The Winning Formula for Media Placement: SEO, Backlinks and ‘BEO’

Sometimes those seeking media placement use a less-than-clean approach. In one instance, in July, a freelance journalist revealed that a well-known communications agency in London offered him a financial reward to feature the company he represented in his article.

The story raises questions (and tempers) about the relationship between writers and agency representatives, especially those who cut corners and use dishonest media tactics.

So, let’s highlight how communicators can pursue legitimate earned media placement. Backlinks, SEO and Brain Engine Optimization (BEO) – more on this below – can drive coverage without ‘paying’ journalists.

PR and SEO: an harmonious link

Research shows organic search accounts for more than half of web traffic. As such, the importance of SEO in B2B PR is clear. Indeed, 60% of communicators insist that PR and digital marketing should be used more collaboratively.

SEO should start at the content-generation stage. Focus on keywords for each format—whether it’s a press release, article, blog, or tweet. However, this does not mean keyword overkill or adding words that dilute the meaning of our content.

Instead, you will have better luck with carefully crafted copy that ties your B2B organization to keywords with core industries and market-themed links. Consistently appearing on authoritative third-party domains with high content rankings due to SEO will help your company demonstrate industry leadership.

Powering search engines–the brain

With the advancement in the digital world, we forget that people drive B2B sales. 68% of the online experience begins with a search engine, yet the search begins with a B2B customer, a person, looking for his memory. This is an online check.

Our brain favors familiar things. So, a brand that remembers will benefit, gaining trust and the same positive results. PR pros can use this BEO knowledge to build brand recognition online.

If we agree BEO helps recall memory links to Google search, how can communicators use backlinks (if a website links to another website with anchor text) for direct traffic to their site?

Backlinks’ importance

Major search engines consider backlinks to rate for pages and indicators of quality content. Google uses authority backlinks as a signal for content ranking, making them a vital part of SEO tactics.

Dominating search results is one thing, but ensuring click-through to a company’s website is an important goal of an SEO-driven PR campaign. Click-through from backlinks on organic content can be tracked through UTM codes, marketing platforms or website analytics tools.

This brings us back to where we started—content. Interestingly, original content can score credible backlinks and help the organization keep a good ranking in Google.

SEO, BEO and backlinks

Accordingly, successful SEO requires additional efforts to build backlinks from different sources. This means directly engaging journalists with the goal of placing content in publications that your prospects read.

Include backlinks in the content you place to provide a clear path to your website so you can get visits from relevant audiences. Add an engaging piece of gated content to your landing page, such as a deep-dive white paper or an informative webinar—and you can start capturing highly targeted leads.

The evolution of online media outlets has opened the door for B2B organizations to increase online lead generation, enhanced by SEO and backlinks. With efficient tactics, B2B PR pros must harness our brain’s ‘computer’ to create and build an engaging and memorable B2B brand.

Jamie Kightley is head of client services at IBA International