Search engine optimization, or SEO, used to be tailor made for public relations. Getting one of your client’s to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) involved creating a series of documents and publishing them online. Drafting a press release every month, and linking it back to the client’s website, created a significant boost. We used one of the main distribution services, usually PRWeb or PR Newswire, and just made sure to include the client’s URL in the body of the text. Then, every publication picking up the release provided an inbound link to our client’s website — the main indicator Google uses to order the SERPs.
Secondly, we created what was called a “content provision” article. These articles were spread throughout the Internet by a series of sites where people could go to get valuable content. Since there was no exclusivity involved, we could submit the same article to a series of sites for maximum impact. People interested in the article could get it for free provided they agreed to maintain the link back to the client’s website. More inbound links to improve our client’s website ranking!
Finally, we draft a short weekly blog entry to ensure a dynamic website and increase the number of “deep links” (to interior pages) to our client’s site. By hosting the blogging software on our client’s site, we ensured everyone linking to the blog was in fact linking to the interior of the website.
Unfortunately, like many things on the Internet, these options changed. Google improved its ranking algorithm to spot and counteract the top two strategies. The only self-created strategies that remain involves blog entries. Of course, many online public relations firms are unaware of this shift. They continue to waste their clients’ time pursuing ancient strategies.
Now, a good rule to follow is this one: only when a third party makes an independent decision to link to your site will Google improve your ranking. You must provide valuable, original content to make this happen.