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Why SEO and PR are a killer combination

Ben Dickens, November 7, 2014

Four reasons why SEO and PR strategies should be united.

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Google, our indispensable search engine (which recently celebrated its 16th birthday), has given rise to a whole new industry – Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

What has become unequivocally clear is that successful PR and SEO need to work in tandem. But why exactly?
SEO strategies have changed a lot over the past few years, namely due to several updates Google rolled out to improve the quality of search engine page results (SERPs). The consequential was the Penguin updates, which penalised websites possessing questionable inbound links.

So now there is a big focus on generating high-quality brand mentions on third-party websites. When targeting these sites, their authority is important, but relevance has also become an important ranking factor.

To create a media buzz around campaigns, which is what we all strive for, an in-depth PR approach is required to ensure that brand coverage is both relevant and of high quality. SEO and PR share the same aim.

With Google’s algorithm updates, PR practitioners have been forced to question how a brand’s reputation is filtered and perceived through the digital sphere. Which means getting to grips with SEO.

Google search is both a reputation engine as well as a database of intentions. What I mean by the latter is each of the 34,000 Google search queries, which are typed every second of every day around the world, has an intent or motivation behind it. When people ‘google’, they are looking for something specific. We all know that what pops up first is meant to be indisputably the most relevant piece of content. As such, the order of results has an incomparable impact on how users behave and interact with a brand. Google’s recent Hummingbird update addressed this by trying to apply a more semantic approach – understanding what a search term really means and ‘thinking’ more like a human to deliver more relevant SERPs.

With this in mind, here are four reasons why SEO and PR strategies should be combined:

1. High quality content earns links
Content sent to media outlets has to be of high quality. Simple. They receive hundreds of press releases each day, so it takes a very well-thought-out piece of content to get them interested. The subject line needs to grab their attention and the text must have strong reader appeal. And if it’s published, it will attract links – the basis of a healthy SEO campaign.

2. PR relationships can help create authoritative links
Relationships built through public relations are the kind SEO dreams are made of. If a journalist on an authoritative website knows you, they are more likely to consider a pitch and, if convinced of its merits, publish your story with a relevant link. Such natural links have far more weight than hundreds of links built simply to manipulate search rankings.

3. Social media campaigns benefit from PR outreach
Sharing your content on social media helps to expose it to a larger audience, which can also earn links. But there’s no guarantee that you will reach the groups you intend to appeal to. A strategic PR approach allows you to do just that, delivering the kind of social shares that really matter. Great news for the content’s SEO value.

4. Delivering an effective digital strategy
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. PR understands the needs of the online media landscape – the ingredients content must have to persuade journalists to publish it. SEO analyses audience behaviour data – basically the online activity of the audience, including interests and demographics. Combining the two areas of expertise makes for an effective digital strategy.

SEO and PR will most likely always remain as separate entities, but combining them certainly creates an effective online marketing strategy.
If you’re interested in discussing a marketing strategy for your brand, you can get in touch with us here.

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