Kirkpatrick Communications Kirkpatrick Communications
Search Engine Optimization in Public Relations 

Web 2.0 and Search Engine Optimization are key buzzwords these days. This is not a discussion of Google AdWords and how to dry more traffic to your web site. I'm not an expert at that but I do know companies that are. If you're interested, call me and I'll be happy to refer you.

This is short discussion on how to drive more traffic to your site, how to be more visible on the web and how to elevate your standings on search engines by using two basic PR principles:

  1. How You Communicate on Your Web Site
  2. How You Communicate in Your News Releases

1. Web Sites

You've probably read at least a bit about how web sites are written differently than other marketing vehicles. Here are a few tips as reminders:

  1. People scan web sites; they don't read them.

  2. Headlines and subheads are, therefore, more important.

  3. Decks (those short descriptive sentences that describe headlines) are key sections of the page that are read frequently.

  4. Bulleted lists and numbered lists (like this one) enable readers to scan more easily.

  5. Copy (the words on the page) should be short, snappy, to the point. No long paragraphs.

OK, granted, that list is WAY too short. If you want more info, call me on this one, too. But this isn't an article on how to write web sites; it's about how to write key sections of the site to increase SEO. Here are a couple of nuggets to do right now to increase your SEO for your site:

Put keywords in your Page Titles. Search engine software looks at the keywords in your page titles; that's one way that they rank keywords. The easiest way to find your page title if you don't know it? Go to any page on your site, then find the menu Bookmarks and scroll down and click to Add Bookmark. The words that show up on that bar is the Page Title of that page. Your home page, for instance, shouldn't say Home Page. It should be a keyword that prospects search for when looking for companies that do what you do. All of your pages should at least begin with those keywords; then the second part of the title can describe the page contents.

Sprinkle those keywords in page headlines, subheads and decks. Next the search engine police look at those sections of your web page, so be sure to include the same keywords that are in your pages titles in your headlines, subheads and decks.

2. News Releases

I'm a firm believer that you only release news when you have something that is newsworthy. But when you do craft a news release, make sure it's optimized for search engines. Here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Release through a global wire distribution service like Business Wire or PR Newswire. It will automatically be listed on many web sites, like Google, Yahoo News and others. Then when search engines look, they'll find it more places that just your web site. That's good SEO.

  2. Make sure your keywords are dominant in headlines, subheads and the body copy of the release. I have a goal of using three keywords or phrases in each release; then I use those words or phrases up to 7 times in the release for SEO effect. I know, it sounds like a lot. Trust me on this one, it works.

  3. Add hyperlinks to the release. Search engines look for these links. I strive to include at least three.

  4. Use bold headlines (with keywords) and bulleted or numbered lists in the release.

That's just a few ideas. I've got lots more. SEO has become a huge topic in PR these days. You can fall behind pretty easily and not even know it. Small, inexpensive changes can get you back in the game quickly.