Leverage PR and SEO to your digital marketing strategy

Running a business in 2021 requires a lot more alignment of strategy than in years past. Many companies are recovering from the pandemic and are in need of strategies that create revenue. One of our main drivers for revenue at Driond has been owning areas of our digital landscape through good PR and SEO.

Understanding how PR ties into the new digital world of business will keep your brand flying high. In fact, knowing what people are saying about your business and how to manage your image will help you avoid being a part of the 90% of startups that end up falling short of the mark. 

This article will provide some tips so you can own your digital landscape through the implementation of an effective SEO PR strategy. You can also watch the webinar on how to own your industry through great PR and SEO for more tips.

PR is much different today than it was even 10 years ago. Much of PR management now involves directing how your brand is viewed across the web. This includes all written content, not just the press releases you can control. 

SEO will put you in the driver’s seat of your digital public relations strategy. With proper crosslinking and keywords, you can move high-quality articles and web pages to the top of online searches.

If you can get your brand to rank high on competitive keywords, you’ll establish a reputation as a trusted leader in your industry. For example, my speaking career took off when people started typing in keywords around speaking and this sales speaker article kept coming up. 

Sometimes people get hung up on only getting their own site to rank, but it’s also good to own things in the industry that are offsite. It helped my brand stand out by naturally showing up when people were educating themselves. That’s precisely why SEO PR matters.

Thought leadership can be described as the content that places you or your brand in a trusted or influential position in your industry. Establishing your image in this way provides a long-term platform upon which to continue to build your business. In fact, a 2018 survey found that 55% of respondents looked at thought leadership as a way to gauge an organization they were considering doing business with. 

An excellent example of thought leadership is Gary Vaynerchuk. Most people know him as a public speaker and social media influencer who talks about all things entrepreneurial. Behind the scenes, he’s operating incredibly successful businesses powered by his personal brand. 

You don’t have to spend all your time trying to become an internet icon in order to pull off thought leadership. Rather, focus some efforts on developing content that positions you and your brand as leaders in your industry. You can do this through social content, bylined articles in publications, and speaking opportunities, such as being a guest on a podcast or a small business panel.

As an entrepreneur, you’re well aware of how difficult it can be to wear many hats. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to hire a digital PR firm to help you out. Public relations can be stressful, especially if you feel out of your comfort zone. Trained, experienced professionals can turn your PR goals into reality without adding anything else to your plate. 

When choosing a PR firm to work with, focus your attention on groups that understand the digital space and have a working knowledge of SEO PR practices. This way you know that your PR strategy will be focused across the web, not on efforts with limited scope. 

One of the PR firms I advise is Relevance and they are very big on doing a CAS (Content Alignment Strategy) for clients. Years after I sold my last company, several firms approached me to advise. One of the reasons why I choose them is their commitment to owning industries for clients through a balance of thought leadership, SEO, and PR. If a PR firm doesn’t seem to align these things, I would keep looking for another firm. 

One of the best ways to boost your SEO PR is through sourced content. This is a content strategy that uses third-party publications to post brand mentions through articles on other sites. Sure, your blog will rave about your new products all day long, but you gain more authority when your audience members see similar claims on multiple web pages. 

For example, let’s say you want to get the news out about a successful round of funding your company just had. You should certainly post this to your own company page, but why stop there? 

Landing the news in top publications in your space will reach an entirely new audience wanting to learn more about your up-and-coming business. Additionally, publications are frequently looking for new content and will jump at the opportunity to cover a good story. 

A content alignment strategy will help you bring together everything we’ve talked about so far. SEO thought leadership, and PR work the best hand in hand instead of as separate campaigns.

There are plenty of digital tools available to help you get started. Semrush, for example, has all the tools you need to learn and master SEO strategies and put them into practice. They also offer brand monitoring so you can see what people are saying about your business. MuckRack, on the other hand, is PR and media relations software that helps you find media connections and publish content in the right places.

There are several other options you can find and use. What’s important is having the right resources to make your PR vision a reality.

Seo Case Study

My name is John Schick, and I run 1CS, an IT Services Company based in Toronto, Canada. We help small and medium sized business manage their information technology infrastructure by providing consulting, services and support. 1CS was founded in 2013 and the first thing we did was get a website. A website is a valuable resource for any business but especially for new local businesses.

I personally created content for the website and a limited number of things I knew how to do. Over time I made changes to the content including changes to page titles, descriptions and images. While some progress was made over the years, we were not ranking well for anything other than our company name. Sure, our home page and other pages were indexed but contacts from the website were few and far between. We then created other pages to boost our rankings and get more traffic to the site, but we got the same result as before. For a while I did not know what to do about my website. I wanted traffic to increase but I didn’t know how to do it unless I hired a big marketing company or spent tons of money on ads.

Managing the website with the assistance of an experienced webmaster, a colleague, I would ask him about SEO and the things to do to get more people to my site. I would ask him about offerings I received by email or otherwise which promised to get my website to the 1st page on Google. These offers were tempting, and I was close to going forward with one until I consulted with my colleague who strongly recommended that I don’t move forward with any of these offers. He said that these kinds of offers are often backed by black hat tactics and shady tricks which could lead to a manual action or other form of search engine black list. Search engines don’t like when a website circumvents their algorithm or uses practices which are frowned upon. In fact, they levy penalties against your domain if you get caught. My colleague said the way to get more people to my website was to have really good content.

I tried creating better content, but it often turned into more content instead of better. My website would get a bounce from the new content but with little noticeable residual effect. I found myself creating content each time I wanted a boost in rankings. Eventually I ran-out of content ideas and time so I stayed away from creating new content for a while, sort of losing faith in the whole process. Worked on marketing my IT Services Company in other ways and expanded the website to include some internal and customer related functions. Every so often I would look at my website stats in Google Analytics, viewing the number of visitors, the pages people were going to and the source of the traffic. There was some positive news from time to time, but website traffic generally stayed stagnant apart from bot results which I came to learn about. I felt frustrated, that I didn’t know where to go or what to do.

In the summer of 2018, I got an interesting call from my colleague who said he wanted to meet with me and that he has what I have been looking for. I responded with the usual “what do you mean”. He said, “don’t worry”, just come to my place at 2pm. On the car ride there I kept thinking he wanted to show me some work-around or newly found CSS which would achieve one of the customizations I put him up to! When I got there, I expected him to show it to me however instead he opened his laptop and showed me an application I had not seen before. “This is what I want to show you” he proclaimed. He said it was a search engine management tool, one that can optimize a website and that he had already been using it.

This was a lot to take in. He explained that this software is not a scam, it simply shows you how to create a higher quality website. There are no tricks to this, it just takes a lot of time. The first thing he showed me was the Website Audit, which when run for a particular domain, results in a report showing the health of the website, detects and prioritizes errors, unsecure content, hreflang inaccuracies and more. The statistics yielded form this one report provided to be valuable to me because I had unsecured content on my website which was negatively effecting traffic. It was the first thing my colleague fixed.

More specifically, the Website Audit provides an overall score which considers factors such as pages with low speed, 4XX status codes, broken links, pages which were not or cannot be crawled, missing title tags, duplicate title tags, duplicate content, keyword stuffing, broken images, missing or duplicate meta descriptions, robots.txt format errors, sitemap.xml sitemap errors, WWW resolve issues, viewport tags, canonical tags, hreflang value errors, non secure pages, expired certificates, mixed content issues, redirect issues, broken internal java script and CSS, too many on page links, missing alt attributes and more.

While I won’t tell you about every statistic or report which this incredible seo resource can produce, I will mention the organic position tracking report, my personal favourite. This report shows your ranking in Google or another search engine, if that’s what you want, for a chosen keyword. It also shows other ranking factors such as if you are on Google Maps or in a snippet. The report summarizes other statics for the reader including how many keywords the website has in the top 3, 10, 20, 100 results and changes to the overall visibility of your site, all since the last time the report was run.

The organic position tracking report aka SERP report, can also be run with your competitor’s side by side so you can see how well your competitors are ranking for each of your chosen keywords. Seeing these statistics side by side without having to navigate between different documents is really-helpful to those who want good research in an efficient way. Reports are produced in PDF but some may be exported to excel allowing you to manipulate the data further. I could go on.

We started out by selecting 20 keywords and 20 competitor URL’s. You see, Google ranks your website given the search phrase or keyword being searched. So, the keywords I chose were the search terms I thought people were putting into Google to find my website. After a few weeks, we realized the application was telling us that there were a different set of keywords which people were using to find my website. This was an important part of the process. Same with the competitor URL’s, those had to be changed too, after the software showed us why. Getting your keywords and competitors done right is important to this process and this application can guide us along. 

I then began receiving reports by email and getting consultations, reports were sent to me on a weekly basis and consultations were monthly, while my colleague carried out the actions recommended by the Audit report. I noticed an immediate bump in traffic just from him carrying out the tasks within the one report. As I mentioned before, I was losing traffic due to content security issues which I did not know about until my colleague purchased and got trained in this incredible seo resource. Https was invalid on some pages and this caused problems.

In the second month after deploying this incredible SEO resource, I was asked to place certain content onto specific pages of my website. The content suggestions come from the application’s on-page checker. The checker looks at your content, one web page at a time, compares it to third-party web pages which are ranking better than yours, and results in some suggested content that those third-party web pages have which yours does not.

Once we got the right keywords and created new content based on the reports, I started to see a second uptick in rankings (the first uptick in rankings came from fixing the Website Audit report issues). It was slight at the beginning but grew over time with recurring updates to content. My colleague usually carries out content updates and other fixes for his clients but in my case, I made some of the updates to content myself and gained a great deal of insight into this tool.

After a few months of reading the reports, working with my colleague and taking actions based on the reports, my website rankings are up about 25%, and someone seems to submit our website contact form almost every day. At present I have 2 keywords in the number one slot and another one on Google maps. In the process of optimizing my website, I learned how to use this SEO tool and the information on the reports to create high quality content. More than that I discovered its guiding principles. This is what I always wanted, a direction to go in. I have learned so much about SEO from this application, some which I can implement without have it open. I have had a good time over the past months working with my colleague and creating results, so much so that we have decided to go into business together doing what we did for my website, for others.  This venture of ours is called SeoDorks, Welcome to our website. To do for your website what we did for mine, click here.

John Schick

SeoDorks, Principal