March 20, 2014
Public relations (PR) and search engine optimization (SEO) are separate entities, but combining the two creates such a powerful force, it seems they were almost designed to go together.
The heart of PR is an attempt to use the media to create dialogue, conversation and awareness of a business, person, or event. It is, in essence, a business built on words. When those words are built on the back of a competent SEO strategy, they become infinitely more powerful in their reach, strength and ability to improve a document’s visibility. PR is about content and SEO was designed to elevate content to its highest level.
PR and Links
According to an interview with PR expert James Crawford, 20 percent of traffic comes from links that have been developed naturally. However, if you use SEO to acquire links with your content, you can bring that number up to a full 40 percent. Press coverage — which starts with a good PR campaign — is one of the best ways to acquire those links.
PR: Built for SEO
In the same interview, Crawford discusses the kinds of content that works best when tying a PR campaign to a SEO strategy. The best way to acquire links, he says, is by including search pieces, studies and videos. It makes no difference whether the keyword traffic is branded or unbranded — either way, the search numbers go up.
This pattern increases when the PR agency includes basic details such as who, what, why, when and where into the first paragraph of the press release or profile.
According to one expert article, “Every senior-level PR and content marketing professional should have a solid understanding of how SEO works and how it applies to their own work.”
Integrating SEO into the standard writing style of your firm, from the top down, is key to making your PR firm’s culture operate on the assumption that good content is paramount to good search results — but that good content alone is not good enough.
According to digital PR consultant Carrie Morgan, five minutes of keyword research can amplify the results of your campaign immensely. Instead of writing about a topic in which you assume people will be interested, she states, research trending topics on social media. Twitter, for example, plainly lays out the exact keywords that are buzzing at any given moment. You can find them with a simple hashtag search.
Don’t let a guest blog or a byline article go to waste. It is imperative to point links back to your own company or personal website. Add value by hyperlinking either in the body of the piece or in the bio. If it’s difficult to place the link naturally in the piece itself, feel free to slide it into an “about us” section.
According to one expert strategy, you can “plant the seed for brand awareness” by using traditional media exposure as your foundation and then supplementing that with a barrage of new media. Local press and trade blogs can be supercharged by acquiring inbound links from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your own business blog and direct e-mail newsletter.
As major changes to Google and a wave of unethical, black-hat keyword stuffers have created a conversation about the future — and effectiveness —of SEO, there is one arena that undeniably goes hand-in-hand with SEO: public relations. The content that is created by good PR pros is the stuff that SEO was designed to enhance through link-building, metadata, page structure and keywords.
There is never a replacement for good content, but when that content is supported by a foundation of strong SEO, the options are endless.