Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a buzzword that is often spoken about in the world of digital marketing and communications. However, not many people understand exactly what it means and how integral it is that PR agencies work together with SEO experts to maximise return on investment for clients.
SEO is the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (organic) search engine results. In order to successfully implement an SEO strategy, there are a number of elements to consider.
Search engines, such as Google, are the main source of traffic to your website and utilising internet browsers can raise your conversion rate and grow your business. According to InternetLiveStats, there have already been more than 700 billion Google searches conducted this year already, with 94.95% of searchers clicking on organic search results.
It’s about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they are seeking, the words they’re using, and the type of content they wish to consume. Leveraging this data will allow you to provide high-quality content that your visitors will truly value.
– Britney Muller, Moz.com
A well-crafted website, with a well thought out SEO strategy, not only provides businesses with an online shop front but also a platform to amplify broader public relations and marketing messaging.
A communications professional´s guide to a good SEO strategy
The two main aspects of an SEO strategy are on-page and off-page SEO. On-page includes everything that can be done on the website itself, while off-page involves raising the company’s visibility on the web through other channels.
1. On-page SEO: Content
A website’s content should display information that is essential to the reader. It is recommended that each web page have a minimum of 300 words, and an average of about 500 words depending on the purpose of the page. Content needs to be direct, establish expertise, show authority and gain trustworthiness.
A website also needs to make it easy for Google to find on the world wide web. The architecture should be clear and simple for Google to identify the important web pages.
- On-page SEO: Keywords
Keywords are the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines. These words and terms are imperative in order to be found in search engine results pages. Keywords should be words and phrases that are commonly used by the targeted audience, and not necessarily industry buzzwords – these can be the differentiating factor of the products, services or benefits of the product or service.
- On-page SEO: Meta tags
Meta tags play a vital role in an SEO strategy. These meta titles and meta descriptions are the keywords and main points that are visible in search results displayed by Google. This is a way to entice users to visit the website and is usually the first place a user is introduced to the business.
- Off-page SEO: Backlinks
Backlinks are one of the top three ranking factors when it comes to search engine results pages (SERPs). These backlinks need to be accompanied by strong editorial content, which speaks to the needs of the customer. Links throughout the website, pointing both to internal pages as well as third party sites, build up a website’s credibility.
- Off-page SEO: Social media
Social media marketing and SEO are two entities that, when intertwined, can complement the efforts of each other for even greater success of a digital marketing. As one of the best ways for businesses to interact with customers, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can assist in building professional relationships, raising awareness and generating quality business leads.
- Off-page SEO: Online directories and reviews
A good presence on online directories, paired with positive customer reviews, can attract many new customers to the business. Online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how search engines rank search results. It is important for businesses to keep an eye on these reviews in order to interact with the users and address any negative comments that may arise.
The secret sauce to a successful SEO strategy is content creation – and how you use it. Used to reach a business’s stakeholders, PR agencies should focus efforts on clear and concise messaging to achieve brand elevation.