As a public relations consulting firm, you know how to communicate in a way that’s clear and effective. But do you know how to translate that communication expertise into website content that will get your firm found by potential customers?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website so that it’s easy for users to find on search engines. In today’s digital world, this is hugely important; there are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google. Simply put, when people search for a product or service, they search online. SEO is how you can help them find you.
With that in mind, here are five tips to SEO for PR consulting firms.
1. Create a Keyword Sitemap
A keyword sitemap is a grid that matches the relevant keywords to your company with the pages you’d like to optimize for each one.
There are a host of benefits to constructing a keyword sitemap:
- Make sure that users searching a term find the page on your site that has information relevant to that term.
- Reduce competition for the same term among your pages, and increase your site’s ability to target a breadth of long-tail search terms.
- Create a roadmap for your SEO strategy as you go about optimizing on-page content.
2. Focus on Local SEO and long-tail keywords.
Of course, to create the keyword sitemap, you’ll need to choose which keywords you’ll be focusing on.
There are three main factors that you should consider when choosing your keywords: frequency of search, level of competition, and relevancy.
You can start choosing keywords by conducting a bit of research to find what your customers are searching for. As a PR consulting firm, you might might use “PR consulting firm” or “PR consulting services” to start. From there, you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or this keyword tool to generate suggested keywords – terms that are related to your initial keyword phrase.
It’s helpful to use a tool that will show you the average monthly searches for specific keywords, so that you can make targeted selections based upon the amount of search traffic that certain terms receive. Maybe “PR consulting firm” is searched less than “public relations consulting”, or maybe “Maryland PR consulting” is searched more than “PR consulting firms in Maryland”. The differences in terms are subtle, and search engines are also improving in determining the semantics of search queries so that similar terms yield similar results, but search volume data is still helpful in deciding which keywords to target.
Often, tools (Google, Hubspot, Moz) will also show you the level of competition around certain keywords – that is, how many businesses are focusing on the same keywords. Obviously, the more competition around a certain phrase, the more difficult it is to rank for.
That’s why, for most PR consultants, concentrating on local SEO and long tail keywords is the most effective strategy. Note that long tail keywords are keywords that are composed of multi-word phrases, as opposed to short, broad keywords.
Long tail, local keywords are generally searched less frequently, but they also tend to have less competition and be more relevant to your business. Consider a fictional PR consulting firm. If they’re based in Frederick, Maryland, then the search term “best PR consulting firm in Frederick, Maryland” is much more relevant to them than the term “public relations”. People who search the first term are likely in Frederick, Maryland, and are considering options for purchasing PR consulting services. They’re further along in the buying process, which means that they’re more likely to buy.
So, it’s not only easier to rank highly for local, long-tail keyword terms, but the traffic that these terms generate is also more likely to turn into customers.
3. Optimize page content and meta data
Of course, choosing your keywords is only the beginning. The next step is actually optimizing your website to be found for the terms that are relevant to your PR consulting firm. To be honest, it would be possible to dedicate years of research and articles to each of these last three tips – that’s why hiring an expert SEO firm can be helpful.
Don’t be overwhelmed, though. If you stick to the basics of SEO, good things can still happen. Here’s what we recommend for optimizing on-page content.
- Include keywords at a density great enough to be noticed, but not high enough to undercut the user experience. There’s no longer a “magic density” that search engines will credit to get your page to the top of the results. If you’re writing content towards a keyword, include that keyword multiple times in the content, as appropriate. Don’t overstuff.
- Include keywords in header text, hyperlinks, and styled text. Search engines will pay extra attention to text that is styled, so if you include your keywords in your content in the form of headings, hyperlinks, etc., they’ll be counted with greater weight.
- Include your keywords in your title tags and meta descriptions. Usually, you can match your title tags up pretty closely with the keywords you’ve chosen on your keyword sitemap. For WordPress sites, use a plugin like Yoast SEO to make things easy on yourself.
4. Nurture your network of backlinks.
PR consulting firms are uniquely positioned to create a reputable network of backlinks. Backlinks are an important component of SEO; they’re one of the primary tools that Google and other search engines use to determine where to rank your site, based on the premise that lots of people linking to you means that your site is trustworthy.
Our tip for PR consulting firms is this: use your real-life network to generate a network of backlinks.
Here’s how it can work: the depth of service that you (as a PR consulting firm) provide nearly always results in deep relationships with clients and vendors in related industries, and you can put those relationships to SEO use by asking your clients and vendors to feature content from your site.
Who are your best customers? Consider asking them to give your website a shout out on their own site’s blog – or even just to mention you in passing, while linking to your site. Do the same with businesses that you use services from, or from your trusted vendors. As a B2B business, you can leverage your business relationships to create a network of backlinks to your site.
And offer to return the favor! After all, outbound links to reputable sites are yet another factor Google uses to determine page rank, and your partners are sure to appreciate it.
4. Start a blog to showcase your expertise.
Finally, marketing your expertise is something we talk about a lot. When it comes down to it, as a PR consultant, your expertise is the reason your customers do business with you (as we explain in this ebook). They trust and respect your opinions and services because you’ve proven your expertise. Starting a blog is the perfect way to showcase that expertise in a way that will resonate with your audience – and it will help you with SEO, too.
That’s because a blog offers endless chances for targeting long-tail keywords. Every time you publish a blog post, you add another page to your site for search engines to index. That’s good in itself (page/word counts and frequency of content updates are two more search engine rank factors), but when you specifically gear those pages and posts towards longer keywords, you’re SEO rank for those terms skyrockets.
As a PR consulting firm, blog content will come easily. Blogs offer chances to showcase your expertise, and they offer chances to be found. Don’t miss out.
Next Steps in SEO for PR Consultants
You’ve got this! Now get out there get found by the right customers.
Jon is an inbound strategist with a passion for helping clients take the mystery out of their marketing. His goal is to write about digital marketing using as little jargon as possible. He’s watched a few too many Pittsburgh sporting events.