The 15 Steps To ‘Power SEO’ (PR Is The New SEO)
The following piece originally appeared in my regular column at Forbes.com:
I particularly enjoyed Jayson DeMers’ article on the 3 pillars of SEO in 2013 – and I especially add my vote of emphasis to his pillar #3 – Making Friends, Engaging and Sharing Content.
In fact, I would go so far as to maintain that public relations, in the form of quality content, is the New SEO. And I’m increasingly less alone in this idea and goal. But for the sake of discussion, if we can accept at least in philosophy that PR is increasingly becoming SEO’s strongest vehicle and anchor, how can companies take best advantage of PR’s SEO role?
Here are my ideas (with help from a couple of resident experts) for the 15 Steps to Power SEO. Here we go:
1. Set up Google+ authorship
Jayson points out the growing importance of Google+ in your SEO stronghold as well. Why? Because Google’s search algorithm favors, understandably, the network it owns: Google+. Take advantage of that fact. Create a profile. Take the time to build and support an audience there. In particular, if you are involved in thought leadership and authorship in your area of expertise (as you should be), link your publications and your site to your Google+ profile. There are many great online resources that can show you how to create a Google+ author tag to attach to your posts and writing. Here’s just one. Next, publish quality content. This is not self or company promotion. Put the tag at the end of each of your pieces, to clue Google in to pick it up and aggregate it within your search results and automatically compile the results for you within the authorship portion of your Google+ page. It’s easy, but will yield high SEO rewards.
2. Get credible PR coverage (with back links when possible)
How do you define ‘credible’ PR coverage? In a couple of ways: The information is relevant, true, and non promotional. It appears in a credible location. It’s not “what you want to have heard.” It’s what you’d tell your best friend, person to person, if they wanted a real and unvarnished look at a viable idea or solution. Coverage can come from you or from a customer who is willing to tell a meaningful and genuine story that would benefit others (not a testimonial). The opinion of a respected columnist or expert is generally accurate and credible coverage. Is a guest blog post credible? Maybe–or maybe not. Think about the compelling value and the “a-ha’s” a guest post you write may provide for the audience you serve. Also remember that the coverage (with linkage) from strong media within the right targeted audience niche can potentially bear far more relevant SEO traffic than thousands of links from a general source filled with people who don’t know how or why they were directed to your site and who have no conscious desire or reason for being there. Think quality over quantity when you decide where to invest your “earned media” work.
3. Define a thought leadership campaign
Think about providing relevant information that serves your readers. Create a publishing schedule. Develop the content that serves your marketplace with an eye toward keyword and topic research. Develop an editorial calendar of the right content from you and others to serve your audience well. Then, as you write, be certain to write with a purpose. And no, the purpose in most cases will not be to become more visible and famous. It will be to become more visionary, more purposeful, and more trusted in the audience segment that can benefit from hearing and from engaging with the material you share.
4. Make your material compelling.
Choose strong titles, topics, and images. Brainstorm with customers and ask your readers for suggestions about the topics that are most relevant and interesting to them.
To continue reading please visit my column at Forbes.com.