Can SEO and PR work together?

The Evening SEO Talk with with João Pereira

It was great meeting somebody I was working with in the past. The beer was cold, the pizza was tasty and the SEO talk never really dried up. But one thing kept on popping up – is there any difference really between SEO and PR (Public Relations)?

Nowadays a large portion of our focus is shifting towards attracting high-quality brand mentions by getting other websites to talk about you. Generating this buzz requires a PR approach so making PR part of our search engine optimisation strategy is of a paramount importance for success.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some noticeable differences between SEO and online PR. One of those differences would be inbound marketing vs outbound marketing. SEO is more of an inbound marketing catering for the purposes of fulfilling existing demand, and PR is more of an outbound marketing as it creates new demand for products and services by generating awareness. That said there is a big overlap and combining the two strategies can only increase the end result of our marketing efforts.

How PR and SEO work together

One area of a big overlap is content. If you happen to be working in PR then you are probably producing content every single day, whether it’s a press release or an interview. Doesn’t that sound like exactly what we SEOs are currently doing day in day out? (Content is King, isn’t it?). Of course, we may have to consider some technical details that PR’s don’t, but then again we don’t have to think about spreading the word the way they do demographically.
Good content can earn ‘good’ links. But in order for people to talk about it and link back to it, they have to know about it. Using a PR approach can amplify your social and influencer reach thus significantly increasing you exponential social growth, introducing your articles and brand to potential new customers and channels that could reward you with a link or brand mention.

I’ve mentioned links, yes, lovely juicy links we are all dreaming about. Links are still an integral part of the Google algorithm. But over the years Google started recognising (and punishing) all black hat techniques like link farms and fake blogs. Nowadays Google only favours links that are highly authoritative and this is where SEO and PR really come together.

Those in PR have the skills to gain exposure and build indispensable relationships that are a must-have in targeting media sites, government organisations and the highly valuable by Google education links such as .ac or .uk. As an SEO are you going to say no to a link coming from a .ac website?
Didn’t think so.

Let me give you some ideas.

A typical media partnerships for PR campaigns can be an ‘open door’ to top notch links such as Newspaper and Radio sites.

Ask your PR team to negotiate speaking slots within your industry conferences where your can be portrayed and linked from highly relevant and very authoritative conference websites. The key is to target your niche.

PR stunts can not only gain some great newspaper coverage but also has the potential, with a carefully planned social media strategy, of course, to generate huge interest on the social networks. These types of campaigns (check this one by Hostelworld.com) can build enormous amounts of social shares (social signals also benefit your SEO) and increase the volume of ‘natural’ links too.

Conclusion:

The evolution of PR and SEO in recent years is bringing those – at first glance miles away – industries ever closer. SEO and PR can and should work closely together to build your brand’s credibility. The SEO and PR synergy can also vastly increase your search visibility through valuable and relevant content, which accrues quality links. Both SEO and PR professionals should embrace the idea of working together in order to build link authority for your website, improve rankings in the search results and grow brand awareness.