Why PR and SEO go hand in hand
SEO has been a huge talking point amongst marketing professionals for some time now, with many firms claiming to be able to bring an organisation to the top of the search page with quick fixes or adding in the occasional keyword to a webpage.
SEO is constantly changing, and what worked once won’t necessarily work today, but that doesn’t make it rocket science. And no, we don’t know all of the secrets to Google’s algorithm (that would defeat the point), but what we do know is the effectiveness of a well-written, quality article, blog post or comment on a relevant, high-quality site. SEO doesn’t exist in isolation, in actual fact, it’s the perfect companion for PR.
Links here, there and everywhere
PR is only effective if the published article includes a link back to your company’s website, right? Wrong. Contrary to what people think, you don’t need a link to help you post your search rankings. An implied link (or brand mention) – a reference to content on your website that is not an express link – is just as effective.
Simply put, your brand will have much more search authority if it is cited on other sites, such as media sites, even without a link back to your company page. If a specific term is searched for and if the people searching seem to end up on a specific page, Google will take this as an indication that it is the most useful page for people to find what they need to know, therefore boosting the ranking of the page.
This is what PR is all about: pitching high-quality content to publications, blogs and news sites that are read by an organisation’s target audience, creating a combination of the right content and the right placement. This has been backed up by both Bing and Google too; Google has stressed the importance of publishing high-quality content that is highly cited on the internet, not just through links, but mentions.
That’s not to say that links aren’t important, it’s just that they aren’t the be-all and end-all of the SEO world. Your editorial coverage will be just as valuable for your SEO efforts, even without the links.
Making front page news
National sites are where you want your content placed, right? Well, not always. The nature of search algorithms means that it’s impossible to determine if a mention on a national publication such as the Financial Times will hold more weighting than a trade publication or popular blog. As we’ve said, it’s all about the most quality content on the most quality site; as long as the site is relevant for the stakeholder or audience being targeted, it means it’s a quality site. Writing about pharmaceuticals on a social media blog won’t necessarily help your cause, but a well-researched, unique viewpoint shared on a relevant pharmaceutical journal or publication will do the trick.
The challenge comes with attributing if the implied links were the reason someone searched for a particular term or brand name and then visits the result. If the search is in close succession to seeing the mention, then it’s possible to attribute – especially if the person searching is already using Google for not just search but also Chrome, email, Docs… the list is endless. However, people are time poor and therefore also likely to read an article and then only look further into its content at a later date. This is much harder to track but makes the placement of the article no less valuable. The article will, in essence, have planted the seed of your argument, your solutions and your brand – and it remains published for a long time giving your message a very long shelf life.
Don’t forget about your website
It’s a joint effort, really. As much as it’s essential to have your content recognised by third-party sites, you also need to look at creating owned content that these third-party sites will want to talk about – and even link to – because it’s exactly what their audience wants to read about. The content created in your PR campaign will help here; every piece of content should be mirrored, tailored, chopped and changed into your marketing efforts, which includes your website.
Content really is king – that is no longer front page news. But it can’t be content for the sake of content; think about what your audience wants to read about, put a unique spin on it to turn the content into something really interesting, and give people (journalists, prospects, editors) a genuine reason for wanting to publish your content or find out more about you.
If you want to find out more about how a PR campaign can help you with your SEO efforts, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.