Five SEO tools PRs should be using
I have to admit, before I started at Branded3 I had never worked in SEO before (I come from a PR background) and only had a vague idea of what it was. Having now worked in the industry for over a year I would like to think I now understand a lot more about it but I’ve also been surprised at how many tools, originally developed or created for SEOs, are actually useful for those working in PR or Social Media . Most of these I now use on pretty much a daily basis in my Digital PR role, certainly whenever planning a new campaign.
So what follows is my round-up of five arguably more SEO tools (three Moz-owned) that can be useful for PRs and Social Media.
Open Site Explorer (OSE) has many uses as anyone working in SEO will know, you can input a URL (or multiple to compare) and it shows:
- Inbound links
- Top pages
- Linking domains
- Anchor text
- Compare link metrics
- Just discovered (beta)
The most useful out of these for me personally has to be the ‘Top pages’ tab, this allows me to see which are the top or most popular pages on a website so if I want to gain coverage on a certain site e.g. Buzzfeed I can look in OSE to see which are the top pages which gives me a great idea of what kind of content they like and what performs well on the site.
Also useful is the ‘Inbound links’ tab as this can be great for finding more publications or sites to contact about a campaign. Usually, you will find that a lot of publications will link to similar or related publications, for example if I take a look at this for Buzzfeed I can see that Huffington Post, The Daily Beast and Wired are in the top sites that link to Buzzfeed which may well be relevant to a campaign I’m planning.
Finally on OSE, the ‘Just discovered’ tab which is still in beta can be useful for spotting any new coverage or mentions of a client. This tab shows any new within about an hour of being shared on Twitter linking to the domain that you enter as well as any URLs linked from tweeted pages.
Fresh Web Explorer is a relatively new tool released from Moz and again, extremely useful. This is a mentions tool which allows you to enter any brand name or keyword and see how many mentions this has had within a specified time period and then also shows the webpages that feature the mentions.
This is similar to OSE’s ‘Just discovered’ in that it is useful for seeing where you may have coverage that either Google Alerts or your media monitoring tool may not have picked up.
For example, if I take a look at mentions of Branded3 in the last week I can see this graph showing our mentions:
You can also compare mentions of brands or keywords, for example here I can take a look at who was talked about more; Murray or Djokovic over the last week. This can be useful to see how your client is stacking up against key competitors in the coverage stakes.
The tool then allows me to see where the mentions occurred, the authority of the source, the phrase mentioned and the date it was found[LC1] . The beauty of this for SEOs is that it allows you to see whether these sites are linking to the client and if not, politely request that they do so (only if there is something appropriate to link to).
I’ve put Followerwonk in here as an SEO tool because it has been acquired by Moz however this may well already been on PR & social media people’s radars.
The main use of Followerwonk for me from a PR perspective is the ‘Search Twitter bios’ function. I find this really useful when planning blogger outreach campaigns as it allows me to drill down to find bloggers really relevant to my brand. For example, if I’m working with a fashion client who is holding a blogger event in Leeds, Followerwonk allows me to easily find fashion bloggers in Leeds:
In a similar way this can be a great way of finding ‘power users’ to contact to spread word of a campaign or event, for example if I am running a football-related campaign I can look for relevant Twitter users with large engaged followings to help me spread the word. This is even useful just to find brand advocates by looking at any people with the client’s name in their bio, you’d be surprised how many people include their favourite brands in their bio.
Another use for this can be in finding journalists’ contact details not listed in a media database, for example, sites like Mashable don’t list their journalists individual email addresses however if I do a bio search for “@mashable.com” I can find a list of writers/editors at Mashable and see if there is a relevant one to the content/exclusive that I have:
Google Trends isn’t specifically an SEO tool however it is from working in the SEO industry that I first discovered it, hence the inclusion in this post.
Google Trends basically allows you to analyse trends in search volume, for any keywords that you input so can be great for planning campaigns in throughout the year as it gives you a good indication of when people start thinking about purchasing products.
For example, if I’m working on a Christmas campaign and want to know when people start searching for and buying Christmas presents, I can see on this graph that the search volume really picks up around October/November (which we could have predicted for this but anyway) so I would need to make sure that my campaign starts around that time to ensure I catch a good proportion of consumers looking to buy presents.
You can tweak the results according to various options:
- Type of search: Web search, image search, news search, product search or YouTube search
- Location: Worldwide or specific country
- Date range: Either since 2004, specific year, or past 7, 30, 90 days
I could probably write a whole post about the usefulness of Analytics for me but I won’t bore you! The main things that I find useful from Analytics are as follows.
Audience > Demographics > Location
I find the location section really useful as it gives me a really good idea of where my client’s customer base is so that I know regionally (or on an international basis) where I should be targeting for coverage, so whether there are certain cities driving a lot of traffic I know to target that area.
Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic
The traffic sources section is really useful for me to see whether any coverage that I generate is actually driving traffic to my client’s site. The main aim for nearly every client ultimately is to drive traffic and sales so it’s great for me to be able to see (for ecommerce clients) whether the PR coverage I generate actually drives any traffic or purchases on the site.
Content > Site Content > All Pages
The content section is great especially for clients who have blogs to see how popular the content that they’re generating on the blog is and can then give me an idea, if it’s proving really popular, to pitch something similar or related externally and it gives me a great reason to be pitching the story.
Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance
Quite obvious why this section is useful (only where sites have ecommerce tracking set up correctly ) as it allows me to see which are the best-selling products and therefore either include these in my PR campaign as I know they’re popular or look at the ones that aren’t selling so well and focus some attention on them to boost sales.