How SEO & PR Work Together for Better Results
About the author
Neil is the Digital Director, and Co-Founder of digital marketing consultancy, Focus Mode. Neil has over 16 years’ experience with SEO and has provided consultancy to global brands like IBM, Dell, Sony, and Reuters.
Digital marketing strategies rarely operate on their own or sit in a vacuum. They need to be part of an integrated marketing and communications approach with each channel supporting the success of the others.
All marketing channels provide opportunities when done well, but when it comes to boosting your online performance significantly, SEO and PR working together can make for powerful allies.
Here we explain how these two approaches can be combined to benefit each other and your business as a whole.
Public relations (PR) is an essential part of any search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, and I believe that good quality, ethical SEO is equally critical for strong digital PR results. Both can earn influential links, social proof that reinforces brand cache, traffic, conversions, goodwill and more.
Whether you are a PR/communications practitioner or an SEO consultant, this article will give you insight into how you can make your SEO and PR more effective.
Here are six key areas you should focus on when integrating SEO into your PR activity:
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is one of the most essential factors for SEO. If you don’t work out what people are actually searching for, you’ll be relying on guesswork (rather than facts and data), to inform your decisions.
When you know which keywords you should be using, it helps you to develop relevant content. Keyword research involves finding words and phrases that your target market is searching for. They need to appropriate to the topics, products and services your business offers, and, preferably, should be keywords that you have a realistic chance of ranking for.
Keyword research can be done using a range of tools and techniques. Many people start with free tools, such as the Google Ads Keyword Planner, but there are also various paid options for keyword research tools.
Keyword research should help you to find both short-tail and long-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are up to just one, two or three words, and have high search volumes; while long-tail keywords are longer phrases. Long-tail keywords usually have lower search volumes, but they are also easier to rank for as the competition for these is lower.
TIP: It can be tempting to target the high volume ‘short-tail’ keywords, however you may have a much better chance of ranking for ‘long-tail’ terms. Look at the competitiveness of the keywords and develop targeted content around them.
2. Content Marketing for SEO and PR
Both SEO and PR rely on good content. Content marketing should take inspiration from your keywords and relevant topics to create content that is useful, interesting, or entertaining.
Both PR and SEO practitioners have experience with creating and sharing quality content and should collaborate to bring their different skillsets to the table.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, it’s important to explore how your content can be reused and repurposed. The same content can be used for various purposes or can be reworded or remade in another format. For example, an infographic used for link building could also be distributed to multiple media channels by the PR team.
PR professionals can plan their content with SEO in mind so that it can pull double-duty. SEO and PR can have the most impact when they work together to create and distribute relevant content to multiple channels, influencing more key performance indicators.
3. Link Building and Off-Page SEO
Arguably, this is the area that traditional PR benefits SEO the most. Links to your website from other websites act as recommendations that your site is trustworthy and authoritative in the eyes of the search engines. They are still hugely impactful on your website rankings. Gaining links should be a vital part of your digital PR activity.
The work of PR practitioners and SEO experts can intersect a lot where link building is concerned. For example, working with influencers who are bloggers or have social media followings will often involve encouraging them to share links.
Not all links are created equal. The combination of SEO and PR knowledge can be used to secure better links to your site. From getting links from prominent publications to forging relationships with bloggers, PR and SEO should work hand in hand.
4. On-Page SEO
On-page SEO works on improving the content of a webpage. Factors that can affect how a page is ranked include the depth, relevancy, and recency of the content on the page, from how valuable it is to the user to whether it targets appropriate keywords. On-page factors include HTML Page Titles, Metadata, body copy, images, and internal links.
Page titles and meta descriptions are shown in the search engine results pages depending on the keyword used. Page titles are an excellent way to tell the search engines what the content of the page is, so try and use your top keyword as early as possible. Titles shouldn’t be any longer than 65 characters.
Meta descriptions provide an excellent opportunity to write copy that will encourage CTR from the search results. Meta descriptions should be 155 characters max. Make sure every page on your site has a unique title tag and that your main keyword is included.
I would also recommend doing the same for your meta description and H1 tags. The page should also have relevant links, both internally (to other pages on the site) and externally (to other websites).
5. Technical SEO
Technical SEO includes SEO ranking factors that aren’t the content on the page, and warrants a much longer guide to cover everything! For simplicity, technical SEO is all about how a website is built – the code and the structure. These include elements such as sitemaps, meta tags, site speed, indexing, and much more. Internal and external linking is sometimes included in technical SEO too.
PR practitioners who are making use of SEO in their PR strategy should be sure to pay attention to technical SEO and how it can help them improve their strategy. Technical SEO is a significant part of SEO. If your website doesn’t work well for the user, it won’t show as highly in the search results.
Some of the key factors to focus on are the security, crawlability and the speed of your site. A secure site should have an SSL certificate. Crawlability issues can be fixed by repairing or removing broken links, getting rid of duplicate content, fixing, updating, and resubmitting your sitemap to Google.
Site speed, or the time it takes for your web pages to load, is a significant ranking factor in the search engines. Large images and poorly optimised code can slow your website down. Fixing site speed issues should be a key priority.
6. Measuring Your SEO PR Activity
Being able to measure the results of your SEO PR activity is vital if you want to know if your efforts are paying off.
Some of the metrics that you might track include keyword rankings, organic traffic, click-through rate (CTR), conversions, backlinks, number of referring domains, and domain authority.
Google Analytics provides a comprehensive free tool that can make it easy to track these metrics. However, you might also find that other tools are necessary to track metrics that Google Analytics doesn’t offer.
Measuring SEO activity is a must, providing you with the critical information that you need to adjust and improve your SEO PR strategy.
Putting It All Together: Creating your SEO/PR strategy
Once you have understood the basics of SEO and how to employ key techniques, you can start putting everything together to create your SEO PR strategy. When building your plan, you need to select objectives that tie in with broader business goals. When you have set the goals that you need to achieve, you can then create a strategy that uses both SEO and PR techniques to work towards those goals.
Your SEO/PR strategy should include a mix of SEO activities, and make the most of the intersection of SEO and PR. Quality content is a must for both SEO and PR practitioners, and building quality inbound links is a crucial practice to focus on when putting your strategy together, combining both the skills of public relations outreach with SEO.