We’ve all experienced those little eureka moments when you take two things and put them together, even though you may have thought they wouldn’t work, but it just makes sense…and once you try it, you’d never go back. The same could be said for SEO and Digital PR.
Like peanut butter and jam (or “jelly” for our American friends), pineapple on pizza, or even socks and sliders – for a while now, a lot of marketers have been missing out on another fantastic killer-combo: SEO and Digital PR.
Yes, I know it’s an oversimplification, and yes, they’re two different and well-respected disciplines, but when they work together – absolute magic can happen.
There’s been a lot of back and forth around this topic in the marketing community recently, especially around the view of digital PR being used as a pure link building strategy. Does it work? Yes. It does it better than anything else, but there’s so much more to it. Even the voice of Google himself, John Mu, agrees:
What is digital PR?
Digital PR is an online marketing discipline, used to generate publicity around a certain brand, topic or product by obtaining coverage in online media outlets and industry sources (to name a few).
“A great Digital PR campaign creates unique content, or maybe a creative asset, that is so good, that journalists can’t help but cover it (and link to it!)”
– Gary Jenkins, Managing Director at No Brainer Agency
When done well, great Digital PR strategies can:
- Achieve high-quality backlinks – helping increase a websites’ authority/rankings
- Grow your brand’s credibility and trust with consumers
- Drive pre-qualified traffic and increase conversions
- Combat any negative search results showing for your brand name (also called ORM)
- Help brands stand out amongst very crowded marketplaces (making a boom or generating buzz).
And remember, those amazing results are there forever.
Tactically, it’s about:
- Earning coverage from online media outlets via news releases and content
- Creative content marketing campaigns and assets, and
- Having a relentless PR on your side fighting for your cause across channels – always with their eye on the ball.
With a good Digital PR agency, it can go well beyond online too – ensuring traditional press is in the mix where relevant too.
Yep. All of that – pretty cool, eh?
What is SEO PR?
Essentially, SEO PR is simply digital PR that has objectives which relate specifically to SEO. This will usually concern the aim of earning links from strong and relevant websites to specific URLs on your site through your PR activity.
Why is SEO important in PR?
SEO is important for any business or organisation because most people use search engines as their first port of call when looking to buy something or find a service provider. PR can play a significant role in SEO and those not utilising it effectively could be missing out.
Not only can SEO drive relevant people with buying intent to your website, it can also be a real brand-booster, helping increase awareness and online visibility generally, amplifying the impact of your wider marketing activity. In digital PR, SEO enables you to maximise the benefit to your website from what you’re already doing to get coverage.
How does PR impact SEO?
In addition to the links that we’ve already mentioned, which are a strong positive signal to search engines about your website, even brand mentions that don’t include links can be beneficial for SEO too.
You can see so many of the outputs of a solid Digital PR campaign will benefit your organic search performance – so why not incorporate it into your SEO strategy from the start?
Here are five reasons why you need Digital PR in your SEO strategy (plus a bonus reason!)…
Optimising your website and content can only take you so far. At some point, you’re going to need backlinks to help drive your website’s authority, and the higher quality the better.
Backlinks are links to your website from third party websites. Search engines view these backlinks as “votes of confidence”. The bigger, more established the brand or website that’s vouching for you, the greater benefit on SERPs your website will receive – because Google will surmise your content must be quality for all these websites to vouch for you, and then surely it will be beneficial and relevant for users too – so they rank your website higher.
When we talk about “high quality” links, what we really mean is high “authority” (or Domain Rating – there’s a lot of names for it!). A high authority website is an established and popular website you can usually spot because they outperform most others on search. For example, if Joe Bloggs created a blog on a topic which ranked well, but then the BBC created one on the same topic – the BBC would rank higher, because their website is highly authoritative, has a large backlink profile and is seen as a highly credible and expert source (see E-A-T in the next section).
Most SEOs incorporate some sort of link building into their strategy, and it’s usually “always-on” – and it’s incredibly tough going. In fact it’s a bit of an artform! You need to obtain a decent number of quality backlinks every month to start seeing the benefit, but these aren’t usually as high quality as say the BBC (scoring around 85/100), they’re between 35-65/100.
Does it work? Yes! But it becomes more about quantity of those links whilst maintaining a good average authority.
This is the challenge most SEO’s have to tackle daily.
BUT – that’s where Digital PR can help. A great Digital PR campaign delivers trend-worthy content or assets which are only available on your website, meaning if a journalist wants to cover it (and they probably will), they need to link to your website.
What is PR link building?
PR link building is one name given to PR activity with the primary purpose of building links to your website via the coverage you achieve and the spreading of your story or news.
PR isn’t the only way to build links, but it’s a highly effective way to not only gain the coverage, brand awareness and influence that digital PR can deliver, it can also have a very real impact on your site’s SEO effectiveness.
Digital PR drives large volumes of incredibly high-quality, high authority links (70+) to your website, fast.
So, it’s a valuable strategy for SEOs to significantly move the needle on a website’s performance.
2. It builds your credibility and trustworthiness (E-A-T benefits)
“E-A-T” stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
Most SEO’s will know what it means and its significance, but if it’s new to you – it’s a concept that’s included in Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines. A document created for their (human) rating team who evaluate websites in Google search results.
Their mission is to understand how effective Google’s search algorithm is at ranking websites that are high quality – ensuring the very best, most relevant content is presented to search users.
E-A-T helps guide the team to identify what is and isn’t a “good” website for a search query. So, it’s important stuff for SEOs to take on-board and leverage as part of their strategy.
So, now we know a bit more about E-A-T, however, we should also remember that at the very heart of all this great content should be one thing: the user.
Digital PR and a great content strategy will drill down into your audience, giving brands a 360-degree view of who they’re speaking to, and most importantly, what their audience will engage with.
Combine digital PR and digital marketing best practice with E-A-T principles and you’ll have dynamite that’s driving results long-term.
You could even have a long-term Digital PR and content strategy focused on building your E-A-T!
Yes, Digital PR generates quality links like no other. But this quality isn’t just in authority and the impact it drives for you – it’s about traffic too. Because of the nature of Digital PR, the links you earn will be from targeted media outlets; outlets that have been selected because they’re a part of your audiences’ lives.
And this means they’ll engage with it, click the link, and want to know more, which is what makes online PR in digital marketing such a powerful channel for reaching your target audience.
So, Digital PR drives traffic from the right consumers, who are likely in the market, or at consideration phase (or perhaps they’re ready to purchase). It’ll tip new prospects into the top of the funnel, whilst nurturing others further down. All of which has a positive impact on your conversions and sales.
Another easily measurable win for the SEO team!
If you’re not the market leader, you’re likely chasing the competition. Figuring out what the leader of the pack is doing well is important, so you can emulate it and catch up. But what if you could make a big splash to give you a significant edge you could then keep building on?
We’ve talked about the benefits of Digital PR for SEO, so you already know it’s effective at getting results. And those SEO and public relations results go further than digital, it goes to hearts and minds too.
An effective campaign can send shockwaves through a niche or market, transforming your authority and brand visibility to such an extent, that the market-leaders sit up and takes notice.
I’d argue we’re one of the best agencies to have in your corner when it comes to crisis management, helping to minimise risks and reputational damage. But once the crisis is over, especially if there’s a tonne of negative press, forum comments or reviews – what the heck do you do about that?
The answer is Online Reputation Management, or ORM.
For this article, we’re not looking to create an ORM strategy, but instead are focusing on how Digital PR has a positive effect on it.
What is ORM and why is it important?
It’s a strategy with the sole purpose of creating positive perceptions of a brand. And with most consumers using Google as their first port-of-call for researching products and services, ensuring your brand is perceived in the best possible light on search results is critical.
Typical things that can show up on search engine results about a brand can include:
- Press articles
- Plus many others!
We’ve touched on E-A-T principles, but let’s drill down a bit more on the T: Trustworthiness. Google looks at the factors listed above and mixes them together with what they already know about you. This can make or break a business. Too much bad online press showing on page one for your brand from authoritative websites can and has killed traffic for some.
Digital PR and SEO can absolutely help to combat this. That’s why an integrated and proactive approach, rather than a reaction when things are going bad, is another reason why Digital PR, leveraged for ORM, could and should be a focus of your SEO strategy.
It will fill that first page of results with backlinks that scream positive sentiment from highly credible websites to do your brand justice.
Google has hundreds of ranking signals – these are the factors that, when done well, accumulate into Google identifying and rewarding a high authority website.
As an SEO, you’re trying to satisfy these signals the best you can (certainly better than the competition!), so you can reap the rewards.
Brand signals are a real thing, and can include:
- Brand name anchor text – the bit of text a link is applied to (i.e. Lego).
- Branded searches – if users search for your brand, it tells Google your website is a real brand
- Social – having lots of likes/followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all positive signals too
- Brand + query (keyword) searches – increases in volumes of searches for your brand, plus a query could give your non-branded positions a boost for that query
- Brand mentions in news – if a brand is frequently in the news, you’ll likely see them in the “Top Stories” section on the first page of Google search results. See below for Lego:
Digital PR can help boost a brand’s visibility, drives direct traffic, but also in-turn satisfies some (if not most) of those brand signals. This combination of SEO, PR and other internet marketing activity can be extremely powerful and effective.
How do I get a PR link?
Understanding the importance of PR links for SEO is one thing, but actually getting links from your PR activity is a whole other matter. The simple answer is to ask the journalist to include a link with their online coverage.
However, things aren’t always that straightforward and link requests need to be handled sensitively so that they don’t damage relationships with journalists and other media contacts. Find out more about how PRs can effectively gain links here.
Digital PR and SEO definitely go together like peanut butter and jam, and it makes for delicious results!
There are so many online marketing disciplines that work well with SEO – so having an integrated, if not holistic, approach to how you shape your strategy is vital. But remember how Digital PR can help take your SEO strategy to the next level.
If you’d like to beat the competition, increase your backlinks, and essentially achieve everything we’ve set out on this article – we’d love to grab a brew with you and chat about how we can deliver that!