Using PR to increase web traffic and boost SEO

Susannah Morgan, deputy managing director at Energy PR, explains how leveraging an effective PR strategy can positively impact your e-commerce business.

PR encompasses various elements that can each be used to boost a business’s performance in different ways. In the digital space, it can generate more web traffic, boost domain rankings and even provide better Google search performance.

When promoting an e-commerce business, it is easy to make common mistakes in the beginning, such as:

Lacking focus. Doing too much and none of it well is an ineffective way to work, so make sure all activity is focused and targeted.

Being inconsistent. PR isn’t a tap. You cannot simply just turn it on and off again. Consistency is key to staying on the right side of algorithms and building a meaningful rapport with audiences.

Disconnect in tone of voice. To build an authentic brand it is important that audiences have the same experience across all touchpoints.

Disregarding the impact of digital media on SEO. Social media is often considered to be the king of online promotion. It’s true that social media is the holy grail for brand awareness, however, it doesn’t drive traffic to your site in the same way that a link included in an informative article on a trusted online media site can.

The key to avoiding common mistakes is to get the basics right:

Plan. The best way to avoid ad-hoc activity is to have a plan in place.

Be authentic. Be true to your brand’s tone of voice, purpose and personality and don’t change it across platforms.

Get under the skin of your audience. Being informed of the pain points of the customer and what influences their buying decisions will enable you to create helpful and insightful content.

Great content in the right places will enable you to build your brand and drive web traffic. With a huge array of platforms to create content for, the most effective strategies are those that are rolled out across multiple channels.

Directing traffic to a website is pointless if there is no onward chain. Think about where traffic is being directed to and at what stage of the ‘sales funnel’ they may be in. Make it easy for the reader to find the next piece of relevant content, whether that’s a blog post or an informative download. Just linking to a homepage isn’t enough.

Customers that are happy with a product or service are a brand’s greatest asset. They can provide customer-generated content, such as reviews and case studies, which will help validate audience choices. Strong case studies can be used to address frequently asked questions, using the experience of happy customers to quell any purchase anxieties that potential customers may be experiencing.

PR is much more than just media relations, but it plays an important part. Backlinks from influential sites with high domain rankings, like trusted media outlets, create perceived third-party endorsement, build brand authority and recognition, and increase a brand’s domain authority. Individuals that have come to your website via an article on a media outlet that they trust will already have confidence in your industry knowledge and will be primed for more of the same.

Online influencers are trusted by their followers to make informed recommendations and have a huge impact on buyer behaviour. In fact, the Digital Marketing Institute found that 60% of consumers would consider buying a product if they had seen it promoted by an influencer – I know I have done in the past. Influencers can also provide trusted case studies, beautiful photography, product reviews, answer questions and, most importantly, drive web traffic.

Be sure to carefully consider the most appropriate influencer to achieve your company’s goals before embarking on a partnership. For example, interior designers are great to provide an audience with inspiration, while self-builders are prime to give practical advice, and celebrity endorsements offer a wider audience.

Working with a complimentary brand on joint marketing activity is a great way to reach a new and relevant audience and benefit from the endorsement of a trusted brand in your industry. The most successful partnerships will use content across multiple platforms, including social media, newsletters and website content, allowing brands to be exposed to a new database of targeted, and already engaged, individuals.

In addition, hosting guest blog posts on another brand’s website is a great way to gain highly valuable links, helping to further build SEO.