Popular indicators of measuring PR agency effectiveness – reach and Advertising Value Equivalent – treat the Internet as if it was a newspaper that, if read goes to the shelf, and disappears from newsstands the next day. In fact, the publication, once it has been posted online, will be read for years. When, with the help of good SEO and PR, it hits the first page of search results, it will generate leads, support advertising campaigns, and authenticate the business in the eyes of potential customers.
As much as 88 percent people who enter the name of a local business into Google contact them by phone or turn up on site within 24 hours – according to Google Mobile Movement Study. In turn, Microsoft’s research a decade ago revealed that users remember the names of companies suggested by the search engine – the better the higher they appeared in the results.
Google is widely regarded as a guarantor of credibility. Thanks to the search engine we know that the company exists, has a website, telephone number, office, satisfied customers, and maybe even arouses interest of the media.
What does this mean for brands? The main phrase that will be entered into the search engine will naturally be the name of the company or brand under which it operates. That is why it is worth ensuring trustworthy results. A good example is the search engine results for the ZaadoptujFaceta app (client of Profeina for 4 years).
The first item belongs to the company website, the next two are publications resulting from PR activities. The person who enters the phrase “Zaadoptujfaceta” in Google search engine immediately after seeing the TV ad for this dating application, will make sure that it is worth to give it a chance.
SEO PR, or the link building method
Placing your own page at the top of search results is primarily a task for an internal team or SEO agency (though not only them, which we will talk about in a moment). Their work is largely based on optimizing content of their own site, so that the search engine indexes them as matching specific keywords. So they focus on activities on websites whose content they can moderate.
Every year, there are plenty of guides for beginner SEO specialists explaining what it’s all about and how to create SEO content. The fact that new ones are constantly emerging stems from the fact that Google’s algorithm changes regularly and effective techniques need to be learned again.
What has remained unchanged for almost 20 years is the other side of the SEO puzzle – links. Google has always rewarded – and does not intend to stop – situations when other sites, independent from us, refer their readers to our site. The more external services do it, the better. And the better positioned portal puts an active dofollow link (that is, which Google crawlers “see”) to us, the greater the chance that our site will go up in search results. News portals attracting thousands or even millions of users monthly are considered one of the “strongest” sites.
Many websites are interested in working with brands in the field of content creation as long as they are not strictly advertising. When a company is able to provide factual data – e.g. a report on the situation in its industry – a PR agency acting on its behalf is able to arrange publications based on them in the media interested in the subject.
In some situations – e.g.when we provide journalists with data not available elsewhere – you can (and actually have to) fight to ensure that the articles describing the brand also include a link to its website. Successes in this field will not replace typical positioning activities completely, but they can neatly complement them.
SEO PR, i.e. building brand credibility
An SEO agency is usually involved in operating on a list of keywords that has already been defined, including brand name – though positioning here is usually easy as long as you don’t make a mistake in choosing the name itself.
The brand name should not only be consistent with the communication strategy, but also take into account the fact that “people will be googling it.” Ideally, therefore, if it was easy to type after hearing it (especially when using foreign-language associations), easy to remember, and at the same time quite unique. It is worth checking from the beginning whether there is anything else in the world that operates under a similar name. If the name of a popular person, movie, place or song is identical, it will probably be difficult to pass them in the search results at first.
The brand name is just the starting point. It is usually accompanied by additional phrases that help identify it. In the case of technology companies, it is quite likely that their potential customers will search for “name + application” “name + system”, adding these phrases to the standard query package (“name + prices”, “name + reviews”).
In the case of a new entity, external publications authenticate the service itself in the eyes of potential customers, who often google the company before using its services. Keyword “SMEO factoring”, apart from advertisements and the company page, the first page of results includes almost exclusively publications about SMEO – a factoring company – arranged by Profeina PR agency.
What is important, information about a given product posted on its own website is not one hundred percent reliable for many users – due to the lack of objectivity of its author. It is different if a reputable medium speaks positively about the brand and the publication gives the impression of being reliable. For these reasons, companies should ensure that, in addition to their own content, independent publications appear at the forefront of search results.
It is a mistake to fully focus on pushing your homepage, blog or landing pages to the top of the results and ignore the weight of results referring to external sources. We don’t have the ability to edit content across the internet, but we can provide important media with information that will inspire their journalists to write about us. These websites are usually rated by the search engine as “strong”, so articles placed on them are easier to be indexed in high positions.
We used this rule while working on the communication of the “Checkers” mobile application. We were able to interest the Business Insider editors in the story of their success. The article published by the magazine appears first in the results after entering “Checkers for Android”, and the content includes a link to download the application.
SEO PR or positioning in contexts
Positioning the name alone is not everything. First of all because, as Google itself informs, up to 15 percent of queries are phrases that have never appeared before. Secondly, we like to type simple terms into the search engine – the more general the phrase, the more people search for it and the more competition on the first page of results.
One way to find a solution for this situation is to find a niche and at the same time quite popular area for the brand and positioning in it – both in the context of SEO and in the broader sense of the word. An example of such an approach could be Enterie network in terms of the phrase “PR for tech”.
The task that every person dealing with PR and communication has to face is to choose the contexts in which the brand should appear. Regardless of whether we operate according to a well-thought-out strategy or whether we rely on intuition, there are two starting points defining the scope of topics discussed:
- The company’s point of view – aspects of its own business that it would like to show and highlight.
- Media perspective – stories that journalists want to tell.
When looking for an area where both approaches could meet, it is worth remembering that there is also a third point of view – the perspective of customers and readers. Both companies and the media should match their interests. A very good tool for learning about them is the analysis of the popularity of phrases entered into the search engine.
As a communication agency supporting the content production of their clients – e.g. by creating company blogs – we look for inspiration for topics in the lists of popular keywords related to a given industry. A good strategy is to focus not only on “timeless” hits, where competition is usually strong, and search for terms that are just becoming popular. Special tools, such as Buzzsumo or Google Trends, can be used for this.
If you want to distribute your own materials to online media, remember that their editors have been doing this for a long time. Many websites base their business model on SEO and page views obtained from search engine entries. Leading high-reach portals usually have their own sets of popular phrases that they would like to find. Therefore, they will be more willing to accept thematically related content (even with the commercial brand located in it) that could help them in positioning.
This works especially in the case of seasonal topics, when websites do not have a large package of their own content. An example would be the “season” of First Communions and related preparations. Parents usually become active it the web a few weeks before May “season” for Holy Communion parties, looking for suggestions on how to organize them. It was used by the creators of the Briefly website – helping the organization of seasonal and company events – who prepared the complete guide on communion receptions in advance (in September 2017). Thanks to the good positioning of the guide, in April 2018 a researcher from one of the breakfast TV shows found the text looking for information on how much the communion party costs. This resulted in the invitation of the website creators to the morning live program, which in turn further increased interest in the website.
A year later, on behalf of the Briefly website, we prepared press releases and infographics on the costs of First Communion parties in various regions of Poland. The information was so unique and valuable that most editorial staff not only used our press materials, but also added dofollow links to the information source.
PR agencies know the contexts the wants to write about. If the large, reliable media write about your company, it will affect your position in the search results. And I think we don’t need to repeat that Google is the largest source of Internet traffic.
Grzegorz Dziegielewski – Communication expert at Profeina. Nobody knows how, but he shoots out texts like a machine gun. In his free time he travels and writes reports.