SEO is no longer an option for businesses, it is a necessity in order to stand out in your industry. Lisa Buyer, Founder, and CEO of the Social PR Agency The Buyer Group; caught up with Search Talk Live Podcast hosts Robert O’Haver and Matt Weber all about the do’s and don’ts of SEO.
Before the “.com” boom, traditional public relations campaigns could take up to six months and press releases could take six weeks going through approval after approval. However, when the internet came along, it sped up everything in the PR industry. This is when Lisa and her agency at the time decided to leverage the powers of Google to boost PR and do what would eventually be called search engine optimization or SEO. Read her advice for leveraging SEO in your agency or business below.
SEO isn’t just Google. There are many other search engines including social platforms like Instagram. Websites and articles aren’t the only things you can optimize, you can also optimize captions, videos, and photos. Be consistent. It is key to SEO optimization.
Press Release Optimization is Key
Press releases must be noteworthy. Sites like PR newswire will not allow you to do a paid press release if it doesn’t include news. She recommends doing a paid press release once a month. Reporters use Google for everything so the press release has to have good SEO to stand out.
For the length of a paid press release, it should be short with 500 words or less because the more words, the more expensive it is. The longer version of the press release can be posted on your website with slightly different text and featured photos.
The Best Way to Pitch Stories to Reporters
Lisa said monitoring trends for SEO is essential. When you see a trend that relates to your business or agency, you can show a reporter how you would be a good source for that trend based article. If you focus on finding the right publication or reporter that will match your story, you have a better chance of catching the attention of a reporter.
The wrong way to pitch a reporter is being too risky or too vanilla. You want to say something unique or out of the box.
“Get a reporter’s attention in a non-spam very approachable way where they can easily digest what you are trying to pitch to them. That is really the golden ticket.”
Incorporating SEO with Social Influencers
Influencers are not journalists. They typically have their own businesses or gigs and influencing is just a side job. So Lisa said when you are searching for influencers, research the influencers manually and gather a list.
After gathering the list, she recommends contacting them on the social platform they are most active on whether that is Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or another channel.
Below are Lisa’s writing hacks that can improve your SEO.
📚Grammarly – An app that automatically detects potential grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in writing.
📚Hemmingway – An editing app that highlights and corrects grammar, fluency, and sentence structure in order to help your writing read and look better.
📚 Coschedule – Manage your marketing, social media, assignments and tasks with deadlines for your team, and shared documents all on one app.
📚Pomodoro Technique – Find a writing goal you want to achieve and set aside a few hours for writing only. Take a 15-minute break and then set aside another hour for more writing. It is like high-intensity training (H.I.T.) for writing.
Know Your Audience
One of the biggest mistakes Lisa said businesses can make with SEO is not knowing their client’s personas. You have to know and understand your client’s personas to write specific content.
Another word for a persona is “avatar.” And when you are writing, it is helpful to visualize the avatar in front of you. When it comes to content, don’t focus your content on the sales and marketing, educate yourself on the pain points of your audience and gear your writing towards that.
The Power of Reviews
Customer reviews have become a vital aspect of businesses. And with powerful search engines like Google and Amazon, customer reviews are now apart of the SEO industry.
Lisa said businesses should handle reviews by being proactive. Make an outreach plan for your company that shows employees the best way to respond to positive and negative reviews. It is best to not use a pre-planned template when responding to negative reviews. The response should be personalized.
An example of a good plan would be a proactive campaign that displays all your positive reviews. If you receive bad reviews, don’t take a personal or let it get you down. Every company will receive a few bad reviews.
Past, Present, Future
SEO started gaining traction during the “.com” boom and now it has expanded to all aspects of public relations. These days there is so much information on search engines like Google that journalists/reporters often only look at the first page of results to find their next story. If you don’t have good SEO on your website, blogs, videos, captions, press releases, and pictures, your published materials can become buried in the search engine graveyards.
Remember to know your audience and understand their personas so your writing is specific to them. Take advantage of writing tools that can help you produce content faster with better SEO like Grammarly, Hemmingway, Coschedule and the Pomodoro technique. And when you come across reviews for your company online, be proactive, have a plan on how to respond and don’ take it personally if it is negative.