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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should, ideally, be applied to all online marketing and PR initiatives. It’s in the interests of search engines to deliver relevant, useful content to users and of PR pros to publish content that answers consumer and media demand. In a world where every company is a media company, it is not a choice to take this approach; instead it is the future.

SEO is a win-win situation for companies and search engines, which is partly why (as well as for advertising purposes) the engines opensource search data. Companies can either use the data to answer consumer and media demand or their competitors will. It is as simple as that. Even with the proliferation of social, search demand holds steady: ComScore reports more than 16.7 billion explicit core searches conducted in June 2011. And with 100 per cent of journalists using Google to research stories, according to a Cision and GW University study, no PR pro can ignore search. The news for PR also keeps getting better: SEO as a stand-alone tactic is dying a slow death. Why? Because it is no longer just the domain of SEO professionals: all communications professionals need to be fluent in optimization. We all need to know what makes a technicallyfriendly website and how to market web content so that it will get passed on by users while concurrently improving search performance. The two activities do not happen in isolation. These are the basic steps to get started with integrating SEO with PR.

10 | The Changing Face of Communications

Develop a customer/media-centric keyword glossary Start by building a list of keywords that are pain point-oriented for customers and media. But ensure that these keywords are not just terms you think are important: they must have search demand behind them. Free tools like the Google AdWords keyword tool or paid tools like SEM Rush provide the data necessary to help you make decisions when creating the glossary. Be sure to group your glossary into relevant categories to provide greater ease of use, and begin to matrix out web assets that are already optimized for each keyphrase. This way, you not only have a guide for how to title new content but also a record for referencing existing assets. After the glossary is created and approved, you’ll need to do two things. The first is to socialize the glossary to your team members and existing marketing partners and ensure its use is enforced as part of content creation processes. The second is to treat the glossary as a living, breathing document that evolves over time – after all, consumer and media demand is in constant flux.