Google released a Penguin 3.0 refresh a couple of months ago in order to improve the way it targets sites deemed to be spam, especially those found in violation of Googleâ€™s guidelines about linking. But whatâ€™s all this algorithm talk? Well, in short, the algorithms are applied to your search queries to ensure the most relevant, best content is returned in search results.
Penguin is only one of a few algorithms the search engine giant has released in the past few years. But its Panda, Hummingbird and Pirate algorithms have all been released to achieve exactly the same thing, which is to deal with search queries as accurately as possible and to return the most appropriate results. This means that good content gets rewarded, and sites full of spam using underhanded SEO techniques do not appear in search results.
PR and SEO are holding hands
PR is a wise old industry that can be slow to adapt to new technologies and trends. Whereas SEO is a reasonably new industry and possibly without really realising it, the two have become connected and now bounce off each other. Simply put, thereâ€™s no excuse for SEO not to be a top consideration when delivering PR-based content.
An EconsultancyÂ surveyÂ of UK marketers shows that 52% recognise how PR and SEO work closely together and 71% think that PR agencies are SEO experts. However, it highlights the blurred lines of the relationship between SEO and PR with only 26% of PR agencies found to be actively offering SEO as a service.
To achieve all new levels of success in PR and content marketing, it helps to understand how SEO works, how it links to content marketing and recognise the importance of safe SEO strategies that comply with Googleâ€™sÂ Panda,Â HummingbirdÂ andÂ PenguinÂ updates. If you donâ€™t, Google WILL punish you!
Content should NOT be written purely for SEO, but some consideration of it is vital
Before you end up focusing all of your time on it, remember, SEO is just one part of the picture and at the end of the day, far more importance is placed on creating content for actual people, as opposed to just search engines.
However, since theÂ Penguin update of April 2013, content marketing has become a big focus for SEOs. Simply, by creating high quality content, you will attract high quality traffic, and people will build links to your website, which will send you climbing up the search rankings. The funny thing is, a lot of PRs donâ€™t even realise they are using SEO tactics! This is because PR and SEO cross over and already are entwined together.
You canâ€™t build links without content to point them to, and now, with the likes of regular blogging, uploading video, regular online media coverage, content has become the glue that binds search engine optimisation and public relations together.
Of course when we talk PR and SEO we are talking organic SEO. Paid for (and PPC SEO) â€“ now that is a whole new ball gameâ€¦ Google AdWords Pay Per Click (PPC) can be a quick, cost-effective alternative to generating website traffic that is a role sometimes undertaken by PRs and SEOs, but all depends on the situation, goals and of course, budget. PPC can be used to attract attention to specific news items, stories and content that is likely to be passed along once people get a chance to see it. However, PPC ads on your website can damage the rating Google Panda gives your site, so think carefully.
The days of throwing keywords in to a blog post are coming to an end
With more thanÂ 80%Â (B2B Social Media Guide) of internet users using search andÂ 75%Â (Hubspot) of users never even scrolling past the first search results page, itâ€™s vital to get your content right and aim high in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
If you are able to build a reputation online for quality content and a strong social presence, people may just start linking to you over time. Here are a few pointers on getting quality content:
- Use current affairs to your advantage: Current affairs can be ideal to latch on to. They may not relate completely to your business or client, but they can help to meet your objectives. Try to make them slightly related though!
- Measure:Â Keep track of everything youâ€™re doing. If you get an influx of traffic when something is published through a particular media outlet, make note of it. You can use annotations on Google Analytics to note the referral when you see spikes.
- Make it interesting:Â Nobody wants to see the same things theyâ€™ve seen loads of times. Make sure your ideas are original and youâ€™ll see a fantastic response.
- PR coverage enhances SEO:Â The most powerful form of SEO â€“ genuine, hard earned media appearances in reputable publications
- Customer reviews are increasingly a part and parcel of your PR:Â Google loves it when you get a good review, and itâ€™s completely acceptable to encourage your happy customers to share their (positive) thoughts on the likes of Yelp etc.
- Social media, you canâ€™t live without it:Â If you havenâ€™t already got started on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+, then get moving! The valuable information you post should be designated with hashtag search terms that will make it readily findable and useful for the prospective customers you are hoping to win. Social media is an important way to gain incoming links, based on organic interest in your website andÂ Googleâ€™s Panda PatentÂ makes it clear that brand mentions will become more of a signal in the future.