Jun 07, 2012

How the PR Team Can Boost Web Site Ranking with Twitter

According to a ground-breaking study (“Revolutionary study: We prove that tweets do affect rankings”) performed by UK digital agency Branded3, there is a strong positive correlation between the number of tweets of a URL, and its corresponding Google ranking.  The study suggests that a web page’s search rankings start to improve when its URL has received 50 tweets, but the real benefits start to accrue after a web site is tweeted more than 1,000 times.

Because much of the content an organization publishes originates with the public relations team, it’s important for communications pros to pause for a minute and consider how they can build rank and visibility for their organizations’ web sites by fine-tuning their Twitter strategy and integrating more strongly with their web marketing teams.

Organize and align PR, social media and search.

Taking advantage of Branded3’s findings to build search rank for a web site will take some planning and organization, and may require some organizations to develop more tightly-integrated communications plans as well as a more well-defined approach for sharing and tweeting press releases and other content on social networks.

  • With your web site marketing team, develop a list of key commercial web site pages your company wants to promote, along with the target keywords the web team is using in their optimization and SEM strategies.  These “target URLs” and “target terms” will need to be incorporated into the content you share socially.
  • Develop a solid Twitter presence, combining content curation with active social interaction and engagement.  Research (and stay current with) hash tag trends and usage in your particular area of interest.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (i.e. RT and mention generously.)
  • Commit to using target terms, related hash tags and related URLs in press releases, press kits, blog posts, backgrounders, pitches and any other communications that could be tweeted or shared.

Make tweet generation the focus of strategies – and outcomes.

Organizations serious about increasing traction on Twitter for their messages will need to make a committed effort in order to achieve success.  There’s a lot more to this exercise than merely establishing a Twitter presence and tweeting the odd press release here and there.     Spending some time developing an understanding of what content your audience values (and will eagerly share of their own accord) is an important first step.  Other important approaches that can help your efforts include:

  • Tweet the target URLs consistently.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Generating 50 tweets (from your brand’s accounts, as well as followers and other industry denizens) won’t be too difficult, but getting to 1,000 and beyond will be another matter altogether. However, if you use the target URLs consistently, while also building engagement online, you will get there.
  • Make “ease of tweeting” a central tenant of your strategies.  When you e-mail a pitch to a journalist or blogger, be sure to include a link they can tweet.  Have your webmaster embed social sharing buttons in your online newsroom (and elsewhere on your web site) to encourage sharing.

Keep an eye on the tweet stream.  Thank and RT people who tweet about your brand.  Keep track of them and build relationships.

Tweet the content your organization produces creatively and consistently.  One press release might contain several different story angles or facts.  Tweet them all, uniquely, staggering them over time and using different (but relevant!) hash tags (if appropriate.)  You will increase the lifespan of your message, and the different tweets will appeal to different constituents.

Generating higher search rankings is a proven way to build sales, increase credibility and drive web site traffic for a brand.   The role of Twitter in determining search rank provides public relations professionals with another opportunity to deliver measurable results that will benefit the organization’s top line.

Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

We’ve just announced The Crowd-Sourced eBook: The Definitive Guide to Social Influencer Engagement and invite you to contribute.

Image via Branded3.

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