A Conversation with Tony Adam, Founder/CEO of VisibleFactors.com & Eventify.me,
Former Director of Online Marketing at MySpace
By UCLA X425 Student Lisa Kalustian
The SEO “Arms Race”
As the pervasiveness of social media continues to grow, how can public relations professionals ensure that the material they post online can be found amid the ever-increasing amount of information? To help answer this question, Tony Adam, founder and CEO of VisibleFactors.com and Eventify.me, shared his expertise in search engine optimization (SEO) with the students of UCLA X425.
SEO is focused on maximizing the traffic generated by major search engines like Google. It’s a job that’s always evolving, with new strategies being developed as others fall by the wayside in the online competition for eyeballs. Currently, the key tactics for winning the SEO “arms race” are keywords and links. Keywords are those terms people use to search for information online, and they can be used to optimize a website by being placed strategically within text, page titles and URLs. Optimizing video is important too, since YouTube is the second most popular search site after Google. When it comes to videos, keywords can be incorporated into titles, tags and the “alt text” that is invisible to viewers.
Links, particularly inbound links, are the most important part of SEO, and are the leading factor determining how close a website ranks to the top of search results. Inbound links can be generated by incorporating multiple internal links using keywords on the site. News releases are another tool for SEO, and can be optimized by putting links within the release text. It’s best to put such links in the first part of the release, since many re-posts include only the first paragraph or two. Posting infographics that others would want to link to or post on their own sites will also increase traffic back to your website, particularly if a link to your site is incorporated directly into the infographic. And the more authoritative an inbound link to a website is — such as from an “.edu” site — the more the site’s ranking will benefit.
SEO is only the beginning though. Attracting eyeballs is not the end-game; it’s the means to getting those eyes on purposeful content, and it’s part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Optimizing a website to generate a lot of traffic doesn’t mean much if people don’t find anything worth sticking around to read or watch once they get there.