Last night, a small business owner called me to ask how I could help him get better organic search results for his website.
There is no magic formula or silver bullet. It boils down to a lot of hard work. You achieve results after investing sustained effort, over time. The secret to earning well-placed organic search results (listings on search engine result pages — like Google or Bing — that appear because of their relevance to search terms, rather than pay-per-click advertising) is to create content that people find enjoyable and/or useful, that they will then share with friends and colleagues.
There are a dozen or more ways you can do this, but these are my three main recommendations:
1. Create a well-organized website that imparts useful and relevant information in an accessible way and that is optimized for search (text elements, little or no flash, meta tags, keywords, alt-tags, headers, etc).
2. Integrate a blog that you update weekly with brief, informative, and relevant posts that resonate with your audience. Naturally, the blog should be integrated into your email communications, Twitter profile, and Facebook Page, and should have prominent email subscription and sharing options.
3. Produce and upload video on a regular basis. And not just any video: YouTube video. A fully optimized and branded YouTube Channel with brief and informative videos, ideally released no fewer than once a month, and integrated with all social media channels. It is pointless to produce these videos, however, if you do not intelligently title, describe, and tag the videos for search.
If every business, agency, and nonprofit did these three things, and did them well, in a year, they would all see demonstrable results, provided their other business and management practices were sound.
I also recommend that any business or nonprofit that has a B2C marketing focus consult with a certified Google AdWords partner about their pay-per-click advertising options.
Would you like to improve your public relations capabilities in the new year? Is that a goal for you? Here are some free online resources for you to check out.
If you find these resources helpful, do us a favor and please tweet this post!
1. Write Better RFPs
Need to hire a public relations firm? The next time you gear up to prepare a Request For Proposals (RFP), check out this free online resource, RFP Builder, with tools that walk you through the RFP process.
2. Power Up Your Press Releases
If you are using a service to distribute your press releases, you may be confounded about which one to select. Download this Press Release Buyers Guide from Bulldog Reporter.
3. Refresh Your Basic PR Skills
Sharpen your public relations skills. Download the free PRSA APR Study Guide.
4. Measure the Results of Your PR Efforts
5. Master Social Media
You already use social media for networking and engagement. Now learn how to use social media in your public relations efforts. Download this HubSpot ebook.
Review and refine your corporate social media policy regularly. Here are more than 150 real-life social media policies to guide you. Don’t forget the employee training component. For more social media in the workplace guidelines, read these posts on the Fletcher Prince Blog.
Engage your supporters on Facebook. Read these Facebook Pages guides and tips. There are links here to guides for businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, police departments, the military, and more.
Want to use Google+ effectively? Watch this video from Chris Brogan on using Google+ for business.
- Your Marketing Strategy for 2012 – Avoid 10 Common Pitfalls in the New Year (fletcher-prince.com)
- Your Marketing Strategy for 2012: Invest in the Basics; Refine What You Have (fletcher-prince.com)
- Marketing Lessons We Learned in 2011 (fletcher-prince.com)
- #PRin2012: 12 Trends That Will Change Public Relations (prsay.prsa.org)
- YouTube and Your Brand (Video) (fletcher-prince.com)
- 30 Top Ebooks to Help You Master Inbound Marketing in 2012 (hubspot.com)
YouTube video allows you to showcase your subject matter experts and impress prospective clients. And many clients are interested in YouTube video for their own companies or nonprofits, so having quality YouTube video on your agency Channel allows you to show what you can do, and display your agency’s mastery of social media.
Unless you totally screw it up.
How NOT To Do YouTube
Let’s say I’m a client, and like most clients, I have at least a passing interest in making my company or nonprofit visible on the THIRD MOST POPULAR WEBSITE on the Internet (that would be YouTube, by the way). I Google a local, award-winning agency to see what they can do, and scan the results. What do I see?
1. The first search engine result is a link to the agency website. No image, but some text. The Google entry states, “Agency X is a “Washington D.C. public relations firm founded by two of the PR industry’s leading communications consultants.” So far, so good.
2. The second search engine result is a link to the agency’s LinkedIn profile. More text.
3. The third search engine result is a link to a company YouTube video. But there is an important difference about this result. The video link jumps out at me as I scan the results, because, unlike the other entries, there is a video player image, plus text. YouTube videos in search results are eye-catching and prominent.
I click: Shaky Flip video of junior staffers at Agency X eating a cheesecake in the agency conference room. A quick browse of the agency’s unbranded, generic YouTube Channel reveals this is their sole video.
Am I impressed? Let me ask you: would you be?
This is not exactly cutting-edge branding, people. And the problem is widespread. In fact, researching top public relations and advertising firms, on YouTube, I found that 64% of a representative sample had uploaded video of unacceptable quality to their agency YouTube Channels.
Why YouTube Video Matters for Search
Now, it’s important to understand why Google starting listing YouTube video results in search engine results with video thumbnail images (back in 2009), while other search results (except images), appear as text. It’s important to understand why YouTube matters.
For one thing, Google does take consumer preferences into account on the search engine results they generate. I write a blog post nearly every day, for example, but my blog posts don’t get crawled nearly as frequently as my YouTube videos. Google knows consumers gravitate to YouTube videos like bees to honey. And people will look at a video before they read text on a website, any day. So, consumer preferences account for something in search.
But there is also a financial incentive. YouTube is a Google property. YouTube earns lots of money for Google. Last quarter, Google properties like YouTube (being the most popular of the bunch) accounted for 69% of Google’s income. So, yes, YouTube ranks highly in search engine results.
What to Consider Before You Upload a Video on Your Agency Channel
Fun and creative videos have their place on YouTube, as long as you can manage to also be informative and on-message. But real effort has to go into a video to pull this off well.
The next time you think about uploading a “fun” and spontaneous — and sloppy — video on your public relations or advertising agency YouTube Channel, keep in mind the search ramifications, and consider:
- If I didn’t know me or the people at my company, would I want to watch this? Would I still think it is funny?
- Would I think this video is worth watching, or does this video get really old after a few seconds, truthfully?
- Would this video teach my prospective clients anything about our company or industry that is useful, informative, and relevant to them?
- Do the production values of this video make my agency appear less than professional?
- Is this video actually a detriment to our brand?
PR agencies that are posting karaoke videos from holiday parties — and yes, there are multiple ones that do! — take it from me: those videos are only cute and funny to you.
If you want to put karaoke videos up, put them on your personal YouTube Channel. But deliver on the promise of your brand. People viewing public relations and advertising videos on YouTube expect to see creative AND informative videos on your Channel.
Step up your game, PR and advertising agencies!
In the last post of this series, I’ll provide some quantitative data to frame this discussion, and you’ll see this is not just a rant — I do have numbers to back this up. And those numbers will surprise you, so subscribe by email and stay tuned!
What mattered to the world in 2010? It’s easy to identify — just look at the online memes that developed on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google search.
(A meme, you might recall, is defined as a unit of cultural information transferable from one mind to another. An Internet meme has a viral quality; it spreads quickly across platforms. Think pop culture.)
What we talked about on Facebook in 2010….
1. HMU (it means: “hit me up,” which means “call me” or “contact me”)
2. World Cup
4. iPad and iPhone 4
6. Justin Bieber
7. Games on Facebook (I find this one surprising)
8. Mineros/Miners (refers, of course, to the trapped Chilean miners)
What we tweeted in 2010….
1. Gulf oil spill
2. FIFA World Cup
4. Haiti earthquake
5. Vuvuzela (the noise-making instruments used at the 2010 World Cup)
6. Apple iPad
7. Google Android
8. Justin Bieber
9. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
10. Pulpo Paul (the octopus that successfully picked the winning team in each game of the World Cup finals)
What we wanted to watch on YouTube in 2010….
35 hours of new video are uploaded every minute on YouTube. The most-searched for terms on YouTube during the year show what was on our minds in 2010.
- January – Haiti
- February – luge (Nodar Kumaritashvili, a 21-year-old Georgian luger, died in a crash on a training run at the Vancouver winter Olympics).
- March – “Eclipse” trailer (movie trailer)
- April – iPad
- May – Eminem “Not Afraid” (music video)
- June – Shakira “Waka Waka” (music video about the World Cup)
- July – double rainbow (a random video that went viral after it was mentioned by Jimmy Kimmel and spun off a number of parodies and songs)
- August – bed intruder (a news clip of a brother’s protest — Antoine Dodson — about his sister’s attack that went viral and also spun off a number of parodies and songs)
- September – halo reach (an X360 game)
- October – whip my hair (music video with Willow Smith)
- November – firework (music video with Katy Perry)
What did we search for on Google?
The fastest rising search terms on Google were