Integrating PR and SEO. A natural, yet undervalued co-existence

Pandas, dinosaurs and rodents
The latest Google Panda algorithm update is the latest in the line to reward rankings based on user experience and quality. Artificial link building is a fossil condemned to the museum of SEO. The penalties search engines apply has made this type of link building extinct. One way to ensure a positive user experience while building links with genuine authority is public relations (PR). It is the mammal of content-based marketing world, adaptable and prosperous. It pre-dates the internet itself and will be around long after other SEO trends have risen and faded into obscurity.

What is Digital PR today?
Today, it can be defined in broad terms as any digital interaction between a business and potential consumers in a public forum that is not direct marketing. There was a day when PR was generally a negative term for a company attempting to deal with bad press, or putting a positive spin on negative situations. But that changed decades ago. You may know it better as a press release to media outlets, but it has evolved well beyond that. Now PR exists across many channels from social media posts to blogs and digital newsletters.

In its essence PR is the point at which a provider and a consumer meet for mutual advantage.
An example: A marketing company writes a blog about the relationship between PR and SEO. A start-up tech company is looking for ways to market and grow an exciting new product. The founder reads the blog. At the very least the tech company founder leaves with information on a marketing channel. And the marketing company has demonstrated their knowledge. The best case scenario sees the tech founder hires the marketing company and through their promotional expertise, he sell a million units and makes large profits.

The intersection of SEO and PR
The value of a PR campaign is two-fold when SEO is considered. If run well, the campaign will connect with people. In turn these people will connect with your business, building visitors to your site and in turn brand authority in the eyes of search engines. In addition, if done correctly any number of reputable news outlets, social media posts and sharing will build links with real authority, as read by search engines. Moreover, if you are a practiced marketing team with journalistic or PR experience. You will understand how to get reporters to talk about your new product, breakthrough in service or achievement using targeted key phrases. This, in-turn has a cumulative effect in SEO, your business is now closely associated with these key phrases, in the data-analysis of search engines.

What does an SEO PR campaign entail?

  • Define your goal: This should not just be, get news coverage, or likes on a post. Really drill down into specifics. Example: Have my new mapping app feature in national articles, describing its uses for reducing travel times in congestion.
  • Define your audience: The trick is start aiming small and attract a specific Example: Instead of aiming for all car owners. Talks about taxi and Uber drivers or corporate commuters.
  • Refine your message: Just like in SEO, complete in-depth research and analysis, think about your audience and develop a set of key phrases that reporters can’t avoid. Example: Our free mapping app has been shown to reduce corporate commuter time by 15 minutes during rush hour and reduce taxi fares by HK$10.
  • Create a medium and media list: Be very selective in your list creation, especially when dealing with reporters. There is nothing reporters detest more than being spammed by unrelated PR. They will likely ignore you in future. Do your research. Example: You shouldn’t just send out to the standard news-tips email address for publications if you want a story on your mapping software. Create a list of motoring and technology publications, reporters and respected bloggers specifically.
  • Create Content: Whether you are writing a press release, e-book, or a lead statement for reporters. Make sure it is compelling. Include data as well as personality. Interest users in the story of your company.
  • Roll-out your campaign: Send your carefully crafted, topicbased pitch or press release to your chosen outlets including the relevant key phrases. Make sure to share the resulting articles or press release to industry related social media feeds.

Track the campaign: As well as monitoring readership, hits and shares on articles, use analytics to review the data including traffic, rankings, leads and sales. There should be a distinct and direct correlation.A great tool to use to check the power of your links and your competitors is through this tool from Moz.