As a small side project I recently took a look at the keywords that appear on PR websites. The results might be of use – they’re further down this posting and I plan to do more work on this, so I’ve created a new page on this blog to store the table for future reference.
Firstly, the software. There are some pay-for services out there, such as Yahoo’s Overture, Google Adwords and the big daddy of them all, Wordtracker. However for my purposes I used the nifty – and free – Good Keywords application. It’s well regarded as an effective way to isolate and manage keywords.
As my methodology I used its Web Page Explorer feature to extract and count the keywords from the pages on a selection of ten major UK PR agency sites that described what those companies did, usually the ‘about us’ page or similar. This meant I used copy representative of general descriptions of PR rather than specialities. It would probably have been better to identify keywords from entire sites but the software doesn’t have this ‘crawl’ feature.
I then just collated the results across all the pages, removed the really generic words that could apply to any site, and here are the results, for keywords that appeared at least twice:
So, what does this tell us? Well, you could simply stitch the top five keywords together and state that ‘PR people are in the business of client communications’! What I find interesting however is that PR didn’t come top: communications did. Indeed, it didn’t even come second: clients did, with people fifth, showing how important people are in communications, as opposed to, say, technology or finance.
I also find it interesting and illuminating that web is so low! This could show that PR companies still don’t see online as a key speciality, or simply that I need to make my survey more comprehensive.
What this means practically is that I can now pepper my copy with these keywords and, whereas I know this isn’t by any means a panacea for search engine optimisation, at least I’ve taken a small step towards giving my copy a chance by building these words into it. The Good Keywords software also offers alternative keyword suggestions that might get better hits, so I’ll be using this study as a basis for that, although I suspect the top keywords will work fine.
One final observation: actually, the keywords that came top for every site were ‘us’, ‘we’ or ‘our’ (as I said, I stripped the generic stuff out). Does this mean that PR people like to talk about themselves a lot, I wonder…?
I’m going to extend this quick survey to include more sites and move on to double keywords. Meanwhile, if any PR copywriters are out there needing a quick SEO resource, feel free to use this for inspiration.
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