SEO is a powerful organic method websites can use to jockey for lead search engine results page positioning - by search engines we are primarily referring to Google although Bing and other lesser search engines should at least be kept in the picture when planning SEO strategies.

PR professionals can often get the hang of SEO pretty quickly because it works on similar principles to the spinning world of media relations. If you want to get maximum prominence, being a front page news item is better than having your story buried somewhere inside the newspaper. The difference is that instead of editors and journalists we are dealing with Pandas and Penguins. That’s the world we live in!

In fact, Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms act rather like editors by favouring good content over bad. Unlike editors, however, they go for quantity of content as well as quality, since they don’t have pagination problems to worry about. Good content may also be shared on social media, which in turn will boost SEO as well as public perception.

SEO involves a range of strategies and here are a few basic tips:

  • Do some key phrase research to establish relevant words and phrases that could be applied to search for your products or services. Google’s Keyword Tool but not widely optimised by competitors then you could be on to a winner.
  • Make use of key phrases for page titles, main headings and use bold text within the content to signal key phrase importance to search engines. It’s important not to over-optimise (keyword stuffing) because Google won’t rise to the bait.
  • Support optimisation via alt tags and title tags on images. Avoid including text within images as search engines won’t pick this up.
  • Employ relevant external links – if a reputable site agrees to link it’s like a vote of confidence. However, Google will bristle with indignation at obviously irrelevant links and will not grade them, so ball bearing manufacturers that try to team up with a chain of hairdressing salons will have another think coming.