Site Outreach: The Original White Hat SEO

by Scott Baradell | Public Relations

Site Outreach- The Original White Hat SEO

If you’re just tuning in to this series, we’re discussing how, far from dying a slow, painful death, public relations is driving the inbound marketing industry. This post explains how media outreach has evolved into a crucial tool for any marketer.

You’ve heard it a thousand times: “crime doesn’t pay.” But that’s not the whole truth, is it?

Crime pays today, in the short term. Tomorrow, you might be in an orange jumpsuit and eating from a plastic tray. But today, your tricky ways have paid off.

You just have to stay one step ahead of the cops. They discover your fake check scam, and you move to fake sales receipts. They figure out your telephone scam, and you try it through the mail. And on and on goes the game of cops and robbers.

Sounds a lot like black hat SEOs and Google, doesn’t it?

Google Police Crack Down

Old school SEO was a numbers game. The quantity of links that pointed to your site could outweigh the quality. A thousand bad links could have the same effect as a few good links.

What did tricky marketers do? They farmed millions of crappy links from millions of crappy sites. They lived the high life on the top of the search results, laughing at the honest sites below them.

Until, that is, the Google Police caught wind of this scam and exiled these sites to the 50th page of the search results. New scams popped up, and Google shut them down, too.

This game of cops and robbers continues, but the cops gained the upper hand years ago.

PR Tactics that Pay Off

The honest way to build a site’s reputation and rankings is much simpler and safer. And it really does pay.

The right approach comes directly from PR. Originally called “media outreach,” today the technique is called “site outreach.” Only a few things have changed.

In the past, PR professionals worked to build relationships with journalists and publishers. They followed a simple process:

  • Determine the most influential media outlets in the market.
  • Research to understand each outlet. Learn the interests of the journalists, producers, and other creators.
  • One by one, reach out to the creators with a targeted and generous approach. Work to understand how you can help them get what they want.
  • Blend your goals with the goals of the creators to offer good story ideas. Focus on being a helpful resource.
  • Help them even when it doesn’t benefit you directly.

This is exactly how good site outreach is performed today. Marketers find sites with authority in a target market. And then, they find ways to help the site get what it needs.

There are, however, a couple of differences between media outreach of yesterday and site outreach of today:

  • The media exploded. Every person with a website is “the media.”
  • It helps for the media placement to include a link to your site – although this may not always be necessary to impact SEO

Aside from that, the same approach continues to earn media placements for brands. Of course, the more-authoritative sites are harder to break into. That’s when experience counts.

Make sure to check back next week for the final post in this series, which will discuss the evolution of thought leadership.

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