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How Earned Media Can Help Your Site’s SEO

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On the surface, it doesn’t seem that earned media and search engine optimization (SEO) have much in common let alone any connection. Yet, they can work together in a way to boost your marketing communication efforts.

This isn’t to say that it will. They don’t have to work together at all. Like many things in life, it’s a choice. You can choose to learn how to use them as a one-two punch or you can choose to let them work separately to good effect but to a lesser effect that’s possible.

The world has changed. Marketing and public relations have been coming together. Over the last ten years, this has been accelerating so it’s only fitting that a public relations and a marketing tactic could come together thanks to the PESO model.

What does that mean for earned media? In many ways, it hasn’t changed but in one way it gives us something new. Something very important.

What is Earned Media?

Earned media, better known to most people as media relations, has long been perceived as the backbone of PR and it’s with good reason. For decades it is for what PR for has primarily been known.

Traditionally, media relations is the process of placing a story with a media outlet such as television, print, or radio. It has been like this for decades. If you want to get a story in the media, you need to work with a PR person to get it done.

As the digital age has grown so have our options for getting our content published. Traditional media outlets also have websites. Blogs have also become popular covering every topic you can think of while cultivating their own followings.

Not only do we have more options where to place content but we also can be more targeted in where we place them. If I write an article about the craft beer industry I can pitch it to multiple magazines and blogs.

What is SEO?

SEO is a mystery to many people. Because of this, there is confusion about what it does. I myself didn’t even hear about SEO for the first time until 2012.

SEO is a way to influence the results that someone sees when they enter information into a search engine such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo. The higher the ranking on a search engine results page (SERP) the more likely it is that somebody will click a link to visit your site (research has shown that the first two links on a SERP account for 54% of the clicks).

There are many things that impact SEO efforts but the most well known are keywords. If you sell Toyota’s in Fargo you might use the keywords “Toyota” or “Toyota Fargo”. Those are basic examples. Keywords and keyword research is its own article.

As I previously stated, there is more to SEO than keywords. Another element is domain authority (DA) which reflects the relevance of a website on a scale from 1-100. The higher the DA score the more relevance it has. If site A with a DA of 68 and site B with a DA of 25 both publish an article on business software, site A will rank higher on the SERP because it has more relevance.

You’re probably thinking at this point, “How do I raise my site’s DA?” It’s a great question. You can raise your DA by getting backlinks from sites with a higher DA than your site. A backlink is when a site links to your site.

For example, I recently re-worked an article I wrote on this blog, “Should you invest in Hiring an Agency?” for another site. The new article included a link back to the original article on my site. The linking site has a higher DA than mine so it will help boost my DA.

How Earned Media Will Boost Your SEO Efforts

When determining who you are going to pitch, you need to keep two things top of mind. First, you need to do some research using a tool such as Moz or SEMRush to find the DA score of the sites your pitching (check your own as well if you don’t already know it). You would want to focus on sites that have a higher DA than yours.

Second, when your pitching, you need to make sure to always ask for a backlink because it is going to give your site the juice to raise its DA. There are some sites that might balk. Note them and avoid them if possible.

The more sites that include a backlink, the more you will see your site’s DA improve. This will only help you as you compete for SERP placement. Remember, the higher your rank on a SERP, the more likely somebody will click the link and visit.

Final Thoughts

While many elements of earned media have stayed the same, some have also changed. Asking for backlinks as part of your pitch is a strategy to help build your site’s relevance. The higher it’s relevance, the better your chance at competing against sites for keywords (it all works together).

More visitors will increase the chance of getting people to convert a customer. So, make sure you are using earned media to help your SEO efforts.

Shane Carpenter
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