In today's Internet-charged business environment, it's not enough to be good at PR.
PR professionals also need to be good at SEO.
As a business leader, it's your responsibility to make sure your PR advisors are up to speed on SEO. If their SEO skills are lacking, your PR strategy won't fire on all its cylinders and your company will miss out on cost-efficient opportunities to maximize your online visibility.
You don't necessarily need a SEO expert to guide your PR strategy. But at a minimum, you want to make sure your PR professionals know about the following SEO characteristics and how they relate to effective PR.
- Keyword and key phrase development. The development of keywords and key phrases is at the heart of SEO. Incidentally, the creation of targeted phrasing is also a useful PR task – whether you plan on integrating your SEO and PR functions or not. Develop a list of strategic keywords or key phrases that reinforce critical PR messaging and direct search engines to your company's online assets.
- Optimized PR content. Once your PR professional has helped you develop a list of targeted keywords and key phrases, the next step is to integrate those phrases into your PR content. Press releases, white papers, interviews, contributed articles–everything counts. By including strategic keywords in both your online and off-line PR content you make it more visible to search engines.
- Back links. Back links (links on other websites that direct users to your website or content) are significant factors in search engine rankings. Cultivating a broad field of back links is an art in itself. Even so, it's important for your PR professional to understand the importance of back links and how they can be used as both a SEO and PR tool.
- Keyword density. One of the amateur SEO mistakes is to become fixated with keyword density. Keyword density is the percentage of keywords that are contained within a website or online document. Although keyword density affects search engine rankings it's impossible to achieve a "magic formula". If your keyword appears between two and four times in a 500 word press release, you'll probably be fine.
- Readability first. Your PR content's first job is to provide information about your company and your products. If it fails to do that, nothing else you do really matters. SEO is great – as long as readability and PR content are your PR professional's first priorities.