How to Bolster SEO Through Earned Media

The days of keyword stuffing and other over-optimization schemes are over. Through a series of algorithm updates and stiff ranking penalties for violators, Google has stomped out those old search engine optimization (SEO) gambits while boosting the value of “vanilla” optimization practices focused on creating quality content and earning links on external, reputable websites. These changes have further blurred the line between public relations and digital marketing. Considering the enormous SEO value of links back from prominent media sites, every business should adopt the following strategies when engaging the media in order to help bolster search rankings.

Include Links in the Pitch

There are two reasons why the company name should be hyperlinked in media pitches. First of all, many reporters do not have time to read blocks of company background information copied and pasted from the website. A hyperlink to the site allows them to conveniently access that information if necessary. Secondly, if coverage is earned, the reporter is more likely to include the hyperlinked company name in the article if it was hyperlinked in the pitch, providing a powerful SEO boost. References to blog posts, videos or other owned media should also be hyperlinked in the pitch to improve the chances that a link will be included in the article.

Ask When Appropriate

In some instances, it is OK to ask a reporter to include a link in the story. If the story focuses on a specific blog, website or content on the site, it is proper to ask that the link be included. It is also acceptable to request a link if it can replace a large block of text (ex. background information on a product). It is not appropriate to ask a reporter to include a link for the sake of driving traffic to your site. They are not your publicist; their job is to deliver news to their audience. Essentially, a person should only ask a reporter to include a link in the story if it can add value to the story.

Include Links in Contributed Content

Contributing an article to a blog or news site with a high page rank is a terrific opportunity to build SEO value through quality links back to a site or specific content on the site. These links should add value to the submission, as excessive links could irk the editor. LinkedIn’s publishing platform creates another powerful opportunity to boost page rank. Google places an amazing amount of trust in LinkedIn, so links back from self-published posts on the platform can quickly add credibility to a domain.

Building page rank does not happen overnight, so it is important for businesses to employ the above practices as soon as possible to stay competitive with others vying for the same Google real estate. Tired SEO tricks are no longer effective, so be skeptical of anyone claiming to be smarter than Google – they’re not. It takes a healthy blend of public relations and digital relations to build the brand and domain credibility needed to climb the Google ladder.

This post was originally published in Brian’s LinkedIn blog.

Brian Hart is the founder and president of Flackable, LLC, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com.