For those readers just joining us, this is post #8 in a series of 10 on the intersection of search engine optimization and public relations, “Top Ten SEO Tips for PR Professionals“.
Besides content optimization and making sure a site’s news pages and digital assets can be found and indexed, attracting relevant inbound links is the next most important tactic for improving search engine performance of Public Relations related content.
There are literally hundreds of ways to acquire good links. There are even more ways to acquire bad links, so knowing the difference can be important. Read more about that below. But first, we’ll describe some general guidelines for news content link building.
Whenever PR professionals execute digital communications, there should be links included in those messages. The best content in the world is unlikely to rank well in search engines if there are no links pointing in. It is essential that link sources (whoever you’re pitching stories to) are informed about the content so they know to link to it. Don’t just broadcast links either, give a reason why there should be a link and make it easy to do so.
News content creation, optimization and ongoing promotion are all critical for successful SEO efforts. Promoting optimized content makes potential link sources aware and increases the likelhood of link acquisition for news content. Where should you include links? Start with emails pitches, press releases, newsrooms and any other news content being published to the web.
Including full URL links in press releases can often result in an added bonus for link bulding efforts because some content management systems that copy press releases as content from newswire feeds will convert full URLs to a hyper link, but ignore or strip out anchor text links. Making it easy for readers of news content on blogs, newsrooms or elsewhere on the company web site to save, bookmark and share can also add to the link building effort.
General linking guidelines for news content:
- Earn links with great content
- Promote optimized news content on social networks, vial email, RSS and within past media coverage
- Link up with marketing and business partners
- Include links in pitches and other news content promotion
- Cross link internally
- Embed anchor text and full URL links in news releases
- Social bookmark pickups
Many online mainstream news publications do not link out, but some do and blogs associated with online publications tend to be a little more liberal about outbound links. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of knowing to ask. When a media relations effort results in confirmation that a company, product or spokesperson will be included in a story, be sure to ask if the journalist would link to a helpful resource on the company site. Don’t just ask for the link, but provide something useful to link to. Many times a simple request and having a useful resource can result in the highest quality links you could ask for.
When promoting news content on social media sites (we’ll be covering SEO, PR and Social Media in our next post) it’s important that you’re sharing news content and that it offers unique and/or distinct value. Submitting press releases to social news sites for example, is rarely going to be productive as a way to attract positive attention within the social community. Social communities tend to distrust formal marketing communications. They do respond well to creative, clever and useful ways to communicate information and ideas that are not formal or overtly trying to “sell” something.
Have you found useful ways of attracting links to news content such as press releases, newsrooms and corporate communications?
We’re in the home stretch of our series on Public Relations and SEO. Next up is post #9 of 10: “SEO and Social Media Promotions with News Content“.