google also values your traffic and click-through rate as a measure of engagement and user-experience – both of which are helped along by social.
Influencing organic search: And of course, all that fantastic media coverage has another very important purpose, which is to drive awareness of your brand and let potential customers get to know you better – which isn’t a bad result. But it has an added benefit too, because the more people see your brand in the news, online or at a conference, the more likely they are to search for it alongside an associated keyword. And the more that happens, Google will start to twig that your site is a good place to find information relevant to that subject and start moving you up the search results. It’s a win-win!
As anybody who has spent any time trying to boost their Google ranking will know, there’s no silver bullet for getting to the top. But a committed and consistent approach to developing quality editorial, nurturing online relationships and creating original and engaging content, and your website will be challenging the front-runners in no time.
Scripsy is a PR, copywriting and content marketing consultancy, that helps brands to find their voice and tell their story, with campaigns that make a real impact on the bottom-line.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by b2b pr specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing, B2B content marketing agency and proud HubSpot partner agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact her via email on [email protected].
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