For most modern companies, the website is the most important brand asset. But you probably already knew that. Given that the website is where prospects and customers learn about products and services, where they seek help and even conduct transactions, it is clear that it is an important part of any organization’s strategy. What is less obvious for many executives and marketers is the impact that PR can have on driving traffic to the website. Often folks focus solely on paid advertisements and on-page organic SEO as the primary methods for getting people to the site. They are certainly important, but PR can play a critical role as well. Here are a few ways that PR impacts website traffic.
Earned Media Provides a Bounce in Quality Traffic
Perhaps the most obvious way that PR can lead to a bump in website traffic is through positive earned media mentions, especially if they include links. When you have achieved an earned media mention, watch for a corresponding bump in traffic and track which of those visitors were referred by the publication. Not only will this help prove the ROI for PR, but it will also help you determine which publications or authors are able to deliver the most visitors. If a publication or post does not include a link to your website, be sure to ask for one. Most authors are happy to oblige with a relevant link.
When a visitor reaches your site because they’ve read an article about or produced by your brand, they tend to be highly interested in your products and services. This makes PR traffic higher quality and more likely to convert than traffic from other sources. It is a good idea to track the conversion rates of visitors from PR resources, once again further establishing the value of PR activities.
PR Has a Major Impact on Organic Search Rankings (SEO)
We mentioned the on-page SEO optimization earlier and that is certainly central to a high performing website, but there’s only so much you can do. Your competitors are likely trying to optimize for the same relevant keywords. How do Google and the other search engines choose among many highly-optimized sites? They use other indicators of relevance such as quality backlinks, domain authority, social media mentions, and traffic. In fact, one could argue that these other criteria have become even more important than on-site SEO.
PR is a potent tool for earning the backlinks, mentions, and engagement that signal your site's relevance to the search algorithms. In fact, Google has now become sophisticated enough that it will give your site SEO credit for a mention in a high domain authority site, even if the content does not link back to your URL. We should note that not all links are good. Google penalizes sites with backlinks that appear to be paid for or irrelevant to the related search terms.
To measure how PR is impacting SEO be sure to track where your earned media mentions rank. Also, track the impact to other pages of the site when a new earned media mention hits the web. In the case of an SEO bounce from earned media, a rising tide tends to lift all ships.
Earned Media Provides a Bounce in Quality Traffic
If you are successful with earned media and SEO, you’ll earn traffic from the people who read publications relevant to your product and those who are searching for something like what you have to offer. That’s fabulous, but it probably doesn’t capture the entire universe of people who might find value in a visit to your site. Social media can expose you to more of them.
By providing useful, entertaining, and engaging content on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, you can begin to build an audience of people who may click on a relevant link. They may not know they need whatever it is you offer but might be curious about an article you share, a graphic you create, or a video that might inspire. Once you’ve engaged them, you have the opportunity to introduce your brand and demonstrate value.
PR teams can turbocharge the organization’s social media strategy by actively engaging influencers, people who have already earned the trust of your target audience. Influencers might be popular bloggers, authors, authorities, analysts, customers, government officials, or even celebrities. A Retweet or shared post from them can lead to a quick bounce in traffic and a meaningful rise in awareness.
It pays to be smart and strategic about leveraging PR to increase quality website traffic. Not only will it produce better business results as more people consume your content and hopefully react to your calls to action, but it is also an excellent way to measure the success of your PR efforts. You can track what is working and improve what isn’t while justifying the investment in PR at the same time. Who doesn’t love that?
Interested in seeing the impact your PR efforts are having on website traffic? Request a demo & we will show you the media mentions that are having the biggest impact on search rankings.
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Integrated Communications & Digital Marketing StrategistFollow on Twitter More Content by David Moore