Laurie Pehar Borsh Digital PR
Search for:

4 SEO trends communicators should track

By Marisa Abeyta 

Ranking first on a Google search engine results page (SERP) is considered an honorable achievement—but it’s not the only goal that matters.

If you don’t rank first, there’s a lot you can do to improve your organic search results.

Here are four search engine optimization trends to embrace:

1. Combat ad blockers by optimizing organic search rankings.

“Ranking without links is really really hard. Not impossible, but very hard.”
— Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, October 2016

Research shows that 30 percent of all internet users will employ ad blockers by 2018. Although nearly every page you view, app you download, link you click or product you buy is tracked, you can block cookies (tracking), use anti-spam software, skip ads and customize social media feeds.

[RELATED: Overcome your biggest challenges in internal comms, PR and social media]

To optimize organic search rankings:

  • Integrate a multichannel SEO strategy.
  • Perform keyword research and target strong keywords that are relevant to each channel.
  • Optimize content for searcher intent.
  • Incorporate brand keywords.
  • Provide high-quality content and keyword-rich links.
  • Track and analyze your data.
  • Engage your audience on social media.
  • Optimize your website with a responsive web design to be mobile-friendly.

2. Build trust and avoid spam.

Social media platforms and search engines will continue to introduce new rules to prevent the spread of fake news, ensure data security and provide relevant information.

This year, Twitter updated its policies by introducing new anti-spam rules. Twitter now prohibits identical content—like the duplicate tweets many businesses posted regularly on multiple Twitter handles. Follow Twitter’s new rules or else you risk getting some (or all) of your accounts shut down.

This is nothing new to marketers who are familiar with Google’s algorithm updates. For example, in 2011 Google began penalizing duplicate content in order to punish low-quality “content farms.” “Content farms” are web pages stuffed full of low-quality content from other sites to drive ranking on search engine results pages.

Google’s aim is to provide searchers what they want, which is high-quality, relevant and valuable content.

To build trust online:

  • Create well-written, authoritative content. Don’t be misleading.
  • Promote brand awareness and value by telling your company’s authentic story.
  • Ensure that your audience’s expectations on your content meet reality.
  • Send press releases consistently as an organic approach to telling your company’s story, building trust and engaging your audience.

3. Take advantage of mobile technology and “internet of things.”

According to Doantam Phan, a product manager for Google, Google’s “algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in (their) results.” For this reason, you need to ensure that you consider mobile web browsers when looking at SEO.

“Internet of things” (IoT) will also advance this year. As consumers begin using their network of internet-enabled devices in their cars and home appliances, like virtual assistants Siri and Amazon Alexa, you need to ensure your content is accessible on various devices. Content marketing for tablets, laptops, smartphones and watches requires similar SEO best practices for desktop and mobile.

To increase organic reach for mobile and IoT:

  • Build links.
  • Lead with the most important information.
  • Incorporate multimedia like photo, video or audio in your content to boost engagement.
  • Add strong keywords in metadata descriptions.
  • Use a mobile-friendly test.
  • Write conversational content that’s shareable and compatible on various devices.
  • Use campaign tracking links to analyze engagement and click-throughs.

4. Keep up with the latest updates.

Google and other search engines continue to favor quality over quantity, regardless of whether the search is conducted via desktop or voice assistant. Voice-activated search is fast and convenient. Optimize your web pages and content precisely to serve search intent.

To meet the latest search engine requirements:

  • Encrypt your website with HTTPS. Don’t get marked as “not secure.”
  • Create strong, authoritative URLs that contain keywords.
  • Write rich content in natural language.
  • Cater your content to answer voice-activated search queries precisely.
  • Start early, be active and utilize Google Analytics.
  • Pay attention to format.
  • Add a call-to-action on web pages.

Marisa Abeyta is a Senior Customer Content Specialist, SEO Certified team member and expert on press release distribution. She’s been with Cision since 2013. Connect with her on LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on the Cision blog.

(Image via)

CEOs who aren’t using social media are doing their organizations a massive disservice.

What a title for a blog post – in my line of work, it better amount to some SEO for myself or else. No, I do not right a lot (these days) on my blog. Too busy running blogs and social media networks/campaigns for my clients, but I HAD to take a time out today to share this one “theme” again! This article (post) on Ragan.com, one of my regular daily go-tos for all the latest PR/Marketing news, says it all:

Study: CEOs aren’t using social media to full potential
CEO.com and analytics firm Domo found that more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 chief executives have no social media presence at all.
By Matt Wilson | Posted: September 9, 2014

CEOStudy_jpg_600x0Among Fortune 500 chief executives, only one, Mark Zuckerberg, is on all five major social networks. It probably helps that he invented one of them.

About 68 percent of the other CEOs have no social media presence at all, according to new research from CEO.com and business analytics firm Domo. Of the 162 chief execs who do have social media presences, 110 are only on one social network.

Read the rest of the study/article >here.

If you follow me on social media or this blog, you know I write about this “growing issue” a lot and have been preaching this since the dawn of social media (2003). Lots of CEOs and other C-suite professionals have heard my cry and have allowed me to help them become and remain more visible on social (and digital in general) media. In my opinion, this “push-back” so to speak is more so about having the time and the ability to do what it takes to be successful with social media. There are way too many people out there trying to push all of these fancy options for these executive leaders. It’s overwhelming! And do their corporate marketing or even outsourced PR firms handle all a CEO or any C-suiter for that matter, ON SOCIAL MEDIA. 99% OF THE TIME = NO. But, well its social media and everyone should know how to navigate it and use it right? NO!

Most CEOs leave the marketing and PR to other people in the organization they operate, but then it is assume that they have to handle their own social media outreach. Well, I am here to tell you the do not have to! Most of the guys and gals who are super active on social media DON’T handle themselves on social media (just like they don’t handle themselves on a red carpet or on a press-media junket). Social media IS media, media is media. Don’t go at it alone and especially if you run a Fortune 1000, 500 or 1 company…even a small, under 50M company. BUT a C-suite leader can’t just NOT be present online – like the article says, CEOs who aren’t are doing their organizations a massive disservice. Not to mention an under represented image as it applies to the company – in the ever-growing digital media space.

And Obviously, it’s about having a certain style out there in the biz world (as I always say, not everyone can be a Richard Branson or Bill Gates or even Donald Trump) on social media. Strong and Silent can work, as can Loud and Clear – it’s about being yourself and being real and approachable. Being active on social media is more than just about how much you say, it’s also a lot about what you do (or don’t do).

I think, I can safely say, that I know how to “lead (executives) into the light”… of being present on social (and yes, ALL of digital) media. Here are some fo the articles I’ve written “in this flavor” over the last few years:

Why your managing partners need to be on social media

Come out from behind the brand and start operating like Sir Richard Branson…

Is outsourcing social media right for you?

reputationRemember when it comes to personal or business promotion: There is no such thing as social media marketing, it’s called being able to market and promote (publicize) on social media. Further more, social media was built for humans to connect with other humans (do the math). Executive leaders will serve their organizations well if there are open to connecting and allowing others to approach and get to know them via social media. Press and media outlets also do most of their research (looking for sources, comments and so forth) online and via social media. And when a CEO is mentioned in a mainstream media article or interviewed on the air, etc. It’s important to have the online presence up and running for those instances as well. At the end of the day, all of that in combination could play out well for the organization as a whole. Putting someone in one’s corner to manage of all that on one’s behalf just may be the key to getting more CEOs (C-suite)

Social Media ROI – it takes a village

Last year, I wrote an article for Jaffe–the legal industry’s full-service PR and marketing agency, entitled Come Out from Behind the Brand. I guess you can call me a traditionalist; I am a huge proponent of staying true to what social media actually means, and how it was originally developed toconnect people with people.  If you recall (or recall hearing), “the Facebook” was developed by a Harvard student (most of us know who he is) to help students connect with students about the happenings around the university. People connecting with people and, as we all know, the rest is history. My back to basics mantra: “Social media works best when people, not the brand entities that they work for, communicate with people about what and who they like and know of, the latest news and incredible stories, etc.”

Here’s the key: the more people in “the village” (i.e. company, or really any organization of any sort) who are “talking about” various things in the social media channels that either pertain or relate directly to their organization or company (brand), in representation of that organization or company, the more likely others (people) will follow, engage and talk about these people and more importantly, about the brand (company/organization) that person and their “village” represents or leads. In doing so , all of this can and will lead to increased online visibility (digital PR and publicity!) for the brand/organization which will naturally lead to or provide new opportunities (namely new business, sales, leads, further mainstream publicity, and so forth).

>>>Read my guest post on the Jaffe Blog.

About Social Influencer Marketing

I recently attended the Influencers 2.0 | ROI of the Influencer webinar presented by Social Media Today and sponsored by Act-On Software. I thought I’d share the webinar with you (click on the link above to listen; such good information!) as well as Act-On’s white paper…

Best Practices in Social Influencer Marketing

Social influencers have been around as long as society itself. A study on the 1940 U.S. Presidential election by sociologists Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz revealed that voters were more inclined to listen to the opinions of local leaders and political commentators than speeches made by the candidates themselves. In a subsequent book, Lazarsfeld and Katz introduced a two-step communication model which shows that ideas flow from mass media to opinion leaders, and then to a wider population. The opinion leaders themselves gain their influence through more elite media, as opposed to mainstream mass media.

Today’s social media fits this model precisely. For decades, retailers have seen increases in sales when trusted experts or celebrities endorse their products or services. Movies that get good reviews tend to sell more tickets than those with bad ones. Actors endorse beauty products, watches, clothing, more. Now, with social media woven into our daily lives, more and more business buyers and consumers are reading reviews, tweets, Facebook posts, and blog posts about products or services before they decide to buy.

Online social influence is powerful. Read the White Paper >> here.

The bottom line: Social influencers are a cost-effective, efficient way to raise awareness about YOU, your company, product, or services. People trust information from opinion leaders more than they trust what comes from your marketing department, so a business that does well with social influencers has an edge over its competitors. it’s important to remember that influencers are building their own reputation as they build yours (and in my opinion, this should include ,,. By giving them something to talk about that’s a good fit for their audience, you’re helping them remain interesting and relevant.

Laurie Pehar Borsh Digital PR

Storytelling Tips to Make Your Brand More Relatable

By Richard Brownell | PR News Online 02/11/2014

The ability to tell a story is a fundamental skill that all good brand communicators should possess. Storytelling not only shares information, it makes that information relatable to the audience, humanizing complex ideas and offering fresh perspectives.

Christopher Hammond, senior vice president of corporate communications for Wells Fargo, shares some tips here on how to enhance your brand’s message through storytelling.

#1. Take it to your audience!
Read the full article here

Is outsourcing social media right for you?

Originally published on the Jaffe PR Blog on Jan 22, 2014. Jaffe PR is a complete Public Reputation resource, devoted primarily to law firms, legal associations and vendors to the legal market. Legal Brand Journalism™, including media relations and content development, is at the heart of our work for clients.

Outsource social media activities

As we all know by now, a vast majority of today’s professionals are active on a multitude of social media networks — for personal and, with increasing frequency, business purposes. What was once considered a new phenomenon in the legal industry — being present and active on social (digital) media — is fast becoming a “must-do” for attorneys (and, I’d like to add, for just about every high-profile professional, executive leader or entrepreneur).

Yes! It’s important, if not more important, for law firm attorneys (again “the above mentioned” types of business professionals) to also “show up” online.

Read the article here (click over to): Jaffe PR Blog Read More

How to fashion a successful digital content strategy

Originally posted in Smart Blogs
By Sarah Lynch on January 21st, 2014

Choosing the right content to post on social media is a bit like picking the right outfit each morning. To be successful you need to have a strategy, shop around for the best quality pieces and accumulate a tidy collection.

Like matching a good shirt with the right pants, pairing the best piece of content with the most fitting social platform hangs on three important factors:

-Where you are headed as a brand
-What you want to achieve
-The needs of your audience

Shop around
Dressing your social channels with the right content necessitates careful planning and coordination. The ease and efficiency of sharing across multiple platforms has resulted in many brands slipping into the classic social fallacy: If it works well on one platform it will work well on every platform.

Repurposing content across all your social profiles is the fastest way for your brand to experience a plateau in customer engagement and a significant drop in conversion rates.

What to wear
Social platforms have been purpose-built to attract users for very different reasons. Content that is well-liked on Facebook, for example, could be a total disaster on Twitter. Tailoring the right content to the appropriate platform is essential to your brand’s success on social media.

Twitter
The little black dress of your marketing cache, Twitter is the most versatile item in your social wardrobe. Twitter audiences are notoriously fickle and demand targeted, varied and engaging branding. In order to keep your audience pinned to your brand’s page, it is critical to style tweets that are:

-Clear and concise
-Simple
-Varied
-Powerful
-Reflective of your brand identity

Combine fun business tweets with tips and tricks, links to interesting sites or articles, inspirational quotes, and links to original blogs posts.

Avoid posting the same tweets too often. You wouldn’t wear the same outfit two days in a row, so don’t expect your audience to be thrilled about seeing the same content recycled regularly.

Facebook
The eye-catching summer dress of your social ensemble, Facebook is an inherently visual tool. To delight Facebook audiences, cloak posts in high-resolution pictures and videos. Maintaining high audience engagement is as simple as:

-Raising the hemline on posts by keeping them between 100-250 characters long. This approach garners 60% more engagement from audiences than longer posts.

-Clothe images and videos with a clever tagline or hashtag

-Fold opinion-based questions and fill-in-the-blank updates into your daily strategy

Package posts with an interactive-fashion focus of fun-over-form. Competitions and giveaways are the main reasons why Facebook audiences follow brand pages, so keep your content light and entertaining.

Google+
The dress suit that rounds out your brand’s social media collection, Google+ audiences favor quality content over quantity. Where Twitter followers appreciate short-form instant gratification and Facebook fans enjoy visual stimulation, the Google+ community has shown a strong preference for informative and helpful content.

More than any other platform, keeping your Google+ community engaged requires:
Donning unique, novel and informative content to your brand page that avoids pushing a covert marketing agenda. Google+ users react strongly to brands they believe are inauthentic.
Adorning your brand’s Google+ page with 5-second GIFS as a snapshot of what your brand can do. Google+ is the only major social media channel that allows GIFS to be placed directly into your audience’s stream.

The perfect post
These days the biggest digital fashion faux pas is to repurpose the same content across other brand platforms. If your customers follow you on more than one channel, they will quickly tire of your content and, by proxy, the product or service your brand represents.

For dynamic businesses it is critical to tailor all online interaction to the personality of the audience who occupies each social space. This approach will not only gratify customers on multiple levels, but also leave them hanging out for more.

Sarah Lynch is a freelance writer and content manager based in Sydney, Australia. To hear more musings from Sarah, you can follow her on Twitter.

Five Things I Learned About Innovation from Sir Richard Branson

Come out from behind the brand and start operating like Sir Richard Branson…

 if you want to see your business’ social media program succeed.

As you probably know by now (or are just starting to hear), a robust social media and general web presence has become a must-have for professionals who are looking to support the success of their personal as well as their own company’s online marketing and publicity strategy. Professionals (corporate leaders to politicians or artists to small business owners like me) now need to focus on social media thought leadership, public relations and reputation in order to compete for new and future business, career advancement opportunities, and even mainstream media attention.

A 2013 article in Social Media Today (10/15/12) by Sean Royer (CEO of Minneapolis-based Internet Marketing Agency SyneCore Technologies) discusses the latest IBM Study (2012 Global CEO Study) that surveyed some 17,000 CEO’s on the subject of social media usage and engagement.

The study found that only 16% of the CEOs currently participate in social media (I was not surprised to read that!). For many executives, (their own personal) social media public relations effort is one of the least-utilized methods of customer engagement–or for marketing and increasing the visibility of their business brand for that matter. The Study also found that social media will likely become the #2 way to engage customers (57%) within the next five years.

So what’s the bottom line? According to Branson, “Whether you are launching a start-up or leading an established company, you should start establishing your social media presence if you haven’t already.”  Read the article

Over the last 10 years in particular, I have found that most busy professionals (at least 75% of those I meet), simply do not have the know-how, ability and or (mainly) the time to stay on top of the production of personal content, building of network and targeted audiences, engaging and responding to people or monitoring social media activity as it pertains to her own personal or business brand and industry, (etc.)

While internal company brand marketing or public relations managers might be able to take care of (an executive’s) personal social media presence, I have found that most just do not have the bandwidth to do this. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s within a large or small organization. Then there are those professionals who might also be in career transition or those who do participate, but perhaps have not had the success they wish they could have in social media channels.

We all need to remember that social media was built for people to communicate and publicize to other people. Facebook was not built for Pepsi to market to consumers. It was built for individual people to communicate with other people on a mass level. The whole marketing of the “non personal” brand thing came along and everything got very confusing. Read the article!  Richard Branson (among other executives, like Dell and Trump) have gotten it right and got it right from the onset of Social Media. Now it’s time for the rest of the professional leadership world to step in and stop hiding behind the brand–for the good and the growth of the brand. Why wait five years or more. It takes time to build a personal social media following and thought leadership. There is no magic to it, just dedication and work.

I’ve been working with executives for years on personal branding, but mainly on a publicity and promotional level (from job search to business development to press/media placement). Social media has provided us with a new and improved personal publicity channel. However, there is a fine line to walk when it comes to personal social media publicity (promotion) and engagement–as it pertains to the promotion of a professional brand in a leadership role.