I believe it is well known by now, that when it comes to SEO, content is one of the most important ranking factors to search engines, especially offsite content, which is where people are getting ‘in touch’ with your brand before they even visit your website. This type of content sends trust signals to search engines and helps you improve your organic rankings. Offsite content or offsite placements come in various forms and flavours.
1. The link building article.
This is content intended to pass link juice to your website; usually it is shorter in length and contains a natural and contextual do-follow link, with or without anchor text optimisation.
2. The press release.
The press release has always been a tool for making new brands/services/products known to a list of outlets, with the expectation of someone asking for more, resulting in further exposure. Usually, press releases are short, have no links, and their purpose is to increase awareness about something specific. They are sent out as mass media, as opposed to singular publications, and ideally, target relevant platforms.
3. The digital PR article.
This is the king of offsite content. A digital PR piece is long, thorough, useful content. Your brand’s name here is not necessarily the focus, but the topic has to have a strong correlation with your brand message. PR articles are found in the best online media outlets, and the primary end goal here is to obtain brand mentions and awareness.
How different types of earned media affect your SEO efforts.
Different types of earned media affect your SEO in different ways:
- Link building articles give you the most control over the SEO part of your content, you can choose the topic, you get the link juice, and you can decide the specific keywords/URLs that you want to target. However, this is not a win only situation; link building may be “frowned upon” by search engines if not done correctly. It is not considered a black hat technique, but it is a road that you need to be cautious about if you choose it. There are many articles online explaining how link building needs to be done to ensure it is effective and safe for your website.
- Press releases offer close to no SEO value in most cases. Unless you are a well-established brand and every product you launch is newsworthy, a press release will not shift your rankings at all. Press releases are an online residue from offline ages. They might help you get your new service known or pick the interest of relevant press, but the chances are slim.
- It may be surprising, but digital PR will not affect your SEO much at all. This outcome is because sizeable online media outlets typically do not offer links (or at least do-follow links). What digital PR can do for you on a large scale is to raise brand awareness. This can lead to an increase in branded keywords search volume, which will certainly help your brand. In order to capitalise, SEO-wise, on your digital PR campaign success there are some actions that you need to consider.
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Mixing different types of offsite content to drive traffic and rankings.
The direct “SEO power” of different types of offsite content stands like this: Link building > Digital PR (with no links) > Press releases.
But, is there a way to effectively use all of the above and capitalise on rankings and traffic? Of course, there is!
Put simply, the goal of this strategy is to drive a mix of organic and assisted links to your website with less effort and using your budget more effectively.
Create a highly valuable piece of content based on original research. It must relate to your brand, but it does not have to promote your product or company. You can rely your efforts on the consumer habits of your target audience. For example, let’s say that you are a travelling agency, focusing on the affluent traveller. DO NOT go with another top 5 luxury destinations travel guide. Instead, relate to your target audience and find out what they are doing when not travelling. Create a piece that offers a list (or an interactive map) with the best wines of Italy and France with info about the regions, titles of wines, best years, and so on.
Let the relevant press know that you have this type of content. Be smart about whom you contact; organise your outreach strategy around the best media outlets, for now – try not to focus on more than 2 or 3. Peak the interest of a journalist and ask them to write an article.
This step is important! Do not give everything away. If you want to drive links, you need to have a reason for people to link to your website. Keep some data visualisations just for your blog/news section. Ask people to link to you to “find out” more.
Setup your tools. Setup Google Alerts with key phrases of your content and brand. This will be useful for the link acquisition part of this strategy.
Monitor incoming links with a tool like Majestic.
Encourage your content to travel with hybrid link building. Build links to your original content on your blog and to the best articles that you got from notable publications. This way you will pass link juice not only to your domain but by pointing links to your PR article, that is already on a strong domain, you can help it rank for relevant keywords.
Explore missing link opportunities. Remember setting up your Google Alerts? While most big publications do not offer link opportunities, that is not the case for many smaller ones. Collate a list with all of the mentions you got from various websites and plan an outreach campaign to ask them to link back to you. This technique works a lot with medium-small sized blogs/websites and can help you acquire a significant number of links with minimum effort.
Always have in mind Step number 1, it is the most critical part of every offsite content strategy you put in place. Content is king, and you should treat it like that. Always make sure that you offer real value to your readers and prospects.
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