5 ways communicators can bolster SEO

Backlinks and referrals are essential to enhancing search engine optimization for your organization and its products or services. Try these tactics to boost your brand’s online visibility.

In addition to building awareness of a company’ products and services and enhancing its reputation, PR can also boost search engine optimization.

As search marketing is now an essential PR and marketing element for any business, SEO can increase your search engine ranking and drive more traffic to your website. It can also improve the quality of that traffic.

SEO does not provide immediate results, so do not expect changes overnight; it is a long-term investment. By following these tips, you can begin your SEO journey to enhance your rankings and boost your brand’s online visibility:

1. Top-tier backlinks

A surefire way to increase your opportunity to rank for a handful of keywords is through gaining backlinks from other websites to relevant pages on your site. Search engines like Google and Bing view backlinks from third parties as a vote of confidence to your web content and brand. They provide “SEO weight.”

Be aware that backlinks from low-quality websites no longer fool the search engines and don’t improve search rankings. Your backlinks should come from high-quality editorial websites that are relevant to your brand and target audience.

Obtaining high-quality backlinks increases search engine rankings for your chosen keywords. To get those backlinks, the authority of your website matters, but also your content must be well written and cover a topic relevant to the linking site’s audience.

2. Brand association

One technique to gain additional SEO is associating a small brand with a better-known brand.

A example of an effective health care brand association is the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. When people think of the NHS, they think of hospitals, walk-in centers and treatments for illnesses. The NHS ranks well for search queries related to illnesses, symptoms and treatments, because the NHS website has abundant content relating to a range of health issues. It also helps readers with links to information on its social media accounts.

Searchers often will search for “National Health Service” and “Disease Name” or “Treatment.” A smaller company can therefore gain SEO by including those terms in a page on their website or in media placements. The content should be substantive and should include, preferably in the first paragraph, a sentence such as “The National Health Service” includes “Name of Product” as approved treatment for “Name of Disease.”

Another example from a different industry: “Name of Product” was shown on gowns designed by “Name of Fashion Designer” the “Name of Fashion Show” such as “New York Fashion Week.”

Search engines will begin to associate your brand with the other organizations or names. When your search results appear, consumers might head directly to your website to research general information about your products and services.

3. Third-party referral traffic

If a user searches for a product or service you provide but doesn’t include the brand in the query, you’re more likely to rank higher in search results if you have lots of backlinks and solid content containing the search terms. The most powerful of these backlinks are obtained from earned media placements.

Placements in highly visible media outlets helps the public associate your brand with another more familiar and respected organization or product. This will then drive more traffic to your site and provide more lead generation from customers who were not previously aware of your brand.

There’s no guarantee you’ll always rank for your chosen keywords, especially when they’re highly competitive.

You can instead use PR to place guest posts on websites that are industry-specific and have authority. The websites should also focus on the particular product or service you provide. As the websites have a higher authority, they’re more likely to rank for these keywords. This will then drive traffic to your site via their domain.

Use Google Trends or other sites that provide similar service to track the lists of terms becoming increasingly popular. It can also suggest similar keywords that may not be as competitive but are still relevant to your business.

4. Emerging keywords

When products or services are created, new terminology is created along with it. Use PR to spread awareness of this new vocabulary. People will soon connect your brand with those terms.

Then, when users type the terms into a search engine, you’ll have a far greater chance of ranking highly, as no other brands will be trying to rank for those keywords.

5. Previous PR reclamation

Use a search engine to look for other sites that have mentioned your brand but haven’t inserted a backlink.

You can reach out to these websites via email, social media, telephone or even their “contact us” form on their site. Kindly ask for a backlink to a relevant page on your site. If the post is published by a specific author, you can contact them directly.

Jo Spink is  the founder of Spink Healthcare Communications Agency.  

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