SEO and PR – What You Need to Know

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By Boris Dzhingarov

PR and SEO have always had a symbiotic relationship, but with the recent turn Google has taken, the role of public relations in SEO is more important than ever. We’ve known for a while that SEO needs to be part of a wider marketing approach in order to be effective, and different channels can affect how you perform. But out of all channels, we can argue that PR is the most powerful when it comes to getting organic results. Yet, so many are still unaware of its power and pay very little attention to PR besides releasing routine press releases. Here’s what everyone should know about the impact of PR on SEO.

PR Could Allow You to Rank for Specific Keywords

One of the effects of PR is that it allows your business to be featured alongside specific keywords. This, in return, can help your site build authority for these terms. If Google notices that your brand is constantly mentioned around certain keywords and these mentions are coming from reputable sites, then it will automatically assume that your site is an authority in that domain. Getting that type of attention ethically can be difficult, and PR is one of the only ways to generate that attention organically.

PR and the Power of Brand Mentions

For a long time, only linked mentions of your brand had an impact on SEO. And, in many ways, it did a lot of disservice to companies with solid brands who did not focus on link building. However, Google adjusted its algorithm to measure any and every mention of your brand, even if there’s no link.

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Brand mentions are now recognized as one of the best ways to gain traction and more visibility in search engines. Not only that, but local brand mentions have a huge impact on local search results. So, if you want to increase brand recognition online and offline at the same time, local PR should be part of your strategy.

Eliminate Silos for Greater Performance

PR and SEO in many ways share the same goals, and it’s important that your teams work together if you want better results. For instance, if your PR team comes up with a story, you should have your SEO team look it up so they can optimize it. Conversely, your SEO team could submit a few keywords you want to rank for so that the PR department can create material around those themes.

Your PR team could also help you to secure backlinks or contributed columns from reputable publications. Content marketing is also about distribution, and working closely with your PR team will make sure that this part isn’t overlooked.

PR is Still a Great Way to Build Backlinks

At the end of the day, backlinks are still one of the most important criteria in Google’s ranking algorithm, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. While in many cases you won’t get a link to your page from publications, there is still the chance that people will share the story and decide to link back to your service or products. This will not only create more organic traffic to your site and visibility on search engines, but it will push your visitors to continue spreading awareness about your brand after they’ve interacted with it.

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It also means that you should try to be proactive, reach out to sites where your stories are published, and ask them if they would be willing to link back to your site. In some cases, some sites may mention your brand without you even knowing it, so it would be wise to set up a Google alert for every time your business is mentioned. Also, before you start asking publications, try to find out if they allow do-follow links as they will give you the most benefit from an SEO standpoint.

PR Doesn’t Stop with Press Releases

There are tons of ways that you can generate PR for your business that don’t involve press releases. You could decide to release a brochure or a white paper, release a study about a current topic, or do something as simple as increase engagement with your customers through social media.

Another thing that will allow you to get positive PR is to get involved in your community. For instance, organizing a local charity event could go a long way in increasing natural mentions of your brand and positive PR.

Building relationships will also help you a lot. For instance, if you have access to influencers, you could allow them to review some of your products. However, you have to make sure that you’re confident in your product since reviews can go both ways.

Another way that you can generate tons of PR, and subsequently get more brand mentions and better search results, is by participating in contests in your industry. Winning an important competition will give you tons of free press coverage, and allow you to build additional trust in your company.

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PR is the Most Sustainable Link Building Method That You Can Use

No matter what technique you’re using now to build backlinks to your site, there aren’t as many that are as ironclad as PR. Many techniques that were seen as perfectly acceptable not too long ago can now be detrimental to your search results. But PR will always play a central role, and will always remain a legitimate way to get coverage, visibility, and improve your SEO results.

While search engines are cracking down on most SEO practices that they judge are manipulating their algorithms, there will never be a day where having a great story published by a reputable source will get you penalized. This makes PR one of the best strategies to invest in for the long run.

PR and SEO should go hand in hand, and if you haven’t built a solid PR strategy by now, your SEO is bound to suffer. So, make sure that you increase your PR efforts if you haven’t done so already, and ensure that your SEO, PR, and content department are all on the same page.