Lis Anderson is founder and director at PR consultancy AMBITIOUS and an agency MD with over 20 years in the communications industry.
Public relations is changing. The media landscape looks very different than it did just two years ago, and savvy PR leaders should be adapting to the modern world.
PR professionals know how to generate interest in a brand and develop trust. Part of this is achieved through writing excellent content that resonates with an audience and placing it on relevant websites.
Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals understand how good content helps a website shoot up the SERPs (search engine results pages) by using carefully planned keywords. Good research means good content that can secure quality backlinks from external outlets.
Combining PR and SEO achieves great and, most importantly, measurable results. Even Google’s John Mueller backs the power of digital PR.
We’ve seen the results for ourselves. We boosted our PR with SEO and have seen the change in the quality of sales leads coming through. So, how did we do it? Here are some of our lessons learned:
Your website is much more than a shop window.
First, look at your website. While this is your shop window, it’s also so much more than that. It’s how you attract people to find out more about you, how to establish yourself as a thought leader and how to create trust.
It’s also what Google analyzes and decides to place you in search results for keywords. This is where combining PR and SEO can really work. Content is one of the main links between PR and SEO. It is an essential part of SEO to ensure you are found on Google. The higher up the search results you are, the more likely you are to get in front of your target audience.
Well-written content is highly valued by Google. And so are backlinks to your website.
Deliver what your audience wants.
Find out what works for your target audiences by tracking their behavior. Then, create more of the content that is doing well. Some of our metrics include:
• Number of visits to a blog post or service page.
• Bounce rate.
• Time on page.
• Next page that visitors go.
Use Google Analytics to understand how your content is performing as well as the behaviors of your audiences. This is where your SEO team can help. The PR team can take the information and rework the content on-site to ensure it appeals to the audience.
Create copy that resonates.
Boosting the amount of content on-site will help bring in traffic. Google wants to see plenty of fresh content and defined fresh content as:
• Recent events or hot topics.
• Regularly recurring events.
• Frequent updates.
New blog posts are helpful but so are updates to previous blog posts. SEO professionals can review blog posts, analyze backlinks and make suggestions for updating keywords. Savvy PR writers can ensure blog posts are high-quality written content.
This can be done for clients’ websites and also with media outlets. Identify the keywords that drive traffic, review articles to see their traction, and then work with your PR team to create even stronger content.
Turn your website into an important source.
This is another area where the SEO and PR combination can make a real difference. Backlinks are a crucial part of improving the domain authority of a website and, therefore, increasing visibility in search results.
Backlinks come in two forms: dofollow and nofollow. SEO values dofollow links, as these tell Google that the website is happy to share its domain authority with the origin of the link. Nofollow links tell Google that the websites aren’t sharing domain authority. It doesn’t mean that websites with nofollow links should be ignored, however, as they often come from high DA media outlets. Use them to build brand awareness and trust in the brand and website.
Together, they are powerful. Your PR team can be strategic in securing backlinks in the right places for the right audiences.
Research effective content.
PR professionals have close relationships with journalists and editors and know what their contacts are looking for. Many outlets have their own engagement and reach/view targets to hit. PR professionals work with them to produce content that resonates with their audiences.
SEO teams can help research keywords and topics that have value to target audiences. The crossover between the two is the sweet spot and can enhance relationships with media outlets. Your content will bring them the hits and reach they need.
Get techy with your content.
PR can support SEO work on the wider website as well. Meta descriptions are such an important part of SEO. These are the descriptions under the URLs that appear on search engine results pages. They’re important because they can sway someone to click on your link over another one.
Getting the tone of voice right and choosing the right language to communicate key messages is where your PR professionals will excel.
Choosing the right image to illustrate the blog post is also something that PR professionals can help with. PR people are well versed in sourcing images, arranging photoshoots and more. Journalists and editors often expect images, videos, links, etc. from PR professionals as part of a pitch.
Choose a powerful combination that gets you results.
A combined PR and SEO strategy is a long-term strategy that can increase brand awareness and improve the number and quality of leads as a result. They complement each other perfectly and help boost the quality and success of each other’s work. While there is crossover in skills—used in different ways for different ends— they can absolutely support each other.