Jolina Pettice

PRSA09: Top 10 SEO Tips for Public Relations

Lee Odden Today at the PRSA 09 conference, it was a packed room for TopRank CEO (and author of Online Marketing Blog) Lee Odden who gave a presentation on SEO for Public Relations.

He started by explaining why SEO is/should be important to PR Professionals.

In a 2008 Journalists Use of Search Survey by TopRank, we discovered that 91% of journalists use standard search to fulfill a component of their job whether researching a story or locating a subject matter expert.

With journalists writing for more channels and with less resources making your content visible within search is critical.

Here are Odden’s 10 SEO Tips:

1. Number one thing to do?
Magic answer is that it depends on the problem.
However, if you choose one item to tackle make sure your website is crawlable. If the site isn’t crawlable, then really nothing else you do in terms of SEO will matter.

2. Understand and Optimize PR Tactics
The content that is likely already being created as part of the PR campaign is low hanging fruit in terms of SEO.

Optimize the following content with keyword phrases (or those terms that journalists might be searching) to help your content become more visible:

  • Press Releases
  • Letters to the editor
  • Online Newsroom
  • Media kits
  • Corporate blogs
  • White papers
  • Webinars/demos
  • Newsletters
  • Real world interviews published digitally

In addition, Odden introduces the audience to the idea of Micromedia Optimization. Now that tweets and soon status updates are being integrated into the search engines, it’s important to optimize the content regardless of the channel.

3. PPC vs SEO for PR
SEO is long term, part of a content process and contingent on content and links over time.
PPC is on-demand, pay to play and an alternative to natural listings. If you have something you need to draw attention to right now, PPC is perhaps the more viable option as you can have ads live within minutes.

4. Keyword Research
In order to optimize your existing content, a list of keyword phrases needs to be developed.
Here’s how you build the list:
1. Brainstorm phrases
2. Import to a keyword research tool
–Google Keyword Tool
–Google Insights & Trends
–Keyword Discovery
–SEM Rush
3. Find popularity and variations of the original keyword list
4. Create a keyword glossary

When creating the glossary, be sure to segment by popularity and category to ensure no important phrases are missed.

5. Basics of OnPage SEO

When optimizing a website, newsroom or landing page, don’t forget to include keywords in the following places:

  • Title Tags
  • Keyword Placement within content
  • On-page titles
  • Navigation links
  • Body copy
  • Keyword text links
  • Image alt text

6. Get more from Press Releases
Press releases can be more than a vehicle for distributing messages. If optimized, it can also serve to pull journalists (and even prospects) to the content hosted on a website or within a newsroom.

To optimize your press content for search visibility, remember to:

  • Research and identify target keyword phrases
  • Optimize the release for 1-2 phrases
  • Include a Call to Action (link to landing page, so you can track activity)
  • Develop and Optimize Landing Pages
  • Post to Newsroom
  • Pitch to Media
  • Distribute via RSS
  • Leverage Wire Service Distribution
  • Measure Results

Here are 7 tips specific to Press Release Optimization:
1. Think up and to the left
2. Optimize for people first, search engines next
3. Use keywords in Title, Subhead, body
4. Don’t obsess over keyword density
5. Aim for a 500 word release to use target keyword 2-4 times
6. Use keywords in links to company sites
7. Add media: images, podcasts, video

7. Newsroom Optimization Tactics
Online newsrooms can be an added resource to draw journalists in, if it is optimized and can be found via search.

To optimize your newsroom or to get one started, follow these tips:
1. Consider using blog software to manage your newsroom, very search friendly
2. Share/Save Bookmarks
3. Leverage keyword categories
Chronological archives don’t benefit the search engines or the user. No one wants to search through years of press releases – as opposed to clicking on a category of content like ‘SEO Tips’.
4. Cross link from optimized content to relevant content on the website

8. Link Building
Links ‘electrify’ content in search and can significantly improve search rankings.

Earn links with great content and by deploying the following:

  • Promote content socially
  • Link up with partners
  • Cross link internally
  • Embed links in releases
  • Social bookmark pickups of release content/coverage

When creating hyperlinks, be sure to use keywords in text:
Yes: Red Widget
No: Click Here

9. SEO & Social: Yin Yang
SEO and Social Media can be very complimentary to one another, so if deploying both (or even parts of both) be sure to integrate for highest impact.

Optimize Social Media for Search
The role of SEO in a social media effort is to directly influence discovery of social communities or content via search.

Link Building for SEO Through Social Media
Indirectly, social content can boost links to website content, improve search traffic and online sales.

10. Measuring & Selling the Value of News SEO
After deploying some or all of the above, it’s important to tie back to results.

There are are many different ways to attach measurement to the optimization of news content and here are a few to get you started:

  • Newswire service metrics
  • Web analytics for landing pages and websites
  • Google / Yahoo alerts
  • Monitor blog search engines (via RSS)
  • Press release landing page conversion tracking
  • Social media monitoring
  • Inbound links
  • Pickups on blogs
  • Pickups on other websites
  • Pickups on publications
  • Search Rankings

Don’t think those will work? Odden recommends using the power of the competitors. Are your competitors receiving better social or standard search visibility? If so, that’s often a compelling data point for decision makers.

What tips do you have to add for optimizing news content?

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  1. Avatar tessacarroll says

    It's time for Public Relations and SEO to start working together. Optimizing news content is extremely important and it's time we all learned how to do it properly. Thanks to you, Jolina, for bringing it to those of us who could not attend the PRSA conference. And thanks to Lee Odden for sharing his SEO for PR tips.

    Tessa Carroll

  2. Avatar jeffreylevesque says

    I've gotten excellent results for my clients by using Blog Talk Radio.

    Even if they don't do any type of podcasting, using their blog feature is a great
    way to get long-lasting generic search placement fast.

  3. Avatar zsuzsakarci says

    Sorry -I have a German Website – I dont understand “Wire ervice” can you please describe? thanks
    Karl wildenauer

  4. I think Public Relations is one of the ingredients and will be a great help to be an effective SEO. We should start with this one and be a more effective SEO.

  5. PR and organic SEO have long been friends, but some, if not ALL of Lee's insights here are outstanding points to print out and keep next to your workstation to keep in mind for effective news/pr/content distribution.

  6. Some good basic advice here. Many PR-centric pages or blogs I've seen lately don't even use uniform title & <H1> tags.

    If you're looking to build SEO through a blog, check out the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin for WordPress.

  7. Avatar AmandaCooperPR says

    A timely primer on incorporating SEO into PR tactics. Although new and social media have blown open the communication doors that were previously heavily guarded by traditional media, it's hard to be heard above the noise. You've provided a great list of quick SEO strategies to raise visibility!

  8. Thanks Amanada

  9. Using a blog as a newsroom is a great idea and the All in One SEO plugin certainly helps add more SEO value.

  10. Using a blog as a newsroom is a great idea and the All in One SEO plugin certainly helps add more SEO value.

  11. Thanks Dave – sometimes all it takes is a reminder.

  12. Hello Karl, a wire service is a company that allows you to distribute your press release via email to journalists and bloggers that have opted in to receive content according to certain topical categories. It also means distribution of the release via RSS and news feed to news search engines as well as across other partner distribution networks.

  13. Great List! No.1 is kinda funny 🙂 A few notes by number…
    1. Crawlable: bots can only read text and discover your content via links to it – can't read javascript or flash – so minimize use of
    3. PPC until you're at the top of page one for those keywords
    4. Think keywords in terms of hierarchy and keyword clusters – build EVERYTHING around that
    8. YESSS!!!
    9. Absolutely

  14. nice.. very informative when it comes to BPO offshore outsourcing.. this info helps me on my online business. Thanks!r

  15. Thanks Sally 🙂

  16. This is a really great top ten list Jolina. Integrating PR with online media is extremely important and this list has many excellent recommendations. I wish I could have attended the conference myself. Anyone can post their own list to our site The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

  17. Thank you very much for the complete SEO tips. Some new tips I learned.
    Could you explain bit more about heading tag usages, like instance I have seen many sites using multiple H1 tags and in SEO perspective is this ok to do?

  18. Oh, and also: DON'T MOVE YOUR CONTENT TO AN ARCHIVE. Leave it where it is. K? Thanks!

  19. Very useful , thanks!

  20. These tips are very good to implement.

  21. Avatar nicholasoflaherty says

    Thanks again Lee for a great presentation at Digital PR in New York last month; and thanks for the top ten tips above.
    I have one question re the prevalence of social media releases today. Have PR practitioners adopted this model in significant numbers? It seems to have had limited/moderate success, or am I mistaken?
    I look forward to your insight, thanks

  22. Thank you Nicholas. Social Media Releases have not been the silver bullet that many proponents have optimistically predicted. They have gained in popularity though and I think they are definitely worth testing. Some companies are getting good mileage from a PR and SEO perspective with social media releases. Others are not. In the end, it's something digital PR and marketing professionals need to asses based upon their knowledge of how target audiences consumer and pass along information online.

  23. This was a great post! This information is very useful and I will now start to integrate social media with SEO.

    Thank you!

  24. It is a great information.

  25. These are infact very important SEO tips, one should know about. Thanks for this great article that provided insights of Optimization.

    SEO Optimization Blog

  26. Keeping a theme is important. Great post!

  27. It's time for Public Relations and SEO to start working together. Optimizing news content is extremely important and it's time we all learned how to do it properly. Thanks to you, Jolina, for bringing it to those of us who could not attend the PRSA conference. And thanks to Lee Odden for sharing his SEO for PR tips.

  28. It's time for Public Relations and SEO to start working together. Optimizing news content is extremely important and it's time we all learned how to do it properly. Thanks to you, Jolina, for bringing it to those of us who could not attend the PRSA conference. And thanks to Lee Odden for sharing his SEO for PR tips.