Question: How can public relations improve my search results?

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Answer: One of the most effective forms of promotion is a combination of PR and marketing. It involves things such as writing press releases, contributed articles, and pitching customer testimonials and case studies in order to get editorial placement in consumer or trade publications (online and print).

Companies must walk a fine line between promoting a product and providing acceptable editorial source material, but when done right it can reap significant benefits for the marketer. Positive customer testimonials are one of the most effective promotional tools and, if a story gets placed, the fact that the publication has published the article as editorial legitimizes the news. Together, those factors provide a level of credibility that is hard to achieve with other marketing techniques.

Today, some PR companies are using search engine optimization techniques to help clients climb in the rankings. Most of the focus by marketers on SEO has been in optimizing the company Web site. However, this limited view of search engine optimization rarely gets a company into the coveted top slot of keyword search results by itself.

Properly optimized, news and feature articles optimized and distributed by public relations companies can vault clients to the top of major news and search engine rankings.

What is surprising is the speed at which properly optimized material can impact news and search engine rankings. Many companies, within days of distributing an optimized news article over major wire services and on key industry Web sites, reach the top of news search engine results under their keyword terms.

As these articles are distributed through major wire services and posted on key industry Web sites, the major search engines begin to locate and index the releases. If the article is properly optimized with hyperlinks back to the company’s Web site, there will be a corresponding increase to a company’s overall search engine ranking over time as well.

John W. Elliott is CEO-founder of Power PR, a marketing public relations company. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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