Why does the FBI offer its Witness Protection Program to informants when the feds can post their contact information on Page 2 of Google search results? In fact, they could list it anywhere after the third result and need not worry all that much!

Great news for snitches, but not so much for PR hacks since 51 percent of all website traffic starts from an organic search.

So, public relations pros know their content needs to appear in search results. They also know the same content is worthless if it doesn’t appear prominently. How are they supposed to navigate such tension?

Learn how to optimize content for search engines. That’s how.

Traditional PR practitioners consume themselves in writing, emailing and working the phones for their customers, but everyone can relax and exhale by implementing a few important SEO elements into their system.

1. Follow these guidelines to produce only quality content

Write how people talk, especially with voice searches on smart home devices like Google Home and Echo becoming more prevalent. Ensure that the work is original and concise. Don’t confuse “brevity” for “concise”—pack power and punch into the language. No $10 words. Limit headlines to seven words and sentences to a maximum of 25 words.

Simplicity is not a determining factor in search engine rankings, but it helps users to easily scan content and find the keywords for which they are looking. Highlight with bolding and incorporate bullet points to break apart the copy to further identify the most important elements on a page. Don’t overdo it, though, or you’ll disrupt the flow of the page and irritate users.

2. Make it a point to update old content regularly

After regularly blogging for at least one month, PR hacks have written articles that generate organic traffic. They are now able enhance those articles and leverage their ability to obtain higher search rankings. Six months should not lapse without refurbishing dated information.

The most significant secret factor heavily influencing SEO ranking is posting frequency or content updating. Google modernized its algorithms to more seriously consider how often a site posts fresh content or updates existing information. By posting more frequently on a company blog — and by updating existing pages and blog posts — Google recognizes the websites busy working on themselves and will reward them.

3. Employ a strategy to amplify earned content

People don’t find content accidentally. All earned media demands a promotional strategy that combines paid and owned platforms. A multi-channel amplification plan exponentially increases the ability of users to discover your information.

Boost content with paid advertisements or promotions, ask employees to share on their social sites and blast it out on a company digital newsletter.

4. Build links

The most significant contribution to SEO for flacks are editorial links. When writing a guest blog or contributing articles to online platforms, include links to the brand’s website to significantly improve the volume of traffic.

Most bloggers and online influencers accept guest posts or conduct interviews with experts. They represent terrific opportunities to enable companies to gain visibility online and provide a means of infiltrating larger target audiences.

5. Analyze, analyze, analyze

Management guru Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Drucker posits that business leaders cannot know whether or not they succeed until they define and track metrics.

Tools such as Moz, Google Analytics and Alexa enable PRs to track backlinks, traffic and conversions. Focus on website analytics and content performance. Once solid measurements are in place, PR pros can adjust and optimize it for the most return on investment.

Finally, Google—which dominates nearly 80 percent of the online search market—hates liars and cheaters as much as the rest of us. The internet juggernaut will penalize or remove from the equation altogether those who break its rules.

Honesty and transparency are ironclad in the world of public relations and search engine optimization. There are no shortcuts. Hard work is part and parcel of delivering superior products and services again and again.

When PRs regularly load sites with meaningful content that links to even more relevant content, they will succeed with Google and rank at the top of search results in no time.

PR Pros, how do you incorporate SEO into your traditional practice?

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Dave Yonkman

Dave Yonkman

David Yonkman is a former Washington Correspondent for Newsmax, Capitol Hill Communications Director and the founding principal of DYS Media, LLC, a specialized public relations business with offices in Washington, D.C. and Holland, Mich.

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