Last month both Google and Bing revealed in an interview that social media activity on sites such as Twitter and Facebook can help specific web content to get listed higher in search engine rankings. An example being that if a page is shared on Twitter by ‘authoritative people’ then that can help its performance in organic search results ‘to a degree’.
Why is that important for PRs? Well most PRs are offering social media services these days (erm…along with everyone else), but plenty are finding it hard to measure and justify the value they’re providing. If links to pages that are shared on social sites are starting to have a direct impact on search rankings, then there’s another tangible benefit that social media activity can drive.
While most search engine optimisation (SEO) experts seem to agree that social media links such as these currently have only a minor SEO effect, you’d expect their importance to increase as the search engines find ways to build this additional factor into their algorithms.
But there are already a number of good reasons why PR agencies can and should support SEO. Kelvin Newman, search guru and creative director at SiteVisibility provides some useful advice to PRs who want to get into SEO in a guest post on Wadds’ PR and Media Blog :
‘you understand what pitches work with which journalists, use that experience and get some high quality links pointing at a client site’
The links he’s talking about here are traditional (ie not social network) links from news sites and blogs. If you can get authoritative sites such as national newspapers or high profile bloggers to write about and link to your clients’ sites then this provides real SEO value which can quickly raise their profile in online searches.
Even if clients don’t seem interested in these links at the moment, Kelvin urges PR agencies to keep track of the links they’ve generated:
‘clients are coming round to natural search and if you have an ongoing record of achieving links you’ll stand a good chance of getting any work as and when it does come to pitch’