Here’s something that companies and individuals trying to build their brands didn’t have to worry themselves about years ago: search engine optimization, also known by the much friendlier and easier to remember initials SEO.
These days, I’m pretty sure nearly everyone knows about SEO and how important it is to get the right internet-search words or phrases connected to you, your product, your service or your book.
The goal is to be the person or business that people find when they start typing into Google or another search engine. For example, if someone sits down in front of their computer and types “top-rated local financial advisor,” you would want your firm to pop up high in the search results.
The question, though, is what kind of steps can you take to improve the odds that you, and not a competitor, lands at the top of those results.
In the recent past, companies spent thousands of dollars on get-rich-quick SEO strategies, but it turns out that was a waste because of the recent Google penalties. Bad news, I know. But here’s the good news: Today, there are a few things you can do on your own that will boost your SEO power, which in turn will enhance your public relations efforts.
Don’t take my word for this. When it comes to advice about SEO, I turn to Vito Santoro, my go-to SEO expert and one of the developers of Vaetas (www.vaetas.com), an online video-marketing syndication network.
In many ways, some of what Vito has to say about SEO isn’t that far off from the advice I’ve given clients for years about publicity in general. You need to build your brand and your authority by establishing yourself as a go-to expert for the traditional media, such as TV, radio and print.
“Everyone says traditional media is dying, but it’s not true,” Vito says.
Let’s take a look at just three ways you can strengthen your SEO:
- Establish your authority on your website. You want to make sure that your website brands you as an authority in your field. Vito says that when people pay you a visit on your website they should find educational content, such as blog items that supply them with tips, and testimonials from people who have used your services or read your book.
- Build your brand through traditional media. As mentioned earlier, people still turn to the traditional media to learn about the world, and they are impressed if the traditional media turn to you for expert opinions. So you want to pitch article ideas or offer yourself as an expert to TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and magazines. It’s especially advantageous for SEO purposes if you land appearances in what are considered “authority” sites, such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. “Authority backlinks are the new SEO,” Vito says. “Getting a half dozen of those will give you a competitive advantage.” Most people have to start in smaller markets and build a track record first, though, before the top-tier media get interested in them.
- Get all the mileage you can out of those media appearances. Don’t let that TV appearance or newspaper article fade into oblivion. Provide your website visitors a link to the media site because that helps with your on-page SEO. Vito says you should use the media’s logo to create a link that opens in a new browser window so the visitor never leaves your website. Search engines need text to do their SEO work, so you should use keyword phrases for each graphic. Example: Marsha Friedman, EMSI – Yahoo Finance Article.
A few years back, Gene Weingarten, the Washington Post humor columnist, spoofed the whole SEO concept in a column that was headlined: “Gene Weingarten column mentions Lady Gaga.”
The joke, of course, was that Lady Gaga was mentioned strictly for SEO purposes – not because she had anything to do with the content of the column.
You, however, don’t need to go to that kind of extreme. I’m confident you can post expert content to build your online authority and your brand without any assistance from the esteemed Lady Gaga.
Besides, I just mentioned her myself!
P.S. If you need professional help in building your online authority and brand, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215 or click here to get started with your Free Media Analysis.