By: Ashley HarveySEO: we’ve all heard about it, but not many of us are well educated on the subject. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of how a website appears in a search engine’s unpaid results. While the algorithm that affects these searches may be very complex, it is important for PR professionals to understand SEO and how can this be reworded to bring in more organic searches to your brand’s website.

Here’s the top four things you should know about SEO as a PR professional.

1. SEO is not sexy. Similar to public relations, SEO is not sexy. Public Relations and SEO professionals work behind the scenes to build relationships and manage the communications that thus build the trust and reach for a brand to succeed. While SEO professionals work behind the scenes, they are responsible for understanding where the Internet traffic is going and how to position your brands website.By optimizing their organic reach among those utilizing search engines, they enable users to easily find what they’re looking for and arrive at your brand’s website during that quest.

2. There is a difference between what you think people are searching for your brand and what they actually are searching for your brand. Strategy and research drive SEO to deliver the optimum results. Without strategy and research you find yourself playing a dangerous guessing game regarding what your audience may be searching. When conducting an SEO campaign, it is invaluable to be able to utilize research to understand that your audience may be using search terms that you had not anticipated. As public relations professionals, we must use research to be our guide when coming up with a strategy that will allow your SEO campaign to succeed.

3. SEO is not one size fits all. Not unlike PR, SEO is not a one size fits all skill. Different websites and clients will require different types of optimization to succeed. Additionally, the timing and desired audience of the website is an integral part of SEO. As public relations professionals, it is important that we remember to create each client as a new campaign and perform the SEO campaign that is tailored to their individual needs.

4. Be patient. When it comes to practicing SEO and learning about SEO, patience is essential. Learning and mastering SEO does not happen overnight. As PR professionals, we have the capability to become proficient in SEO to help improve our talents to better serve our future clients. Websites like Moz can help PR professionals learn enough to become proficient (or dangerous) in the vast world of SEO. Additionally, when conducting a SEO campaign, you must be patient and encourage your client to be patient to see the results. Seeing the results of your efforts can take time, and similar to the PR world, timing is everything. Give your campaign the time it needs to find success, and be willing to be flexible along the way to further optimize your website search results.

While the list of things that PR professionals need to know about SEO is vast, the most important aspect is the willingness to learn and seek help when needed. As young professionals, we have the time and resources to delve into the world of SEO and educate ourselves on this intricate skill to better serve ourselves and clients in the future.

Ashley Harvey is a senior at Grand Valley State University pursuing a degree in Advertising & Public Relations. Prior to returning to school, she took 3 years off to adventure around the country learning from members of the United States Olympic 3-Day Eventing Team. These travels led to a lot of fun stories, an addiction to sweet-tea, and a relentless passion to pursue her goals. Additionally, Ashley serves as GVPRSSA’s Director of Social Media and as an Account Associate at GrandPR. In her free time she can usually be found out in Rockford, where she keeps her two horses: Donatello (named after the turtle, not the artist) & Valhalla (no, she’s hasn’t watched vikings, she’s just a nerd). Ashley’s interest in sports is not limited to horses, as she is an avid football, basketball, and hockey fan. When not at the barn, she can be found at a local brewery, consuming absurd amounts of coffee, or enjoying a good book.