For many years, the worlds of public relations and search engine
optimization (SEO) have existed on different “islands,” providing
mutually exclusive benefits.
Through Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithmic updates—two changes that
have boosted the importance of editorial quality and referral sites, and
have nixed the spammier forms of SEO—public relations and SEO have
emerged as similar practices.
Today PR and SEO have nearly identical goals: to obtain earned media.
Both PR and SEO need a backbone of relevant, informative, and newsworthy
SEO is evolving into a PR and content-oriented practice. Those islands
are converging with shared tasks, vision, and goals. Whether you are a
PR pro looking to augment your digital practice or an SEO expert looking
for time-tested relationship-building and media relations skills, here
are ways you can integrate the two practices to create a maximum boost
for your business:
Guest posts or blogs are a key component of most enterprise’s public
relations plans, as they do a lot to establish expertise. When you write
a bylined guest article for an online publication, be sure to work with
an SEO expert to make sure the links and anchor text included in the
article work to your business’s advantage.
An example: At iAcquire
(the digital marketing agency where I work), I recently joined forces
with the director of business solutions, who is responsible for the
strategy behind our clients’ SEO and reputation management. The original
copy in my byline article included branded keywords and linked to our
After a keyword analysis, my colleague was able to tell me that there
was far greater value in linking to a sub-page within our site on our
offerings using the keyword “X”. The more relevant the link, the better,
so leverage internal relationships with an SEO team to boost your
SEO and PR should partner in influencer outreach efforts to boost a brand’s online reputation.
Recent Google updates lend a stronger share of the pie to social
signals, so establishing relationships with key influencers on those
social networks has both SEO and PR value. Work together to define,
evaluate, and reach out to social influencers. Realize that this
partnership can secure future media relationships and boost social
signals for your business.
Shared media lists
PR pros have media lists. SEO experts have lists of external website and
blog targets. SEO professionals might take a more complex look at an
external site’s page rank, unique visitors, or Alexa rank, while a PR
pro’s list is more likely to have information on the outlet’s editorial
angle, beat, and individual reporters. Combine your lists and work
together on an outreach strategy. SEO pros can learn a lot about the
basics of relationship building; PR professionals can learn about site
Press release 2.0
Press releases are ancient. Optimized press releases aren’t.
Simply put, releases that are optimized to include multimedia assets and
link to social channels are very effective. Use SEO tactics to find
popular keywords, inject them into your press release, and then see the
search engine traffic flood your brand’s website. Work with a digital
marketing team to create unique assets such as video interviews to give
the content of your release that extra boost of interactivity.
Whether you are in SEO or PR, the underlying necessity to create
high-quality content remains the same. Create a shared editorial
guideline document that has some of these basic pillars:
1. Gives a unique angle to a told story;
2. Shares new information;
3. Has a backbone of a strong intro, body, and conclusion;
4. Is not thin content (i.e., doesn’t simply identify a problem without really giving any solutions);
5. Is newsworthy: creates a stir, is tied to a current event, and doesn’t cover stale news;
6. Is backed up by research;
7. Offers a solution;
8. Has a clear audience in mind;
9. Demonstrates why the topic is important and whom it affects;
10. Passes the “So what?” test.
Also, strong on-page content, that is, the actual text on
the static pages of your website, such as an “about” page, is important
for all departments within a business. Around 15 percent of the Google
algorithm focuses on on-page content: its relevance, usefulness, social
sharability, and metadata. Therefore, it should be a joint concern for
SEO and PR. Webpage copy needs to be search-engine friendly,
informative, and unique to rank highly and gain attention.
Combining editorial calendars
Stay consistent. Create a combined editorial calendar for internal
content, social updates, and external targets. Disjointed messaging can
create confusion in the way consumers view your brand.
As a PR professional, you likely have a long list of media placements
you’ve obtained. When was the last time you shared that list with your
SEO team? You may be wondering why you would hash up placements from the
past, but it actually can serve as a pretty effective form of link
building for SEO pros.
Give the list of old placements to your SEO team and have them contact
the outlets, especially if they didn’t link back to your site. This can
diversify and grow the overall number of links you have pointing back to
your organization’s domain.
[RELATED: Register for our PR Measurement Summit by Aug. 1 to get the early bird discount.] PR stunts and events
Over-the-top media stunts, events, launches, and meet-ups can attract
great coverage and more links for your business. SEO and PR pros can
work together to spread the word about events through social influencer
outreach, submitting events to community local listings, and generating
hype prior to the event. Invite journalists, webmasters, bloggers, and
brand advocates to the event, and they will cover the event.
Forbes, “The Death of SEO, The Rise of Social PR and Real Content” Allie Gray Freeland is the PR director at iAcquire, a digital marketing agency based in New York City and Phoenix. Read more from Allie on her company's blog.
PR Daily, “Three Best Practices of SEO for PR”
Top Rank Blog, “SEO/PR Fail”
The Independent, “SEO and PR To Work Together for Online Success”
Screaming Frog, “Why SEO and PR Are Closer Than You Think”