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SEOPRVisualEvery day public relations professionals pump out new content on behalf of their clients and organizations, intended to raise awareness of the brand among its audience, increase website traffic and brand mentions as well as achieve high consumer engagement, just to name a few. This content can be a blog or social media post, a video, or an e-newsletter, again, just to name a few. Those are examples of viral content, and they're becoming the best way to achieve search engine optimization (SEO). This is why many bloggers and thought-leaders in the digital industry are saying PR is emerging as the new SEO.

Traditional SEO methods used to be short-term but effective in increasing a ranking on Google. However, since the 2012 launch of Google Penguin, which is Google’s algorithm in determining how a website is ranked, these short-term methods are no longer cutting it. Methods that are currently effective have now aligned with traditional PR approaches, which tend to be more long-term. The new update of the algorithm, called Google Penguin 3.0 favors these long-term approaches.

As a business or a PR pro, creating content specifically tailored for your audience will garner better rankings than if tailored for a search engine. This means you need to strategically create content of substance that your audience can share with their own audience on social media sites. Think quality content over quantity. Just because you have content doesn’t mean it’ll increase your website traffic or enhance a brand’s awareness. The content needs to go viral in order for it to be most effective.

Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason in why content goes viral. Some of it’s planned and deliberate and other times it’s purely accidental. (I think we’re still trying to figure out if the #AlexFromTarget was planned or a hoax.) Nevertheless, putting out information for others to share as a way to increase awareness is proven very effective. Word-of-mouth tactics equal viral marketing success if they’re done correctly.

Here are a few tips to remember as you create and publish viral content:

  • Create memorable content for your audience that relates to your business service or product
  • Create easily shareable content for your audience to share with their own audience
  • Make sure to have buttons on your website and articles that readers can share on social media sites
  • In conjunction with your content, include relatable images and infographics
  • There are many websites where you can create free infographics
  • Include content from a third party expert to establish trust with your audience
  • Share your content on all of your social media platforms
  • Incorporate audio and video in your content
  • Get other industry partners or thought leaders to share your content
  • Those brand mentions are important in earning a higher ranking on Google
  • More tips from my previous blog post on Being Seen and Heard Amongst all the Digital World Chaos

Once you are steadily pushing out valuable content and have some free time to read various reports on your website analytics, it’s important to make sure that your domain isn’t being negatively affected by Penguin. You can use websites, such as to do this. This website will give you a traffic analysis and show the amount of organic visits to your page. All of your page’s backlinks must follow Google Webmaster Guidelines. You can use Google’s Webmaster Tools to do audits on backlinks as well as read blogs, such as this one and from Forbes to learn how to conduct a link audits. Yes, this is time consuming, but making sure your backlinks aren’t ‘spammy’ in Google’s algorithm’s eyes will ensure a higher ranking.

As said before, PR pros push out content, and SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or un-paid ("organic") search results, according to Wikipedia. These two entities go hand-in-hand, so it’s best we understand the correlation of the two to ensure maximum effectiveness in viral content marketing in achieving SEO.

Shelby Ray
Shelby Ray
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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