PR and SEO are powerful tools in their own right. But used together, they can take your business to the next level.
And that’s no easy feat. Combining the technical skills of SEO with the relationship-building and storytelling expertise of PR hasn’t always produced great results.
Articles that seemed like they were written by SEO robots were once commonplace and simply used the approach of the more data-driven practices of SEO, rather than taking the time and effort to be valuable to the reader, whilst still including SEO principles.
Thankfully, the market has adapted. PR agencies are developing skills typically only found in search marketing agencies, while SEO teams are learning more about the benefits of good storytelling can have on their own efforts.
The continued transformation of digital media and marketing has seen PR agencies cater to a more data-driven industry, forming what is now known as SEO PR.
But getting it wrong is easier than getting it right, which is why we’ve outlined five top tips for SEO PR best practice and integrating it into your campaigns:
Do your keyword research
SEO practitioners will probably be sick of hearing about keywords, but PR pros are learning more and more about how it relates to the media.
Keywords are the search terms your potential new customers are searching for, so it’s absolutely vital you know what these are.
Research these terms gives you an understanding of the queries your target customers are looking to get answered and the problems they are looking to solve.
Keywords can also relate closely to your PR campaign, providing you with search terms that match with specific publications, journalist ‘beats’ and even topics for creating new content.
You’ll also need to research keywords to figure out what content not to create.
You won’t drive traffic through search engines or coverage in a media publication if you’re creating content around a subject no one is talking about.
And if you think that seems obvious, more than 90% of web pages still get absolutely no traffic from Google because of this.
Don’t rely too heavily on keyword targeting
This might seem a bit contradictory from the above point, but stay with me.
The problem with keywords is that it seems all too easy to stuff a piece of content with the same phrase over and over again with a goal to make your page rank higher.
That’s because it is too easy.
Also known as ‘keyword stuffing’, search engine providers know when you’re trying to fool them and will punish those that do this by pushing them lower down search rankings.
Producing content that looks like it’s been written by a robot, even if it has been written by a robot, is also a big no.
The best approach is to make it unique, organic and engaging. You can do this by focusing on just one or two terms and creating a compelling piece of content that people actually want to read.
When writing for the media, keywords should be used to research trending topics that are being discussed, not just to write you your new headline.
Media websites are powerful enough not to rely too much on keywords, and a journalist will almost certainly reject content if they feel you’re trying to gain an advantage.
Focus on supplying the right content to the media and the benefits of backlinking and having coverage appear high up in search rankings will speak for themselves.
Do your media research
So you’ve produced a list of target keywords to identify target journalists, publications and content topics.
This is a sure fire way to make sure you’re targeting the right people with the right material, but media research goes much further than that.
By identifying the publications that have a strong Domain Authority and ones that provide regular backlinks to websites, you can really drill down into the handful of publications that will benefit you the most.
Over time, sourcing regular backlinks from media websites to your own site will drive up it’s Domain Authority and increase its position in Google search results.
And, because you’ve used keywords to identify the media website as a top target, Google will identify the two sites as closely linked and provide you with additional SEO power.
But remember - search engines will punish those that are seen as spam or even paying for link farms that have nothing to do with the topic at hand, so keep it organic and keep it targeted.
Create a newsroom on your website
Have a guess where journalists go first in order to research a story on a brand or business?
You guessed it, Google.
Creating newsroom pages on the website is a great way of placing all of your useful information and media material - press releases, blogs, media coverage, logos, images and any other background material - in one place.
An SEO-optimised page makes it easy for journalists to find you via Google while performing their online research and credibility checks.
By creating a webpage where all of your media material can be hosted, you not only make it easier for the journalist, but increase your chances of getting noticed and getting coverage.
Market research reports, eBooks and helpful whitepapers can also provide a valuable source of information for researching journalists, so make sure they are fully optimised and visible in search results.
Constantly measure results
One of the best things about SEO PR is that it’s data-driven, which gives you all of the information you need to present its successes - something which traditional PR is still lagging behind on.
Tracking Domain Authority is one of the most important factors - not just in researching media publications, but also your website and how the SEO PR campaign is helping increase its own score.
Make sure you’re reporting on which publications include backlinks to your website, as this will be helpful in creating a more targeted campaign as well as highlighting the additional benefits for the site.
You can even go one step further by using tools such as SEMRush or Ahrefs to analyse where pieces of coverage appear in Google search results and the keywords they rank for.
Measurement is one of the strongest benefits of digital and SEO PR, and it’s important to prove its worth and/or highlight its failures so that it can be constantly improved.
SEO PR best practice
It’s essential that PR strategies compliment SEO efforts, and vice versa.
PR in the digital age is all about being visible in search engine results, key for any business looking to boost brand awareness, increase traffic, and create leads.
Whether it’s generating powerful backlinks to your website through online media coverage or securing coverage that appears high up in search ranking for years to come, improving the performance of your website is one of the top benefits of SEO PR.
Earning legitimate backlinks to your website is one of the biggest factors Google uses to understand how trustworthy your own website is and where to rank it in search results.
The more relevant and powerful websites you have linking back to your own site, the better chance you have of Google placing you at that coveted number one spot.