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8 Steps to Leveraging PR for SEO

Posted by Krista LaRiviere on January 9th, 2012 at 10:54 am

In the past year, Google made over 500 improvements to their organic search algorithm. Most were minor tweaks, but in 2011 there were three significant changes that either positively or negatively impacted how your web presence gets found. The algorithm changes were:

  1. Panda Updates (cracking down on backlink farms)
  2. Social Signals (Google +1, Facebook, Twitter)
  3. Freshness Updates (focus on fresh, relevant content)

Public relations and press releases are an important part of any organization’s digital marketing mix. But did you know press releases are also the secret weapon in your SEO strategy? A well-executed PR campaign can instantly improve your organic search rankings and your entire web presence.

Find out how your company’s press releases play positively into Google’s Panda, Social Signals and Freshness updates giving the most important search engine on the web exactly what it wants. Additionally, I’ve included 8 steps to leveraging your PR efforts for SEO.

The Importance of PR in your Organic Search Strategy

A press release is typically issued by a company when it has relevant, newsworthy content to share with its stakeholders. It might be quarterly results, a demonstration of client momentum, new product or service enhancements, an industry award or expansion into new markets. For maximum exposure, a press release should be issued through a valid newswire such as: PRWeb, Business Wire, Canada Newswire or Marketwire.

What does this have to do with SEO?

When you look at it from Google’s perspective, a press release distributed through a newswire contains:

Add the concept of blatantly optimizing your press release for a particular keyword phrase that you are trying to rank for and you can crush your competition in the search engine rankings.

Leveraging PR for SEO – A Real-World Example

Air Georgian, a member of Air Canada Express, wanted to outrank their competitors for the terms “Corporate Aircraft Charters” and “Corporate Aircraft Charters Calgary”.

After some deliberate on-page, on-site optimization, their rank improved to the top 10 in Google. But with a deliberately optimized press release distributed through PRWeb.com (http://www.prweb.com/releases/AirGeorgian/Calgary-Jet-Charter/prweb8924830.htm) combined with additional socialization in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, plus social sharing icons in the press release and on the website, their rank jumped to within the Top 5 (and often #1) in Google.

To recap, here are 8 steps to leveraging your PR for SEO:

  1. Understand which keyword phrases you want to rank for. (Download: Getting Your Keywords Right)
  2. Optimize at least one web page on your website for these keyword phrases.
  3. Optimize your press release for these keyword phrases.
  4. Create backlinks from the press release to the supporting pages on your website. Make sure the anchor text of the hyperlink is the keyword phrase you are optimizing for.
  5. Include the social icons in your press release so readers can share, tweet and like your content.
  6. Socialize your press release in your social channels, always backlinking to the press release on your website.
  7. Distribute the press release through PRWeb, thus enhancing your backlinking strategy even further.
  8. Track, manage and measure the impact of your PR efforts.

What’s the next step, you’re wondering? Keep the conversation going: one week later, write a blog post optimized for the same keyword phrase including links to other relevant content on your website, and socialize it the same way you did with your press release. You can even post a video blog on the topic to rank high for the keyword phrase on YouTube as well – don’t forget to include backlinks from the video description to your website. And socialize it. See how it all works together? That’s the impact of PR on SEO.

Want to learn more about how to prove the impact of PR? Download: The Guide to SEO for PR

4 Responses to “8 Steps to Leveraging PR for SEO”

  1. Press release distribution should be a part of any SEO campaign. Whenever anything newsworthy happens within your business, write a press release and include keywords and anchor text links. Of course, don't go overboard with the links. A good rule of thumb is one link per 100 words.

  2. Karen says:

    Hallelujah!!!!
    Press releases continue to be an important messengers. Tightly written with compelling (useful) information they serve a myriad of purposes as has already been outlined here.

  3. I see the recent change with PR Firms to save money, as well as individual companies with press releases. MacReport Media has been in the industry over 20 years, shoot me an email jbissell (at) macreportmedia (dot) com , and I can lower your national press release rates by up to 75%.

  4. Keri says:

    Are you suggesting to add social icons to the press releases we send out or when we post the release to our own website? Can you show me a sample of this? Thanks

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