Lee Odden

8 Social SEO Questions Public Relations Pros Need the Answers To

Social SEO PR TipsIn the course of providing expertise and advice, I’ve really come to believe that it’s more important now than ever for Public Relations professionals to accelerate their knowledge of SEO and Social Media. The storytelling business is a competitive one and great messaging isn’t realized until it connects with influencers and those in a position to propagate it. Both SEO and Social Media facilitate discovery of news and information, so PR pros can boost reach and impact by becoming Social SEO savvy.

Thanks to an invite from Justin Goldsborough and Heather Whaling, I participated in a #pr20chat chat this week to talk mostly about SEO and PR with a hint of social media. For Twitter chats, I prepare by getting the questions to be asked in advance and then I answer them in a “tweet ready” format so I can be as useful as possible during the chat itself. That prep makes for a good blog post too 🙂

What are some simple, basic principles of SEO that PR ppl need to understand/implement?

  • I’d like to start with: Social is hot, but Google handles 10 billion+ queries /mo, so SEO is far from “dead”
  • For a good foundation, check out these 10 SEO tips for PR Pros
  • SEO Basics: Search results vary for users based on location, logged in, history – ranking is an iffy metric
  • SEO Basics: Research keywords & focus optimization efforts: 1-2 topics per page
  • SEO Basics: Use keywords & variants in titles, headings, body copy & links to the page
  • SEO Basics: Create, optimize, socialize & promote for links. Track web analytics, social monitoring
  • Also, check out this SEO Guide for PR (pdf)

When it comes to PR & SEO, what do PR people do wrong? Tips for improvement?

  • #fail: Focusing solely on press releases for SEO. If it’s searchable, it can be SEO’d
  • #fail: Only writing press releases AP style. Also try an article format & send via press release service
  • #fail: Overuse keywords, ignore link building, discount impact of social on SEO
  • Tips: Create keyword glossary & train writers on basic SEO copywriting & linking
  • Tips: Include web pages, releases, images, video, PDFs, MS Word Docs
  • Tips: ID a destination page as a topic target & build content, links around it

What are some tips & tools to help PR people discover the best/most relevant keywords?

  • Keywords should empathize with the intended audience: journos, bloggers, consumers
  • Think about keywords for search and social topics for conversations. Sometimes they’re the same
  • Keyword Tools: Google Keyword Tool (includes mobile)
  • Keyword Tools: wordtracker.com wordstream.com keyworddiscovery.com & semrush.com (for competitors)
  • Keyword Tools: Übersuggest (via SEJ) leverages Google Suggest
  • Once you have keywords, you’ll need: Keyword Glossary & Editorial Plan

What are some SEO best practices to ensure the *right* people (not just more ppl) find your site/content? (via @kaczynski)

  • Attract the “right” people via search to PR content through relevant keyword selection & optimization
  • Knowing your target audience means knowing their keywords. Optimize for the “pull”
  • Understand what keywords & topics reflect your target audience interest & focus on that

Google recently intro’d Google Instant Pages. What does this mean for SEO? PR?

  • Google Instant Pages only speeds display of SERPs you click. Very little impact on today’s SEO

How should PR pros balance social media vs SEO? Should one “lead” and the other support/follow?

  • Optimize & Socialize based on customer centric search keywords & social topics. It’s yin/yang
  • Social Media & SEO work together, but the lead tactic depends on intended outcomes
  • Both SEO & Social affect info discovery. Social media facilitates engagement & influences SEO
  • Marketing often owns SEO, PR owns Social. Cross-training is essential

Explain the process you follow to create & promote content marketing initiatives. How does SEO fit into that?

  • Content Marketing starts with my magic 8-ball. I just do what it tells me 🙂
  • Oh wait, here you go: 10 Steps to Better Content Marketing & SEO
  • Content plans are aided by keywords & social topics so creators can be inspired

Fill in the blank: _____ is the #1 thing all PR ppl need to start doing to improve SEO

  • That kind of question is trouble. There’s no #1 thing anymore. But then again …
  • If you focus on just one thing, you’ll get burned when that one thing changes
  • It comes down to relevance and network. The right keyword & content mix + social network for sharing = the WIN

We have some of the smartest marketers and public relations pros on the web reading this blog. What Tweets would you post in response to these questions? What questions along the lines of PR and SEO would you like answered?

Thanks to @prtini for her roundup of the chat, which you can find here: “14 PR & SEO Tweetable Tips“.

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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 B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Excellent information here, Lee, especially for PR folks who want to get hired by companies that understand/appreciate what SEO and social can do for PR. 

    In response to #6 – Successful PR, Link Building & social media share a common denominator: strong relationships built on confidently shared information. 

  2. Great article and great tips. I have to implement this strategy.

  3. Excellent article thanks for the tips! I am not sure I will be able to implement it all but I do think it is very important to try to get into the shoes of the other side and see keywords from their perspective. It is so easy to get “home blind” and forget about the actual goal of the work rather than get completely meshed up in the “right strategies”

  4. Fun, fabulous and informative.  Thanks Lee.

  5. I have found the Google Keyword Tool to be very helpful in SEO. This article has so many helpful hints. Thanks for sharing! 

  6. Lee, this is truly helpful info. I’ve LONG said that the ideal skill set for effective social media marketers is a mixture of PR and SEO skills, but there are actually very few people  that do both. Most PR people have no idea about things like last-click attribution, conversion funnels and the like. SEO folks don’t typically understand crisis communications or work on key messages, influencer outreach and media training. 

    You’re one of the only thought leaders who is an awesome hybrid and I thank you for all the great info you provide! I’ll share this liberally. 🙂

    • I agree Carri, the SEO and PR worlds don’t collide as much as you’d think. Although, I’ve seen a lot more PR people interested in gaining real SEO skills than SEO practitioners adding PR & media relations to their skill sets.

  7. Great info buddy. Content marketing is effective for me..