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How to build an SEO PR strategy

By Jon Brown

The importance of SEO PR in link building and brand awareness

While PR in its rawest form has a century-long history, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has only really come of age in the digital age with the growing importance of search engines like Google to grow a business' online presence.

On their own, PR and SEO are powerful tools in engaging the public. But as the media landscape has become increasingly online-only, combining PR services with SEO efforts has become essential. Together, they have formed a new concept that has the potential to help businesses dominate online search queries - SEO PR.


The ability of PR to adapt to a more digital landscape is heavily debated, especially when it comes to the ability to track and monitor the success of campaigns using digital measurement tools and SEO metrics.

PR is generally regarded as slow to adapt to new strategies. The rate of change in the media and wider digital marketing environment has meant PR has had to adapt and evolve into a more digitally-focused industry.

Enter SEO PR. Agencies and PR professionals have had to learn new disciplines  found in technical agencies, and it has had a dramatic result in improving value and success - two things PR has long struggled with.

But SEO has had it own challenges, primarily with link building and the need to create relationships with other website owners, influencers, and high-ranking media websites whose connections can be invaluable.

SEO and PR agencies have more in common than they think. By working together, SEO PR strategies can have a profound effect on businesses looking to increase their online presence, website visits, and ultimately sales.

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What is SEO PR?

A relatively new term, SEO PR is the ability to use keyword research and relationship building to not just gain online coverage, but gain coverage that ranks high up on search engine pages for queries that relate specifically to what it is the business wants to be found for.

For example, a business working in digital marketing will no doubt want to be ranking on the first page of Google for 'digital marketing'. If the business doesn't currently rank for this keyword phrase, it might invest in Google Ads or a content marketing programme to help it boost pages.

SEO PR can be another avenue. If your website isn't optimised enough yet to rank high up in search engine pages, then why not use another more powerful website to do it for you?

This is what SEO PR does. Instead of trying to optimise blogs or recent news stories on your website, businesses can boost their online presence by gaining media coverage and backlinks from media websites that typically have a higher domain authority.

There are two key steps in building an SEO PR strategy:

1. Use domain authority to select your PR targets

Domain authority (DA) is a measure from 1-100 to describe which websites have the most trusted information and are more likely to be ranked by search engines. Government, news and university websites sit at the top, websites with no followed links at the bottom.

Using PR techniques to generate links from a high DA website is a huge win both for PR and SEO activity.

PR consultancies are experts in creating engaging content and telling interesting stories, but understanding SEO and how targeting websites with high DA – even over more traditional news outlets – can have a massive impact on online visibility.

Using this to build quality links can amplify the impact of a campaign.

DA Check: You can use tools like MozBar and SEO review tools to check if a website has a good authority score.


While this shows both page and domain authority, you want to focus on domain authority to judge how valuable a backlink from a website will be. This is true because links from a homepage of an unpopular website provide less value than an unpopular page on a valuable domain.

2. Create a list of websites you want to publish your content on

If you don’t have a list of possible websites you want to promote your content on, you can use tools like the MozBar chrome extension and SEMrush to build an initial list to choose from.



Start by searching for the popular questions in the industry you want to target.

After running through these searches, you can then use MozBar to analyse the results and see the domain authority of every page on the Search Engine Results page.

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Expand your list by using ‘Main organic competitors’ report in
SEMrush. This section will help you find similar websites in the industry.


How to measure SEO PR

Even though all mentions provide some value for both PR and SEO, a number of factors aside from domain authority and relevance impact how much SEO benefit will be provided.

One example would be no-follow links. Many SEO experts would tell you to not even bother with no-follow links, because there is no direct SEO value provided. These links won’t boost your keyword rankings, or improve your own domain authority score even if you manage to secure a link from the New York Times.

Mentions = Good - A positive mention of your brand without a link to your page. A reader might gain a positive impression about your brand, but it won’t happen often that a person will search for your site directly.

Backlink (No-follow) = Good - Someone says something positive about your band, provides a link, but it is a no-follow link. There is no direct SEO value from that link, but if people find your website useful, and link to it in the future, it will provide indirect value.

Backlink (Follow) = Better – If there is a positive mention of your company and there is a link to your website, it makes it easier and therefore more likely a person will land on your website. ‘Follow’ links also provide a direct SEO benefit.

Relevant anchor text = The Best – The best-case scenario happens when a positive mention includes a link using relevant anchor text for a term you want to rank for.

How good or amazing your links are for your PR and SEO efforts depend on both their structure and the domain authority of a referring website. Make sure to include both in your future decision-making and amplify your overall marketing results by combining strengths of both PR and SEO strategies.


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