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What is the most important aspect of marketing for a brand looking to increase their online visibility? Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Search engine marketing (SEM)? Or is it public relations (PR)? As is often the case when discussing marketing and PR strategies and tactics, there is hardly a one-size-fits-all answer.
Building or expanding domain authority and online visibility requires thoughtful work with search engines. However, these goals depend equally on a brand’s reputation and consumer confidence in the company’s products and services. PR is one of the most important tools to build that trust and reputation. To excel in today’s digital landscape, brands need to integrate PR into their SEO strategy.
At the same time, tactics that used to be the gold standard, like backlink building, are becoming less important. In this article, we take a closer look at the new relationship between PR and SEO.
Related Topics: What Are Backlinks and Why Do You Need Them for Your SEO?
Why it is important to combine SEO and PR
Less than ten years ago, building quality backlinks from external websites to your own website was crucial to achieving high rankings on search engine results pages like Google. Backlinks signaled to Google’s crawlers that others trusted a site and were likely to be useful to search engines with relevant searches.
Nowadays use search engines far more sophisticated algorithms to determine the value and ranking of a website. While backlinks are still part of the equation, they are no longer the deciding factor. One reason for this change is that backlinks were too easy to manipulate. Some could be bought or traded, so search engine owners looked for alternatives.
Organic media coverage has become one of those alternative measures of determining a website’s ranking. That’s why integrating PR and SEO is crucial when it comes to increasing your brand’s online visibility.
Benefits of PR for SEO
public relations or Editorial reporting increases trust in a brand. Journalists and the media for which they write or produce content are generally perceived as third parties who do not automatically take the content provided by a company at face value. Instead, they review and question the information provided and seek corroboration from other sources before considering publication.
To put it more simply, while brands can easily fill their own media channels with corporate messages, those messages need to stand up to scrutiny if they are to be published in a magazine or on a highly respected online platform.
As part of an optimized marketing strategy, PR supports a brand’s search engine optimization strategy in a number of ways, including:
- Improvement of search engine ranking
- Increasing website traffic
- Development of a more diverse backlink profile
Furniture retailer IKEA’s award-winning “Cook this Page” campaign is an example of how PR can benefit search engine optimization. The campaign featured recipes printed on parchment, making it easier to measure ingredients and giving users an easy-to-clean kitchen.
media companies like promotional week, Fast company And huff post The campaign was picked up and linked to the retailer’s website. These stories not only drove direct website traffic to the campaign, but also generated high-quality, third-party supported backlinks.
How SEO and PR work together
Using PR to improve search engine rankings works best when both aspects of marketing are integrated into a campaign or project from the start.
Consider optimizing your brand’s PR campaign content for the keywords the company wants to rank for. Remember that search engine algorithms are very good at detecting keyword stuffing and unnatural-sounding content. However, well-crafted press releases and other materials can easily include important keywords without sounding artificial.
Remember that story power, relevance and newsworthiness remain the most important criteria for a media company. But none of these requirements prevent PR professionals from writing SEO-oriented. When publications pick up on a brand’s story, PR can increase the number, quality, and variety of backlinks generated for the brand.
Web-based publications in particular are usually happy to include links to a relevant product website in their content. The brand benefits from the connection and growing credibility thanks to third-party support.
Related: 5 ways solid SEO and web design work together to build a relationship with Google
Best practices for combining SEO and PR
In order to optimally combine SEO and PR, digital marketers must approach their campaigns with both aspects in mind from the start. Integration is the key to successful implementation.
Here are some of the most promising best practices:
- Conduct keyword research and optimize PR pitches for SEO before contacting journalists.
- Leverage branded social media channels to increase pitching efforts and new media coverage.
- Create highly engaging social media content that’s too good not to share. This type of content naturally increases awareness and generates backlinks.
Both PR and SEO are vital in improving a brand’s online visibility. When we treat them as equals when developing messages, pitches and campaigns, we set the stage for outstanding coverage and strong backlinks.
Backlinks alone no longer determine the ranking of a website in search engines like Google. Search engine algorithms look for fresh, consistent, and relevant content that matches a user’s search query. Integrating keyword research results with journalist PR pitches, social media posts, and other content supports SEO rankings.
Each of these tools and tactics play an important role in determining search engine rankings and increasing brand visibility and credibility. To maximize a brand’s commercial and media opportunities, marketers need to combine as many tools as possible into compelling stories that resonate with journalists and consumers alike. Of course, as discussion around these stories increases, online visibility will improve.