Implied links—what they are and how to gauge their impact

Google’s new algorithm makes mentions on blogs or in the media far more valuable in terms of where your brand is ranking in searches.

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1. Search query volumes: Increases in the volumes of search queries that include either brand terms, or terms strongly associated with the brand, industry, or product that lead visitors to the organizations’ website are difficult to measure perfectly—Google masks a lot of search query data—but some do make it through to the analytics programs that organizations use to tabulate Web traffic. Talk to your Web metrics guru about gaining access to the reports. Important note: You’ll also have to connect with the team handling website optimization for your organization about what keywords and phrases they’re targeting, and which URLs are associated with each term. You’ll want to make a point of using those terms (or near derivatives) when relevant to your message. You’ll also want to include links to the related target URL in your releases. 2. Inbound traffic to specific web pages: Including a URL that links to a specific (and relevant) Web page in press releases, blog posts, social bios, and other digital media—rather than dumping readers onto the home page and forcing them to search for information related to what they just read—is crucial in helping people get to the right Web page. These links are trackable, and in working with your organization’s Web team, you should be able to measure increases in inbound traffic to specific pages. 3. Lead quality or conversion rate: What happens once someone has clicked on a link you placed in a press release? The next step that visitor takes is an important one on the buying journey, and it’s something your marketing team is monitoring closely. The PR team can have a tremendous impact in generating an influx of well-qualified prospects to the organization’s website. If you’re monitoring the traffic that PR generates through trackable URLs, you can also track the quality of those leads, and the subsequent conversion rates. These are the sort of data that can be equated to revenue—and will make a CFO sit up and take notice. 4. Improved search rank for key pages: Increases in search rank for key Web pages for specific sets of terms. Over time, the implied links and earned media the PR team generates should improve the search ranking of specific pages on the brand’s website. Garnering those results—and maintaining them, which requires sustained effort—are some of the truest measures of the value of the media coverage and mentions the brand has earned.

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