A study by Fotrune Interactive, a well-known SEM and Reputation Monitoring firm, has found that inbound link quality, the quality of the websites that link to your website, is the most important common factor for ranking well in Google, Yahoo and MSN (GYM).
These findings highlight the need for SEO teams to work and integrate with PR and Creative Agencies, to find creative ways to entice bloggers, Digg users and the general media to link to your website to help ensure high rankings across all search engines.
This highlights the strong and positive role PR campaigns, creative agencies and Word-of-Mouth (WOM) campaigns have in the general SEO effort. SEO is no longer just about “Keyword Research” and ensuring that the best keywords are in page titles and content; of course, keyword research is still essential but it not longer carries the only weight. (Of course, for some, it hasnt been for awhile but the proliferation of social media has made the number of links proliferate with ease.)
“Link building” – which includes traditional link builders and now PR and Creative Agencies – will have to be a critical component to a large SEO Strategy, especially for websites in a competitive space and with the budget/resources.
Fortune Interactive, of Marketing Pilgrim fame, just did an upgrade to their tool SEMLogic, which instantly compare websites against keyphrases across the search engines, breaking them down by linking structure, content, keyword density etc into visual and actionable data.
As part of their study on the algorithmic differences among GYM (Google, Yahoo, MSN), Fortune ran a report focusing on the top 100 websites for the word “laptop”. Their findings were (taken from here):
- Inbound Link Quality is the most important factor across the board.
- Inbound Link Quantity is of least importance relatively among the off-page factors across the board.
- Achieving the coveted trifecta of ranking well across the search engines requires strong values in the two most important influential factors for each search engine.
Links Campaign and Creative/PR â€“ Essential to SEO?
Fortune Interactive’s repot finds “inbound link quality”, having good websites link to you, as one of the key components to ranking well among Google, Yahoo and MSN. This highlights the increasingly important role of the “link campaign” vis-Ã -vis the traditional SEO role of “keyword research”, which supplies the title page recommendations and content building.
The surest way to bring quality websites to link to your website is to have strong content or “linkbait”, which entices everyone from bloggers to Digg users to the established media to link to you. Success in this area also helps of course in general public exposure.
Examples of PR/Creative Effect in SEO
Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz touches on the PR/Creative influence in his article on GE’s marketing campaign called “Imagine at Work”. In conjuction with this, GE created a linkbait called “Imagination Cubed“, which lets people “draw” online with their friends. This is a fantastic app that their creative agency/team has come up with.
Thousands of blogs and websites have linked to the “Imagination Cubed” webpage, lifting the website to top rankings with over 23,000 links for the term “imagination”. (This, mind you, is a site all in Flash with little to no SEO-optimization on the website itself.)
Similarly, the online search travel site, FareCast, has lifted their rankings on Google via a PR effort – company profile and interviews – that has helped them have hundreds of websites link to them in a few weeks. More on that later on a future post, but the results were that FareCast (after going into public testing) were able to quickly reach top 20 on Google, in the very competitive field of online travel, specifically terms like “cheap airline tickets”.
In a future post, I’ll discuss more on the need for SEO teams to work with creative and PR agencies, esp. on how social media and WOM will increasingly change the approach to SEO.