What pros should know about Google’s PR standard for SEO

If you’re not an SEO expert, wading through Google’s murky waters can be hard. One digital marketer offers a few tips to get you started and improve your ranking.

Google updates its search engine algorithm constantly.

In an effort to outfox the SEO industry and avoid attempts at manipulation, Google uses as many as 200 different parameters to rank your website. It has made SEO cheating nearly impossible.

Despite this, neophyte PR professionals can use their communications and content generation skills to keep websites well-positioned in organic rankings. Here’s how:

Navigating inbound Links

Google based its website rankings on inbound links (clickable text on another site that links to your own). For SEO ranking, this is the “glue of the Internet.”

Despite this, there are loopholes. One is through content provision sites. These publish a link to your website if, in exchange, you provide an article for their visitors. It’s important to consider that the website owner could provide the same piece for different content provision sites. That process is called article marketing.

Additionally, press releases that include a link to your website could be widely published, and each location they appear represents another inbound link. Some organizations do this to expand business.

Link farms (sites consisting of pages and pages of links) have become common, too. You can now buy a link from a link farm to improve your website ranking.

A neutral gatekeeper

Google’s engineers have eliminated the effectiveness of the strategies above.

Today, the most powerful inbound links to improve your search engine ranking are provided by a “neutral gatekeeper.” PR professionals should be familiar with this concept because it represents the main difference between PR and advertising.

Advertising (paid) is different from public relations (unpaid). Content, however, is a key element of this distinction. Advertisers can choose any content they wish, but a public relations story is evaluated by a “neutral gatekeeper” or a journalist or editor who decides if the article is newsworthy. This person can delete any part of the content deemed unsuitable for the publication’s readers.

Google’s PR standard

Today, the Google search engine algorithm determines your website’s SEO ranking based on a link’s merit. If a third party publishes a link to your website after evaluating the value of your content, Google will increase your SEO ranking.

This new emphasis encourages original content and increases its value. If you write an article for an online publication—and editors choose to publish it—its link to your website makes your ranking go up. RELATED: Free download: 10 punctuation essentials.

Many PR pros are capable of creating good content. Their skills are a good fit for this new SEO emphasis. Before you go rushing out to your clients with your authorial excellence, however, you need to know a few more things about inbound links:

· Both the quantity and the quality of inbound links are evaluated. One link from The New York Times will be worth a lot more than a plethora of links from lesser-known publications.

· Links from your field are worth more than those from unrelated organizations. And links to your interior pages, called “deep links” are worth more than links to your home page. This is why running a blog from your website is a good idea.

Creating original content is critical to online success. PR pros are in a good position to succeed in search engine optimization today.

Willy Gissen is the founder of Cut-It-Out Communications, a full-service Westchester public relations agency. He also maintains a company blog on politics and current events.

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