The answer is: it depends. It depends on how important SEO is to your business. If it’s not, don’t worry about it. If it is, you could be missing a trick by not combining the two.
Firstly let me explain what I mean by SEO – the art of achieving high natural search rankings for your website or individual pages on your site. The likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines reward original and relevant content on websites by improving their natural search results. PR activity can, and should, be a contributor to this.
A significant element of PR involves creating content to be used by the press and websites that are visited by the audiences you want to target. So if you get involved in PR you should not only be issuing press releases to your usual press contacts but thinking more widely about how the release can benefit your client (or employer) by using the content in the release to boost the natural search results of their website.
What are the benefits of doing this?
Organisations (including those in the insurance market) create websites for a variety of reasons – in some cases it’s simply an online brochure, for others it’s a vital source of revenue. Whatever the rational, it stands to reason that if you’re going to take the time and trouble to build it in the first place you want people to look and react to it in a positive way. Although a full blown SEO campaign can be a long and expensive exercise, it makes sense to undertake some activity to allow your site to be found more easily online by potential customers and other stakeholders.
Using press release (and other) material is one simple way to achieve this. In effect, written in a certain way, they create the opportunity to add additional pages to a site that are rich in the right key words and contain the appropriate meta data.
And it’s simple to implement.
You simply need a repository on your site that can take additional pages – a blog (or, in other words, a news) section is ideal. Write your press releases to include certain key words (if you don’t know these you’ll need to work these out – this is a good place to start: http://www.googlekeywordtool.com/), distribute to the press it in the normal way and then add it to as a new page to the site. Include the appropriate meta data for the page to the back end and you’re done.
If you produce 15 press releases a year, you’ve got 15 additional searchable pages which will benefit the whole site from a natural search perspective.
http://ipmimagazine.com/ is a good example of a site that makes the most out of press releases for the benefit of itself and clients. Each article is optimised including meta-data and appropriate key words for the site. This allows them to be found online more easily by those looking for that information.