PR and SEO used to be worlds apart, with traditional PR focussing on offline strategy for a long time and SEO covering online website activity, but in recent years, demand for digital PR has risen dramatically and as a result, the two disciplines now work harmoniously.
Google’s priority at the moment is its users and brands are putting a lot of energy into ensuring their websites are safe, user-friendly and understood by search engines. Once your website is performing well from a technical point of view and optimised for people, then the fun starts.
Content Is Still King
Creating content as part of your marketing strategy is really important, although what’s fundamental is that the content is genuinely interesting, useful and answers questions that people are searching for. This is true for both PR and SEO content.
Before creating any content though, wider business goals need to be communicated and understood, then a detailed strategy can be designed to impact on those goals, allowing PR and SEO to work simultaneously. For example, seasonality and themes can be used to build a content plan and PR and SEO activity can be integrated into the plan to support one another, maximising the outcome of each campaign.
In both disciplines, quality content is paramount. For PR, it’s about satisfying the journalist and offering something that stands out and adds value. For SEO, it’s about satisfying the user and ensuring content is optimised for real people.
We like to use the term ‘link earning’ in place of ‘link building’ – it makes more sense when it comes to great content that deserves recognition. The higher the quality of content, whether that is because of its uniqueness or the detail and research behind it, the more links it’s likely to earn. It’s worth noting that content doesn’t have to be in written form – it could be a video, image, or an infographic for example – these are your digital assets.
Of course, links don’t just roll in overnight – there’s some hard work involved in getting content seen by the right people, and this is where PR comes in. Building meaningful relationships with people who work at credible, authoritative publications is key – and supporting them with strong content when they need it will help to create a lasting relationship. PR professionals know a thing or two about getting businesses featured on high quality sites and SEO professionals know that individual outreach is key. Building a targeted list of potential prospects, rather than offering content to anyone, and taking more control over the link equity passed to your website makes link earning much more effective.
Google has moved away from ranking websites based on the volume of links they have. Instead, they are championing quality, user intent and user experience. That’s not to say that links are no longer powerful – in fact, they are still very valuable, and PR activity can work as a catalyst for earning links.
Brand authority is becoming increasingly important as Google hones in on the actions and opinions of users, and features such as reviews are more visible and important for brands online. Google review partners such as TrustPilot make it easy for customers to share their experiences and gives companies the chance to listen. If you are confident in your product or service, implementing a review system could give your website a boost in online visibility, as well as persuade potential customers to buy from you. Reviews will have to be monitored closely of course, as part of a brand’s reputation management – once a core element of PR, and now seemingly blurred between PR and SEO.
Authority can also be achieved by generating coverage and links from relevant, reputable sources which allows you to position your business as an expert and helps you to gain credibility for your brand.
Ultimately, your PR and SEO activity can and should be working in tandem, and be completely aligned with your wider goals, to give your business the best possible results and to build a brand that lasts.
O Communications is an integrated creative agency in Newcastle. Need some help with your combined PR & SEO strategy but not sure where to start? Drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org