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PR + Google Vs SEO

23rd January 2014

The line where PR ends and SEO begins is hard to define as many of the skills required in both areas are interchangeable. As Joanna Jeske SEO manager from PR agency Threepipe, says: “PROs have always excelled at creating informative, valuable and enjoyable content, but as the world of business continues to become more and more digitally focused, it’s becoming even more important that brands are considering how their audience are finding and engaging with them online. That’s where SEO comes in.”

The problem is that SEO is not an exact science, especially as Google constantly changes and updates the rules on which techniques are acceptable for improving rankings. However, Jeske says: “The most important thing to remember is that Google is always striving to benefit the user. This is evident with the latest Hummingbird update, which allows Google to go one step further than just answering people’s questions with isolated search results and actually aims to understand the intent behind their search query and predict what they might search for next based on their previous behaviour.”

The key to optimising search rankings is always to produce excellent content. Jeske advises: “Your content strategy ultimately must focus on understanding your users’ behaviour and meeting their expectations. Rather than presenting your audience with superficial, one-off pieces of content that simply contain relevant keywords without actually providing anything valuable, you need to think about how you can create genuinely useful content that naturally links together and allows your audience to navigate through your website in a logical way.”

“Including natural keywords, building high-quality links to your website and developing effective social media campaigns all still play a necessary part in improving search engine rankings and brand visibility online, but it is vital that you now think of how these elements all combine and benefit the user overall rather than as individual strategies.”

To see a short film explaining the importance of optimising video content for SEO, see below:

Another SEO expert who emphasises the power of creative content is Danny Whatmough, associate director digital at PR firm Ketchum. He says: “The days when a press release adorned with links would get cut-through are gone. In many ways SEO is even more approachable now than it has ever been. If you create great content that is meaningful to your community, then you are more than halfway there.

“After various algorithm updates over the last few years, the world of SEO has turned in the favour of PROs (some would say it always was). Now SEO is all about quality over quantity and getting earned and shared reach for your content. As part of its mission to ‘organise the world’s information‘, Google is paying particular attention to social signals to help it rank content in search results.”

SEO top tips

Whatmough offers these three must-dos:

Alex MacLaverty, UK Group MD at PR agency Hotwire, adds these three pieces of advice:

Written by Daney Parker

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