Digital Marketing, Guest Posts, PR 20, Search Marketing Advice

Co-op SEO and the Future of Websites

Guest post by Jason Kintzler, the Founder and CEO of PitchEngine, where people go to get the word out. He’s a former journalist turned PR guy and straight shooter at New Media Cowboy.

Way back in the early days of PitchEngine (like 2009), people thought we were crazy to offer our social media news release service for free. “I can publish search engine optimized pitches for free, really?” Sales reps from traditional PR distribution services were even quoted as saying, “there’s a reason it’s free.” – implying that it doesn’t perform well. Little did they know, the model was well beyond their pay grade.

The Idea: “Co-op SEO”

The terminology came from one of our developers (Thanks, Dave), but the model has been in place since our inception. Basically, it’s everyone’s intention to tell their story and to share it. Which brings up the whole “viral” aspect of the platform.

Here’s how it works:

  1. People come to PitchEngine to get the word out about something.
  2. They create a pitch (which might be an announcement, a virtual brochure, a press release or even an ad)
  3. They share their pitch

Before PitchEngine, you could:

  1. Optimize your own content (which is difficult to do without some real knowledge of SEO)
  2. Pay a service that in turn pays to have your content listed in search engines (expensive)
  3. Get coverage on a popular blog or online news portal like Mashable that has great SEO juice

So, What Changed?

PitchEngine provided a platform for people to get their word out. Each of the 27,000 companies that use the service had the same goal – to share their pitch. Aside from optimizing the structure of the site and the pitches themselves, sheer volume and traffic drove our authority with Google and other search engines. Meaning, a brand (or person) could benefit by leveraging the crowd. The more one company shares their pitch, the more views it has, the more backlinks it provides, and so on. That’s what we’ve dubbed, “Co-op SEO.” It’s the power of the users, the crowd, that makes the engine rev.

How Does This Help You?

I’m not an SEO expert, but I’ve learned from some of the best. Let’s say you’re a small business owner who wants your brand to appear in Google when someone searches for your product or service in your area. If you make a blog or website, you have to find ways to get people to visit your site, thus affecting your search indexing. But, if that same brand simply creates a pitch on PitchEngine, and includes the product or service in their headline as keywords, they will typically appear somewhere on Google within 30 minutes for the search terms.

But what if you’re a big business with lots of SEO already? Spread the net. Regardless of size, you need backlinks. The more content pointing to your site from sites with authority the better. Use PitchEngine to centralize the launch of your stories. The more content, the better which leads me to the next thing…

Social Media Optimization

Sites like Facebook and Twitter can help you spread your brand’s net even wider. Someone searches for you, they’ll find your Twitter profile or Facebook brand page. This is another example of why you need accounts on these sites. But what do your consumers, journalists or readers do once they get there? Are they seeing exactly the stories that are important to you? How do you get them to your website or blog? Perhaps the better question is: How can you tell them your story?

For a few years, the blog (or website) has been the place to expand and give people the real “back story” about you or your business. Then came social networks that were great places to deliver and share messages – but not really that great for telling your story. That’s where the Pitchâ„¢ comes in. It enables a brand to share their story in it’s entirety and with context. Unlike your blog, which is on an island, the Pitch is mobile and travels around to all the places you need it to – email, social networks, search engines, etc., It’s not just distribution, it’s self publishing.

Why Am I sharing This?

Transparency is a brand currency on the social web. I’m sharing our recipe with you because I think it’s important to understand. The “magic” that the middlemen used to sell you is simply becoming snake oil. We’re often compared to PR distribution services, which is okay, but it’s apples to oranges. Their magic? It’s called Comtex, and every big PR wire service uses it to bolster their numbers. Comtex takes their feeds and spreads them around to their member sites. Does that drive business to you? I’ll let you be the judge on that one.

The new PitchEngine platform (launched about three weeks ago), takes things to the next level. Social media has changed the way we communicate. I think PitchEngine has the potential to change the way we publish – maybe even the way we think of our blogs and websites.

(photo by Nieve44)