Competitive Intelligence for PR Part 2: Optimize Content with Search Data


Image from: Keywords / Shutterstock

In Part One of the Competitive Intelligence for PR series, we discussed finding strategic, engaging sites to pursue. The question then becomes, once you know where to pitch, how do you do it as effectively as possible?

Are the keywords/content in line with what your client wants lift for?

Search referrals hone in on the right keywords:

Keyword reports allow you to view the search terms driving traffic to a domain. This information can aid in planning pitches, subject lines and story ideas.

In the example report below, we are able to view a list of domains that receive traffic from the exact match keyword “gardening.” This report illustrates that (Better Homes & Gardens),, and are the sites receiving the highest volume of traffic generated by the keyword “gardening” being used in search engines. Therefore, if I know I want to craft a pitch or storyline around the word “gardening,” I know exactly which publications are benefiting most from that term.

gardening keywords

This, however, doesn’t tell the full story; it’s important to understand which sites rely on this keyword for traffic.

Sites can be filtered by percentage to view exact search referral share. Note, the results above are sites receiving search referrals for the exact keyword “gardening.” If you are not satisfied with the results and want to examine more sites, you can search for broad matches of sites that had search referrals including “gardening.” For example, sites referred by “gardening tools” would then be included in the results.

Paid versus natural keywords:

Once you have a highly targeted list, you can investigate the quality of the site’s traffic deeper by reviewing the paid versus natural keyword break-out. A website buying traffic for a keyword rather than ranking for it naturally may not be the best fit for your client. High organic search referrals are healthier and more sustainable for the long term.

For a more in-depth analysis, look at the paid and total search referrals for a domain over the past two years. Are there seasonal trends? Have the referrals been consistent? For example, this search referral graph for clearly shows its search referrals spike seasonally in the spring; but, it’s a natural spike–paid search referrals do not increase dramatically throughout the year.

gardening search referrals graph

Investigate key engagement and loyalty metrics:

Take a closer look at the actions a prospective site’s keywords are driving. As discussed in part one, engagement metrics can provide further insight into consumer activity on a site. In the search referral reports, average and total time index can illustrate the overall engagement and popularity for a given domain. Both of these metrics are equally important.

A site will have a high total time index due to a high volume of visitors, but if said site also has a high total time or average time index, you know those visitors are engaging with the content. For example, someone planning a garden with an online tool is likely to stay longer than someone searching more generic terms. If a site has a high total time or average time index or a combination of those metrics for important keywords, you’ve found your sweet spot.

Stay tuned for the third installment of Competitive Intelligence for Public Relations. Ever wonder exactly where a site gets most of its traffic from besides search? We will discuss the importance of incoming and outgoing referral traffic, as well as some practical tips for how you can become more competitive with that data.

About Sarah Friedman:
Sarah is a member of the Syndicated Products Customer Success team at Millward Brown Digital. Sarah attended Northeastern University. Prior to Millward Brown Digital, Sarah worked in Advertising and Public Relations. Connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn