Gini Dietrich

Media Relations: Increase Your Search Engine Optimization

By: Gini Dietrich | April 16, 2015 | 

Media Relations and SEOBy Gini Dietrich

I am back! I promised to do a second piece on last week’s webinar, “How to Use Media Relations to Drive Search Engine Optimization” and this is it!

SEO is the second prong in our media relations approach (the first we covered on Tuesday with brand awareness and the second we’ll cover on June 11 with the lead generation webinar) and it cannot be achieved without the other two prongs.

You’ll want to be sure to re-watch (or watch for the first time) the webinar with both of these blog posts as your cheat sheets. They will help you do the work and create a process for success.

So let’s talk SEO.

Search Engine Optimization

You are not going to become, overnight, an SEO expert. Rather, you are taking your media relations expertise and using it for the front-end work of optimization.

When you do this, you are going to create the very valuable link back to your website or blog that Google places priority on…and you’re going to do it using sites that have more authority and credibility than your own.

Having done this, you will have built credibility and authority for your organization, both internally (on the website) and externally (with targeted audiences).

This will also have the benefit of increased search results and increased domain authority.

Not only will the SEO team want to kiss you, the executives will, too.

The very best way to increase your domain authority and gain the very valuable link back to your site is to do traditional media relations. 

Use Media Relations to Increase Your SEO

For the example in the webinar, I asked Lara Wellman to give me a priority keyword of her agency’s, Wellman Wilson.

She’d like to rank for social media strategy, social media coaching, or social media simplified.

We will use those words to do this exercise so you can see the steps with a real-world example.

  1. Determine your priority keywords or phrases. She’s already told me she wants to rank for something around social media. You can shoot for the moon, at this point. We’ll bring you back to earth as we proceed.
  2. Use the Google keyword planner. Take your words or phrases and input them in the Google keyword planner. They’re all good phrases, but because she’ll compete with the likes of Forbes and Inc. to get on the first page of Google results for “social media strategy” (which I discovered by doing a simple Google search for the phrase), we can narrow down her choices to just “social media coaching” and “social media simplified.” The keyword tool shows me that “social media coaching” has more monthly searches, but the competition is high. While “social media simplified” has only 10 monthly searches, the people who search that term are likely very qualified for Lara and her business. We’ll use that phrase.
  3. Do a Google search. In the browser toolbar, click on “file” and then “new incognito window.” It opens a new window, which allows you to see search results without personalized returns. Do a Google search for “social media simplified” (or, in your case, whatever your targeted phrase is).
  4. Create a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, you cannot use the moz toolbar when you’re incognito so you’ll need to do this work manually. I would take a shortcut, though, which I’ll explain in a second. Create a quick spreadsheet with “website,” “domain authority,” and “can compete?” as the headers. Now jot down the websites that are on the first page of Google results for your search. Now go back to a regular window (no longer incognito) and do a Google search for your phrase again. The results will be a little bit different and you may need to go to the second page to get the data you need. Turn your moz toolbar on and look for the websites that are on your spreadsheet. Add the domain authority of each site in your second column.
  5. Determine if you can compete. Now you will fill in the third column of your spreadsheet. Going back to the link popularity drawing that Andy Crestodina uses, we can determine whether we can compete. Lara’s website has a domain authority of 25, which means she sits squarely in the middle of being able to compete with sites that have authority lower than 40. It also means she wants to use media relations to create a link to her website or blog from sites with authority higher than 40. On the first page of Google results for “social media simplified,” there are four sites that have authority between 18 and 22. She can compete with all of those so she puts a Y in the third column of her spreadsheet. She puts a N next to the other six and now we have our marching orders.
  6. Create your pitch list. This is very important! For this exercise, you are not going to use your Cision database or write a news release that you’ll distribute to every journalist and blogger you know. This is far more targeted than that. You are going to use the media outlets and blogs that already rank for your targeted phrase. You’ll do this because you know they’re already interested in the subject and because their domain authority is higher than your own. In this case, Lara will pitch Time, Blog Tyrant, and ViralHeat. You can add to your media list by going to the second and third page of search results to see who else has written on the topic and has a higher domain authority than your own.
  7. Include a link to your website or blog. Now do your media relations. Pitch OpEds, interview opportunities, story ideas, and contributed content. Develop these pitches from your content hubs and repurpose existing content.  And then, this is the most important part, work with them to include a link to a page on your website or a specific blog post. If you don’t get that link, this exercise will not work to increase your SEO.
  8. Anchor text. But it can’t just be the link (well, it can, but it’ll work much better if it’s more), you must also include anchor text. Anchor text is the words the link lies on in a post (see “anchor text” right there is clickable, which means there is a link on it and it is the anchor text; see Cision and Andy Crestodina above; both anchor text). This tells Google you are an authority on the subject. So, in this example, Lara will pitch stories that include “social media simplified” as the anchor text and, when clicked, it will lead people to a specific blog post, a FAQ page, a white paper, an archived newsletter, or other content you give away free (meaning, you don’t require an email address to gain access). The link should NOT go to your home page. If it goes to your home page, I will cry. Don’t make me cry!
  9. Measure your results. Now we can track who visits the site from each media outlet, which outlet is the best lead generator, and where the visitors go after landing on the initial piece. The goal, of course, is to capture them through a landing page so we can add them to the lead nurturing program, which we’ll cover in June. All you have to do is go to Google analytics (if you don’t have access, get it now…pronto! HURRY!) and sign in. On the left-hand sidebar, click on Acquisition, then All Traffic, and then Referrals. On this page, you will see a search bar. You are going to input the URL of the media outlet or blog that ran your story (and included your anchor text and a link back to your site). This will tell you how many visitors that story brought you, how long they stayed on the site (you want to see it higher than average), and how many pages they visited.
  10. Track effectiveness. But where the real rubber meets the road is how you begin to rank in search results. Right now, Lara doesn’t rank for “social media simplified” so, after doing this work, she should start appearing on the first page of Google results. It’ll take lots of elbow grease (meaning, she has to create content around the subject and pitch stories on it) and some time, but it will work. In fact, it works so well, you’ll get super excited about it and hit refresh over and over again to watch your website climb up the rankings.

Bring it Together

Now you can start to see how the two media relations prongs work together (and it’ll all come together when we cover lead generation on June 11; have I mentioned that?) to build something that is extremely valuable to the organization.

With the brand awareness prong, we can prove effectiveness that drives the investment.

On this prong, we can prove search results have increased and, added to the work of our SEO colleagues, your website or blog will begin to really stand out.

Suddenly something that used to be measured by media impressions and advertising equivalencies is proving to be extremely valuable to the organization…more than just ink and a nice ego stroke.

Now, what questions do you have?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!