Lee Odden

TopRank Down Under with SEO, PR and Reputation Management

SunRise at 35,000 ft
Susan and I made it to Sydney, Australia early this morning and go to watch the sun rise over Eastern Australia during the descent. After a few hours getting through customs, then getting our bags x-rayed on the way out and then getting checked again to get into a line to get to the exit of the airport, we made it outside for the line to the taxis. It might have been a lot of hurry up and wait, but we were just thankful to be outside in the fresh air.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a presentation on SEO and Public Relations. The buzz about SEO and PR has been strong the past few years, especially with Greg Jarboe, Jamie O’Donnel, Sally Falkow, Amanda Watlington and many others including TopRank making significant headway into developing new strategies and tactics for clients.

Interestingly, with the time I’ve been spending with PR people lately, there are some in the public relations field who say, “Search is the new PR”. And on the other hand, there are people in search marketing who I’ve recently been hearing say the future of SEO is in public relations. An interesting combination, the two, because they work so well together. I guess that’s why we have had both a SEO and a PR firm since 2001. 🙂

The agenda from my presentation includes:

  • Media and Consumer Trends
  • Push and Pull PR
  • PR Content Optimization
  • Online Reputation Management

Consumers are continuing to migrate away from mainstream media towards online news, blogs and social media. Journalists are being asked to do much more with less, especially since there’s been so much thinning of the heard due to ad dollars moving online. Media professionals are increasingly using tools such as RSS to track story ideas, look for subject matter experts and to track both companies and industry sectors that are part of their beat.

These shifts in media and consumer trends provides marketers an opportunity to make sure their clients are visible where consumers and members of the media are looking. Enter the notion of Push and Pull PR.

Traditionally, public and media relations practitioners would “push” their story ideas to the media via press releases, through pitching via email and phone as well as through networking and relationship building. With shifts in media consumption and journalists behavior in finding stories and resources, PR practitioners have begun implementing search engine optimization principles in order to make it easier for those audiences to “pull” themselves to the message.

Anything that can get indexed and ranked can be optimized. Which leads to the question, “What kind of PR content should be optimized?”. In my presentation, I’ll give the same two examples that I gave at the Bulldog Reporter presentation on Friday: Press Releases and Online Media Rooms, particularly blog-powered media rooms.

Optimizing press releases involves many of the same steps you would follow in optimizing a web page. Research keywords, optimize for 1-3 keyword phrases per release, include anchor text links and at least full http://www urls. Embed images, audio and video if available and with the kinds of press releases that have a strong call to action and desired outcome, use landing pages. Measure results from the release including: impressions, incoming links and pickups, referring traffic and if appropriate, conversions.

Blog powered media rooms differ than regular online media rooms in that they offer and RSS feed and content is archived both chronilogically and by category. Using keywords to define categories as well as in the blog post titles goes a long way in making online media room content search engine friendly. There are a host of other benefts, so you’ll just have to get down to Australia to hear them. 🙂

The 30-40 minute presentation will wind up with a few thoughts on the topic of online reputation management. Like many attempts by search marketers at “PR”, most fall short with reputation management efforts by only treating the symptoms. That is, they focus on optimizing existing content and creating new sources of content to displace negative comments showing in the search results and that’s it. Most of the time, this effort is focused on queries for a company or brand name. Who can blame them for being concerned? Some companies but a huge percentage of their marketing budget into branding and/or have worked hard for many, many years to build their brand. They want to protect it and at the same time, underestimate the reach of well connected bloggers.

The problem with limiting efforts to optimizing for control over search results, is only treating the symptom. It’s not a cure. Besides, no one controls the search results except the search engines. Treating the cure has to do with a strategy of monitoring and engaging with dissenting voices about your brand. Again, get your rear in a plane and get on down here to Darling Harbour where we’ll be digging deeper into “the cure” with reputation management along with a few of the tools that have worked best for us.

I’m looking forward to the conference and if you’re attending, be sure to say hello. On Tuesday night there’s a meetup of Sydney bloggers that I’ll be checking out, so if you don’t attend the Search Engine Room event, be sure to say hello there.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.