Should My Business Have a Blog?

blog-keys

Maintaining an active blog can establish your organization as a leader in your industry, change your website from an online brochure to an interactive hub of information and give your customers a way to engage with you. Because blogs are less formal than a company website, and more interactive, they provide a forum for businesses to provide useful information, rather than just company promotion, and build their reputation and credibility among customers.

This article will provide you with the benefits of blogging, advice on how to begin blogging and five essential blogging tips for your business.

Benefits of Blogging — Successful blogs can demonstrate your expertise and leadership in your industry, attract the attention of your audience and secure leads for your business. Creating and maintaining a blog for your business will dramatically improve your content creation, boost your reputation and improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Content Creation — It has never been more important for businesses to generate quality content on a regular basis. The quality of your content is what influences your audience’s decision on whether or not to invest their time into reading your website or blog, and ultimately whether to trust your company and give it their business. Blogs are the perfect venues to distribute and store your content. Your blog should house informative, thought-provoking content that is related to your industry or the problem that your business solves for your audience. Very often, a blog will become your content hub of information. To learn more about the importance of content creation, please read our article, “Why Quality Content Reigns Supreme.”

  • Build Your Reputation — While your business’ website should focus on the products or services your business offers, your blog should demonstrate your organization’s knowledge and expertise in this area. By providing your audience with valuable content and helpful articles, your business will gain credibility and trust among existing and potential customers.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Benefits — Blogging can dramatically improve your search engine rankings. Search engines place heavy emphasis on new, current and quality content, so blogs are given high authority.

How to Begin Blogging — Before you jump into the blogosphere, it’s important to spend some time researching and browsing through other blogs in your industry. Once you’re comfortable with how blogs work, you should first establish a clear objective and target audience. Ask yourself the following questions: Is my target audience likely to engage in blogs? What content would my audience find most valuable? What type of information, and multimedia, is my audience looking for? To be able to answer these questions, it’s important to be able to put yourself into the mindset of your current or potential customers.

When you’re ready to begin, we recommend incorporating your blog into your main website, instead of giving it its own URL. Especially to those who are new to Web marketing, this is the easiest way to begin. Another factor to consider, when choosing whether or not to incorporate your blog, is that many people don’t have the time to develop content for and market more than one website. Incorporating your blog into your business’ main site will provide it with fresh content, as well as search engine optimization benefits.

The most successful blogs are updated weekly, at least, with fresh and interesting content related to their industry. You may choose to blog about news in your business area, company updates, helpful and “how-to” articles and other content that may be valuable to your audience. Remember to include relevant tags with each entry so that your posts can be easily categorized and found on the Web.

5 Essential Blogging Tips — To make sure your business’ blog is as successful as it can be, follow these five essential tips:

  • Incorporate Multimedia — It’s essential to add some form of multimedia to each blog entry to make your content interesting and visually appealing. By adding a photo, graphic or video to your post, you’ll appeal to a greater audience, since everyone takes in information differently. Some people are visual learners and will be far more receptive to your blog if it incorporates more than just text.

  • Add Sharing Icons — Including social media and social bookmarking icons on your blog is a great way to enable sharing. With sharing icons present next to each blog post, readers can easily share the entry with their friends or on their own social media profiles. It’s important to include the following sharing icons: Facebook’s “Like” button, Twitter, the Google+ “+1” button, StumbleUponDiggDelicious and the option to email the blog entry to a friend. Please follow each hyperlink for more information and to learn how to enable each of these sharing features on your blog. When done properly, this will definitely boost your blog’s traffic.

  • Include Hyperlinks — Wherever possible, it’s important to include hyperlinks that lead to more specific information. For example, find keywords in your blog posts and link them to another article you may have written on the topic or a section of your company’s website that offers more information on this topic or services you may offer.

  • Encourage Feedback — You want your blog to be as interactive as possible. It’s important to include a call to action in your blog posts and it could be something as simple as, “What are your thoughts? Share your opinion in the comment section below!” You should also include your contact information at the end of a blog post, should they have any questions or require more information. Remember to regularly scan your comments to remove any spam and reply to any questions, comments or concerns in a timely and helpful manner.

  • Promote on Social Media — With the powerful sharing capabilities of social media sites, your business’ social media profiles are perfect venues for promoting your blog. Whenever you update your blog, make sure to notify your Facebook fans, Twitterfollowers and Google+ circles. After you write your blog entry, use these sharing icons to “tweet,” share on your Facebook fan page, add to your social bookmarking profiles and more. In your social media updates, include a “teaser,” such as a portion of your blog entry, with the title, and encourage people to follow the link to read the rest of your post.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

PRMG Hosts Fall Lecture Series at its Education and Training Center

PATCHOGUE, NY — The Public Relations and Marketing Group, LLC (PRMG) announces it is offering a series of lectures on how attorneys, restaurants, retail stores, companies and non-profit organizations can grow their business and protect their reputation. All lectures will be held at PRMG’s Education and Training Center, located at 156 North Ocean Avenue in Patchogue.

On September 23, PRMG will host a PR and Marketing For Lawyers CLE course from 11:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. In this program, John C. Zaher, Esq., a leading attorney marketing expert, will review the attorney advertising rules and provide an overview of the tools needed to develop and implement a successful marketing program. Those in attendance will receive two CLE credit hours for Ethics & Professionalism. Registration is $65 in advance ($85 at the door) and includes lunch and materials.

The following presentations will provide those in attendance a multifaceted marketing approach to their organization, including an overview of strategic planning and research, Web development, search engine optimization (SEO), public relations, social media, marketing, advertising and more:

Competing with the Big Boxes (and Little Boxes) Without Going Broke: A Marketing Seminar For Retailers on October 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration is $25 in advance, $35 at the door.

Non-Profits Need Marketing, Too: A Marketing Seminar for Non-Profits on October 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration is $25 in advance, $35 at the door.

Bring More Guests to Your Table: Marketing Strategies For Restaurants in Today’s Economy on November 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Registration is $25 in advance, $35 at the door.

Negative publicity on the Internet can cost businesses both money and customers. A strong online reputation management strategy is essential to the success of any organization in today’s business world. Getting Started with Reputation Management will provide an overview of a comprehensive reputation management strategy for business owners to monitor their online reputation, publish positive publicity, engage with their audience and take legal action if necessary. The presentation will be held October 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Registration is $15 in advance, $25 at the door.

Social media and the Web are essential components of any multifaceted strategy to make the most out of your business’ marketing efforts. Using Social Media and Web Marketing to Build Your Business will offer those in attendance with an overview of how to strengthen their business’ Web development and SEO, Web advertising efforts, social media presence and more. The presentation will be held October 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration is $25 in advance, $35 at the door.

It is imperative to include a marketing plan as part of a business plan and to budget funds for at least six months to a year. Starting a New Business: “If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come” describes the steps PRMG recommends towards developing and implementing a cost-effective marketing plan for the new business owner. When starting a business, there is no room for error. This program, which be held on October 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., will review strategies that work. Registration is $15 in advance, $25 at the door.

Registration fees include breakfast or lunch. For more information, call (631) 207-1057, email: johnzaher@theprmg.com or visit www.theprmg.com.

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About PRMG
Founded in 2002, The Public Relations and Marketing Group, LLC (PRMG) is a full-service public relations and marketing agency based in Patchogue, New York. PRMG is dedicated to helping businesses, professionals, non-profit organizations, government entities, attorneys and law firms leverage their time, talents and resources by using effective public relations and marketing techniques, as well as advertising, graphic design, website design and development, digital video production, website search optimization and social media. PRMG has launched a variety of website-based entities, including Long Island Policy Forum, PatMedNews, Dining Out Long Island and New York Lawyer Pages. For more information, call (631) 207-1057 or visit www.theprmg.com.

Why Quality Content Reigns Supreme

Developing and Deploying a Comprehensive Content Plan is the Foundation for a Successful Marketing Strategy

It has never been more important to create and implement a comprehensive strategy to develop and deploy valuable content as a foundation for your marketing efforts. The quality of your content is what influences your audience’s decision on whether or not to invest their time into viewing your website, articles or advertisements. Thought-provoking text, coupled with visually stimulating multimedia, have the power to inform, attract and persuade readers. Content affects every facet of marketing, from lead generation to portraying your organization as an expert. View your content as one of your most valuable resources. Producing valuable content on a regular basis shows your organization’s knowledge, authority and expertise in your industry.

It is essential to cater content to your clients, not your own ego. When people visit you online, they are not looking for commercials. Instead, they are looking for information to help them make a decision or to inform them about a topic which they are unfamiliar with. Show them that you are a thought leader in your field, don’t just tell them. Content should be useful, interesting and valuable to your targeted audience. Excellent content, published on a variety of platforms, is an essential component of any effective marketing strategy.

This article outlines the importance of content, knowing your audience and their needs, how to build a content library, how to schedule content, where to share content and a case study of The Public Relations and Marketing Group’s content strategy.

Why is Content So Important

SEO — A high search engine ranking will drive more traffic to your website. Strong, fresh content is quickly picked up by the major search engines and pushed to the top of the search results. Publishing excellent content as consistently as possible is key to enhancing SEO.

Position as a Leader —To position your organization as a leader in your industry, it is important to produce fresh and unique content in a variety of outlets. For example, write articles about topics in your field and provide your own insight and suggestions. You may also comment on industry news, events or controversies.

Media Relations — If your business is producing quality content on a regular basis, media outlets will also begin to distinguish you as an expert in the field. This results in more positive publicity and media coverage for your organization. For example, if they should ever need advice or an interview on a related topic, your organization will come to mind first.

Know Your Audience and Their Needs

When you are creating content, determine who you are targeting. Some articles may be very general and intended to reach a broad audience while others may target specific groups. For example, you may write a general “Marketing Tips” article that is meant for any organization, or you may be writing suggestions specifically for restaurant owners. Once you have determined what is of interest to your audience, you can better cater your content to meet their needs.

Build a Content Library

Blog — Use your blog as your online content hub. Excellent content related to your industry and organization should be published weekly, at the very least. You may also add photos to your blog posts and embed related videos to incorporate a multimedia element.

Website — Your website should be complete with well-written, interesting and informative content. This is the most important element in influencing people whether or not to stay and return to a site. If your content is strong, readers will be more likely to visit your other Web pages and respond to any calls to action on your site, such as signing up for an e-newsletter or connecting with your organization via social media. Your goal with website content should be for people to become repeat visitors, link to your site and bookmark it.

Off-line — Even in this digital world, it is important to have an off-line library of content. From brochures to print newsletters, your organization should also have an off-line database of content to share with clients, potential customers and bring to meetings and presentations. A good library of information and strong content is vital to your organization’s marketing success.

Reinvent Your Content — Maintaining a client library on and off-line will make it that much easier for you to reinvent and recreate content. While you will always need to develop new content, reusing your existing material will make it that much easier to consistently produce content. You can also reformat your content to be published in different outlets. For example, you publish an article and then create a PowerPoint and video relating to the same material. Not only do you want to write what’s of interest, but also what will be easiest for you to devote the time to. Building upon already existing articles will be less time-consuming and ensure that your content is current. For example, if you wrote an article on Facebook advertising when the service was first created, the content needs an overview of newer features and tools for it to be accurate.

Schedule Your Content

It is important to determine what content you can create on an ongoing basis so you don’t encounter a shortage. You should be able to produce ongoing content that relates to your organization and builds upon its credibility. Whether you can produce weekly articles, monthly e-newsletters or daily tweets, it is crucial to always engage your audience with a fresh supply of content.

On the other hand, if you have a lot to say, don’t say it all at once. Having your content spread out gives your audience the opportunity to take in one thing at a time instead of being bombarded with multiple posts. Programs like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to schedule your tweets to keep your profile consistently updated. Likewise, you can schedule blog posts as well. Ideally, your blog should be updated at least twice a week.

Share Your Content

Social Media — Excellent content is easily and quickly spread on social media sites. If people read an article that is of interest to them, they may post the link on their Facebook wall to share with friends or tweet a small blurb about why their followers should check it out. Because of the 140-character limit on Twitter, we advise that you use a free service such as Bit.ly to shorten your URLs. This leaves more space for text and a call to action for your followers.

Article Directories — There are thousands of article directories that will enhance your Web visibility by publishing your content and offering backlinks to your website. These free directories, such as Bpubs, Articlesnatch, Articlecube and GetYourContent, sort articles in relevant categories so interested readers can easily browse through the database and find the information they are searching for. For example, if your law firm published an article, it would be published in the legal section of these directories.

Bookmarking Sites — Social bookmarking sites allow readers to favorite an article or website and share it with others. The top three social bookmarking sites are Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon. A tip is to include these icons and links in your blog so readers can easily share and bookmark posts. On WordPress, there is the option of adding social bookmarking, as well as social media icons, under the title of every post.

PRMG’s Case Study

At The Public Relations and Marketing Group, we regularly publish content on multiple platforms. Our blog and website serve as our content hubs. The focal point of our content strategy is our weekly e-newsletter. In our e-newsletter, we include a featured article, an advertising spotlight, and an overview of “What’s Happening at PRMG.” The “What’s Happening at PRMG” section includes public relations and marketing successes on behalf of our clients. These successes provide our audience with case studies of what we can do for their organization. Advertising spotlights are also easy to produce consistently. These spotlights are sent to us from media outlets, which we summarize and include as our suggestions for our audience. Our advertising spotlights provide valuable information and opportunities to those who may be interested. As successes and advertising spotlights occur, they are posted on Facebook and Twitter. This basically just leaves the featured article, which takes up roughly 4-6 hours of our time. However, we find that this article is helpful in educating our audience and positioning our organization as a thought leader. Any time we publish fresh content, we notify our audience through our social media sites, post it on our blog and see how we can add it to our website or microsites. We also utilize LinkedIn, article directories and social bookmarking sites to share our articles and favorite websites with a broader audience.

No, We Can’t Get You Those Results Overnight

Long-Term Strategies to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking Through Off-Page Optimization

With millions of Web pages flooding the Internet, search engines must sift through the clutter and develop a ranking system that allows the strongest sites to be given optimal exposure by placing them at the top of search engine results. Since the majority of website traffic comes from these major search engines, it is imperative that your site has a high ranking. Off-page SEO includes anything you can do to secure a high page rank for your website in order to reach the ultimate goal of high Web visibility for your organization. In contrast to on-page optimization, the phrase “off-page” refers to the ways to promote your website and enhance your search engine optimization outside of the pages within your own site.

The most important factors of off-page SEO are linking, link value, bookmarking, social media, blogging, press releases, articles and Web directories. These factors will help build quality links back to your website to help improve your site’s rank with search engines.

Linking — The most important off-page optimization factor is gaining inbound links that direct others to your website. The first step in securing inbound links is to produce fresh, interesting and flawless content. Search engines love unique and frequently updated content. Once your site is completed with strong content, a clear navigation scheme and carefully chosen keywords begin to request links from other sources. For example, reach out to bloggers and demonstrate that you read their site and understand their audience. Send them a link to the content you created that you think will be valuable to them. This is important because you are offering them something of value while increasing your own Web presence.

Keep in mind that there is such a thing as overdoing it with backlinking. If you build more than 50 backlinks in one day, search engines may treat you as a spammer, diminishing your site’s ranking. A good goal is to keep within the range of 10-15 backlinks per day. By integrating linking techniques into your Public Relations and Social Media strategy, you shouldn’t have a problem with this. For example, each time you contribute a press release, post the release to the free posting sites cited below. Likewise, each time you publish an article, post it to the article directories also discussed below.

Link Value — When building backlinks on the Web, it is important to understand link value. There are several factors that determine the value of your link:

• The first step is to determine whether the link is a no-follow or do-follow and always strive for the latter. For example, never leave links in the comment sections of blogs. These links will automatically be marked as no-follow, providing no SEO benefit.

• To get SEO authority, get as many backlinks as possible from as many high-authority sites as possible. The higher the authority of the page that your link is on, the more of this authority will transfer to your site. For instance, Google gives high authority to newspaper websites. Having an article published in these online papers with your link is worth a lot more than many other websites.

• A second factor is the number of other links on the page that is linking to you. The more links that are on that page, the less SEO benefit each is given.

• The anchor text of the link is also crucial to its strength. Be sure to use relevant keywords in the anchor text so you will rank higher for those keywords.

You can check your website link’s popularity at http://www.linkpopularity.com/. The higher your link popularity is, the higher your page ranking will be.

Bookmarking — Bookmarking is an effective means of driving traffic to your business’ website. On bookmarking sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, users can bookmark important Web pages that they visit regularly and would like to organize as favorites. Bookmarking sites are the hubs for one-click marks of approval. It is important to first check if your URL has already been listed on these sites and then, if it hasn’t, submit your link along with a website description, articles and tags. Each bookmarking site offers different features. For example, Delicious lets people bookmark a URL while others let users vote. Once your site is listed, encourage social media users who are on the myriad of social bookmarking sites to bookmark your website and post and vote for your articles. It is important to submit strong quality content to these social bookmarking sites that will attract reader interest and votes.

Popular bookmarking sites:
Digg
Reddit
Mixx
Delicious
StumbleUpon
Tweetmeme
Fark
Slashdot
Friendfeed
Newsvine
Diigo

Social Media — Aside from being a crucial marketing tool for your business, social media also provides great off-page SEO benefits. Social networking sites can improve natural search visibility for your organization. Sharing, commenting and linking are at the core of social media. This shared content can get your website exposure, traffic and possibly a high number of inbound links. Since you can reach a vast amount of people using social media, there is a greater likelihood of gaining more links, which is one element that major search engines look at when ranking sites. Anything that raises awareness of a business or a particular website is good for SEO. Keep in mind that social media sites are also “do not follow,” meaning you won’t get SEO benefits from just posting links to your site on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

Each of your social media profiles should link back to your business’ main website in a variety of ways. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the main social networking outlets that your organization should have a presence on, but there are many sites to choose from. Facebook status updates, your profile descriptions and tweets especially should include links to drive traffic to your website.

Popular social media sites:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube
Flickr
Myspace
MyLife
FourSquare
Vimeo
Photobucket
Avvo (attorneys)
JDSupra (attorneys)

Blogging — The major advantages of having a blog are that you will establish your company as a thought leader in your industry, change your site from an online brochure to a living, breathing hub and give your visitors a way to engage with you. Blogs also provide off-page SEO benefit by driving readers back to your website in order to learn more about your business. It is necessary for blogs to produce fresh, unique content so make sure to update your page at least once a week. Include keywords in the titles of your entries and diversify your posts by adding video and photos. Within the actual text, turn keyword phrases into hyperlinks to point to your website. Once you’ve started your blog, promote your entries by posting your link on social media outlets, bookmarking sites and discussion forums such as Yahoo! Forums and LinkedIn Answers. Also, interact with other bloggers to gain exposure. In order to build a name for yourself in the vast blogosphere, it is important to interact with bloggers who write about your field. Add to the discussion in the comment sections of another blogger’s work. Likewise, make sure that your readers can leave comments on your own blog and subscribe via RSS and email. Maintaining an effective blog is key to maximizing your off-page optimization strategy.

At The Public Relations and Marketing Group, we use WordPress to host our blog and would highly recommend using this site. However, there are other popular blogging sites out there such as Blogger, Blogspot and Tumblr. We generally recommend that businesses incorporate their blog into their website versus a separate site. This way, your blogging and link-building will benefit your website and you won’t have to work on SEO for two separate sites. However, doing this does involve a bit more programming when setting up your site.

Press Releases — Publishing professional news and press releases in various online outlets is crucial to your off-page optimization success. Posting press releases, media advisories, media availabilities and events is a great way to generate interest in your organization and drive traffic back to your website. Each time your release is posted on another website, the inbound link from that page to your website helps increase your SEO rank. It is important to write releases that are complete with keyword-rich language used by your audience and to include links that point to a specific offer or landing page on your site.

Consider using a service such as NewsEdge, Dow Jones Factiva, LexisNexis and Marketwire to deliver raw press releases.

Free press release sites:
www.longisland.com (regional)
www.openPR.com
www.prLog.com
www.pressmethod.com
www.pr-usa.net
www.PR.com
www.PR9.net
www.pressabout.com
www.press-base.com
www.prbuzz.com
www.PRUrgent.com

Articles — Publishing articles is a great way to demonstrate your area of expertise and portray yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Strong articles can also lead readers back to your business’ website. At the end of your article, place a link back to your website. Add links back to your site for related articles as well. If the article is thought-provoking and interesting to your audience, readers may feel compelled to share it with others, learn more about your business and click on your backlinks.

Thousands of online article directories will publish your articles for free and enhance your Web visibility by offering backlinks to your website.

Free article directories:
www.bpubs.com
www.articlesnatch.com
www.joinandpost.com
www.articlecube.com
www.articlesbase.com
www.ezinearticles.com
www.isnare.com
www.articlealley.com
www.articledashboard.com
www.businessknowhow.com
www.buzzle.com

Web Directories — Free Web directories are great for listing your website and quickly building your link popularity. These sites can help to boost your website’s rankings on popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo! by categorizing link submissions. Web directories list websites by category and subcategory so that readers can easily find what they’re searching for. There are several paid and unpaid Web directories and it is best to take advantage of the free directories first.

Free Web directories that offer a one-way text link:
www.dmoz.org
www.geniusfind.com
www.busybits.com
www.hotfrog.com
www.somuch.com
www.skoobe.biz
www.gimpsy.com
www.exactseek.com
www.clickey.com
www.canlinks.net
www.zeezo.com
www.surfsafely.com

Track Your Progress — Once you’ve implemented these off-page SEO techniques, it is important to monitor your progress over time. Monitor your keyword ranking with a program such as Web CEO. Website Grader is also an excellent program to monitor the strength of your site and best of all, it’s free. Using Website Grader, you can build a custom report for your website to determine its strengths and weaknesses. It is important to regularly monitor your grade and make changes as needed.

On-Page Optimization and Keywords

Working with Domains

• Pick a domain name that has potential keywords in it.
• Choose to pre-pay your domain for a few years in advance. Genuine sites plan on staying around for a while.
• If you’re using a shared server, you may want to do a blacklist check. If you have spammers on your server, you share the same IP address with them and so you may be considered a spammer.
• There are multiple ways to reach your home page; make sure your site is set up to redirect the other ways. For example, yourcompany.com, www.yourcompany.com, yourcompany.com/index.html, www.yourcompany.com/index.html all should redirect to the one you pick. Google considers these to be four separate pages, instead of one.
• Name your Web pages using keywords, for example, www.yourcompany.com/keyword1-keyword2.html.
• Never block your domain registration information using a privacy feature. Doing so may cause search engines to consider you a spammer for your anonymity.

Use Proper Programming

• Use the words “image” or “picture” in your photo alt descriptions and captions. A lot of searches are for a keyword plus one of those words.
• Make sure you have at least one text-based navigation link to make it easy for search engines to find the other pages of your site. Search engines have trouble following links using JavaScript-based images. These alternate text-based navigations are usually found at the bottom of a site.
• Stay away from developing websites with Frames because you cannot link to a specific page of the site. Use Flash and Ajax minimally. Search engines cannot read anything inside Flash and cannot see inside the Frames.
• If you MUST have a splash page with Flash or something of the sort, you also MUST place content and link text below it.
• If you aren’t too slick with CSS, putting your menu on the right-hand side will ensure spiders will crawl your main content first (after). Spiders read sites top to bottom, left to right. • Get rid of code bloat. JavaScript and CSS code should be moved to separate external files. • Make a dynamic XML sitemap to submit to search engines. • You should have a customized error page. If a potential customer finds a broken link, they can be supplied with links back to the site. • You should have a robots.txt file which is used to restrict search engines from reaching certain parts of your site. It also tells search engines where your dynamic XML sitemap is located.

Displaying Your Content

• Keep your content text-based as much as possible. Search engines cannot read text that is embedded in an image. If you use images, make sure you assign an alt tag and title tag to each image. An alt tag is seen when the image cannot be displayed. It is also used by the visually impaired.
• Keep your content changing and fresh. Outdated content will rank lower than more recent content.
• If your site’s content does not change often, then your site needs a blog. Once you have a blog, it’s important TO BLOG ON IT or you will receive little to no results. Crawlers crawl for content; if your site’s content doesn’t change, the crawler will come back less and less often. Three blogs entries a week is proficient.
• You should have a good content-to-code ratio. This means, even though you enjoy spinning images, with cool effects, and flashy junk, your content-to-code ratio is poor. A blank white page with optimal content will always do better than code-stuffed junk pages.
• If you are writing a substantial article, then you are most likely dealing with sub-topics. These sub-topics should be split in to separate pages with their own optimizations.
• Put high-quality outbound links related to your Web site. This doesn’t mean you should link to your competitor; it means you should link to a site that is within the realm of what your site is about and use the keywords considered by Google for that site. This shows users that you are in good faith and not a spammer. A higher ranking will give you more traffic than outbound links. People leave when they haven’t found what they’re looking for; chances are you’d have lost them anyway.

Using Keywords

• Pick relevant keywords that potential customers may search for. Try to stay away from very popular keywords. The more competition for a keyword, the harder it is to rank high with it. Try narrowing your keyword phrases by adding a location or town.
• Use keyword phrases in the content on your pages and in the headings. Repeat keywords throughout the content making some bold or italicized – this tells search engines that these words are more important. Make sure each page has a good amount of content – search engines love a lot of text.
• Don’t try to cram keywords and pull a fast one on a search engine spider. Programmers are constantly rewriting code to find people who try to abuse the spider, and they will find you eventually. So basically, BE LEGITIMATE – write content for a reader and NOT a spider.
• Use keyword phrases in the title of each Web page. Each page should have a unique title. Don’t list your company name in your title – most potential customers won’t be searching for you specifically. The words towards the beginning of the title should be the most important.
• Use the keyword and description meta tags in your site. Each page should have unique keywords and descriptions.
• It is always best to use keywords in anchor text (links). “SEO tips” is always a better anchor text than “Click here.” Crawlers also consider the surrounding text nearest to the anchor.
• Give each page a focus on a single keyword phrase. Don’t try to optimize the page for several keywords at once.
• Rather than repeating the same keyword over and over again, it is best to use the keyword’s synonyms. This keeps your content more interesting for readers, and Google won’t think you’re a keyword abuser.
• The best places for juicy keywords is the beginning and end of your page. Sometimes that’s not where it “looks” best to viewers; in such cases, it’s optimal to use CSS to place your keywords at the top of the source and not change the visual layout.

“Blackhat” Methods

Avoid using these methods to prevent blacklisting by Google and other search engines:
• Having duplicate websites.
• Auto-generated content.
• Repeating the keyword in your content too often.
• Redirecting the home page.
• Using small pixel text or hidden text on your pages. For example, white text on white background.
• Submitting your site to a “link farm.”
• Cloaking: this means displaying a different version of your web site, depending on the IP address of those accessing it.
• Registering many domains and interlinking them all.

Using Public Relations To Drive Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

PRMG - Search Engine OptimizationThe Web can be a great place to showcase your product or service and get out your message directly to your customers. However, with the evolution of the Web into a crowded marketplace, being found easily by your target audience can often be a challenge. By strengthening your online presence and improving your rankings in search engines, you can enable consumers and media to find you at the precise moment that they are looking for information or need a particular product or service that you can provide.

Wikipedia defines Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a Web site from search engines through search results. Usually, the higher a site ranks in search results, the more traffic it receives from search engines.

 In simple words, SEO is mostly based on three steps:

• Identifying a profitable key phrase
• Creating content around the key phrase
• Building backlinks around the key phrase and other relevant content

Backlinks are clickable words, phrases or images that take a user from one Web page to another. While quality and not just quantity of the links is important, more and more backlinks to your site can help improve your search engine rankings.

Traditionally, SEO has only been associated with marketing and Web development, with a focus on Web site usability and architecture. While optimizing Web copy, graphics and multimedia files for search engines is important, most organizations ignore the importance of public relations in driving SEO results.

Here are a few PR tips and techniques that can be used to achieve better SEO results:

News Releases
With most journalists increasingly looking online for information, e-mail pitches alone are not very effective. By posting the latest news releases about your company on online news distribution services and your Web site, you can ensure that journalists can easily access newsworthy information about your company.

Besides journalists, most consumers and other target audiences use the Web as their primary source of information. This has changed the traditional public relations practice of distributing press releases exclusively to the media. Press releases can now serve as a great tool to directly reach your target audience with the latest news and information about your company or organization, and direct them to your product or service.

PRMG uses free online press release services like PRlog.org to ensure that your latest announcement reaches not just the media, but also your target audience when they look for you or a relevant phrase associated with you online. PRLog distributes press releases to search engines, including Google News. So when someone searches for your company or organization, the latest information about you can be easily found within the first three search result pages.

Using tools like Wordtracker, we can identify keywords and phrases that can be included in the headline and copy of the news release. However, it is important to strike a balance between including keywords and content relevant to your audience. If keywords are overused, search engines will reject your press release. By including links to your Web site in the body of the press release, we create additional backlinks that help optimize your site better and contribute to improving its rankings.

Submitting Articles
Submitting bylined articles to relevant online publications and Web sites can be a great way to not just strengthen your online presence and SEO, but also help to display your organization’s expertise and thought leadership, when someone searches for you online.

Again, the quality of links is important; getting placed in a top-tier publication will boost your search engine optimization much more. Creating profiles for your organization and listing your Web site URL on article directory sites such as Ezine Articles, Article Base and Scribd.com, will help optimize your site and establish your credibility as an expert in your field.

While submitting the article, be sure to include information about yourself and your business (including a hyperlink to your Web site in the ‘author’s resource box.’ This will help drive traffic to your Web site and expand your presence online.

Articles should also contain relevant keywords in the body of the article with hyperlinks that go back to your site. For example, an article on refinancing can include a hyperlink to the keyword ‘refinancing’ which takes the reader back to a page on the company’s Web site that talks about their refinancing services. It is important not to include too many keywords and to include links relevant to the keyword, or the article directories may reject your article, depending on their editorial submission guidelines. When people go to these sites looking for content, they will find your article. If they find your content useful and engaging, they will be more likely to follow through and visit your Web site.

Using Public Relations to Drive Your SEO

The Web can be a great place to showcase your product or service and get out your message directly to your customers. However, with the evolution of the Web into a crowded marketplace, being found easily by your target audience can often be a challenge. By strengthening your online presence and improving your rankings in search engines, you can enable consumers and media to find you at the precise moment that they are looking for information or need a particular product or service that you can provide.

Wikipedia defines Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a Web site from search engines through search results. Usually, the higher a site ranks in search results, the more traffic it receives from search engines. In simple words, SEO is mostly based on three steps:

• Identifying a profitable key phrase
• Creating content around the key phrase
• Building backlinks around the key phrase and other relevant content

Backlinks are clickable words, phrases or images that take a user from one Web page to another. While quality and not just quantity of the links is important, more and more backlinks to your site can help improve your search engine rankings.

Traditionally, SEO has only been associated with marketing and Web development, with a focus on Web site usability and architecture. While optimizing Web copy, graphics and multimedia files for search engines is important, most organizations ignore the importance of public relations in driving SEO results.

Here are a few PR tips and techniques that can be used to achieve better SEO results:

News releases
With most journalists increasingly looking online for information, e-mail pitches alone are not very effective. By posting the latest news releases about your company on online news distribution services and your Web site, you can ensure that journalists can easily access newsworthy information about your company.

Besides journalists, most consumers and other target audiences use the Web as their primary source of information. This has changed the traditional public relations practice of distributing press releases exclusively to the media. Press releases can now serve as a great tool to directly reach your target audience with the latest news and information about your company or organization, and direct them to your product or service.

In The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David M. Scott offers a great example of how this can be done effectively. While researching on marketing programs that deliver revenue faster and help shorten the sales cycle, he googled the phrase “accelerate your sales cycle.” The highest-ranked result on Google was for a press release for a new product by WebEx, a company that provides online collaboration services. The press release, distributed through an online news release service, had direct links pointing to WebEx’s site with additional links to free trial offers for their services. The release had been optimized for relevant search terms and phrases, so that people searching for those phrases could find it easily.

Using tools like Wordtracker, you can identify keywords and phrases that can be included in the headline and copy of the news release. However, it is important to strike a balance between including keywords and content relevant to your audiences. If keywords are overused, search engines will reject your press release.

Submitting articles
Submitting bylined articles to relevant online publications and Web sites can be a great way to not just strengthen your online presence and SEO, but also help to display your organization’s expertise and thought leadership. Again, the quality of links is important; getting placed in a top-tier publication will boost your search engine optimization much more. Submitting blog articles or articles from your organization’s internal newsletter can also be a great way to generate additional clicks without creating new content.

Participating in blogs, online forums and microblogs
Starting your own blog with content that includes relevant keywords and internal links to your Web site can be a great way to optimize your Web site. Since blogs can be updated more frequently, search engines looking for fresh content will rank it higher and make it more searchable. Participating in forums relevant to your industry or field, you can drive your message to a highly targeted group. A good way to contribute to online forums is to post questions or comments with a link to your site. Posting your Web site URL to your Twitter profile or including your Web site link in a direct message to new followers can also help boost traffic to your Web site.

For more information on our social media and digital marketing services, contact PRMG at johnzaher@theprmg.com.