3 SEO tips all PR pros should follow

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In today’s world of digital marketing and constantly changing algorithms, it’s often difficult for PR pros to stay abreast of the latest marketing trends and technologies.

Technical webmasters aren’t the only folks who must concern themselves with SEO. Today, search engine optimization is fundamentally woven into communications, and PR pros should understand this shift and adjust accordingly.

It’s time for PR professionals to start borrowing tricks from SEO. Here are three useful tips PR pros should follow:

1. Use links sparingly in press releases. One of the main goals for PR professionals is to increase traffic to a client’s website. Whether that’s through links in press releases, mentions in a story or featured content, Google’s updated webmaster rules on links and keywords present a challenge for PR agencies.

Last year, Google started targeting large-scale marketing articles and guest post campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links, as well as links with optimized anchor text in press releases.

To avoid getting penalized, PR folks must create high-quality, relevant content that will gain popularity organically. One golden rule for SEO professionals is to always write rich, engaging content that an audience wants to read. PR pros can take a cue from SEO experts and concentrate on providing interesting and informative content for their clients, whether they’re writing a press release, advertorial, or feature.

To also make sure your press releases don’t get castigated or lost in the noise, PR professionals should use keyword research, which is a strategic method of determining what keywords are most efficient in reaching a client’s target audience. Once a list of top keywords is established, they should be strategically embedded throughout the headlines and body of the release.

2. Implement plug-ins to make SEO simple. If you’re in PR, chances are pretty good that your content is going to end up online. It’s crucial that it be formatted and organized for the Web.

SEO plug-ins can help you to remember essential titles and description meta-tags for your content. Not only will they help to increase traffic to the site you’re hoping to drive traffic to, they will also help you to remember to enter all of the required data that search engines use to catalog and show content.

SEO plug-ins help non-SEO experts figure out great search strategies in a short amount of time. Want to get started with one? Consider this list of the 10 best SEO plug-ins for 2014.

3. Images are everything. Nothing grabs a reader’s attention quite like a compelling photo. When issuing content on the Internet, adding thought provoking and relevant images and videos will make your articles or blogs more interactive.

PR pros can use simple SEO tips to optimize their images. With image search, just as with Web search, search engines provide the best and most relevant results. Following simple tricks can increase the likelihood that an image will be returned in those search results.

PR firms should avoid embedding important text in images, such as menu items, because not all users will be able to have access to them. Image file names should also be detailed, specific, and informative so that it will give Google clues about the subject matter. For example, leather-suede-jacket.jpg is a lot more effective than IMG00433.jpg.

PR pros can also use alt text to their advantage. The alt attribute is used to describe the contents of an image file and provides search engines with valuable information about the subject matter of the image.

Images should also be formatted correctly for a site. Images that are too large will cause a site to load slowly and ruin a user’s experience. PR pros can easily use robust graphic programs such as Photoshop or free sites such as Canva or PicMonkey to edit their images.

Although there is no denying the confluence of PR and SEO, the likelihood of the two fully merging is slim. In the meantime, PR professionals can learn from the science of SEO to provide better marketing results for their clients.

Stephanie Weaver is a writer and editor living in Philadelphia. She’s an avid equestrian, motorcycle enthusiast, small-dog owner, and avid collector of black leather boots. Visit her blog at had-me.com.

A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists by searching their bios, tweets and articles, and pitch them to get more press.  

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