How PR and SEO work together – and the ways you can leverage this dynamic duo
06 Apr 2022
Holmes and Watson. Tim and Dawn (or Jim and Pam, wherever your allegiance lies). Some people are just meant to be together. Others – like Professor Quirrell and Lord Voldemort, or Grant and Phil Mitchell – share a more complicated relationship, yet their lives are still inextricably intertwined.
If PR and SEO were people, they’d undoubtedly have more hair than the unfavourable foursome mentioned above, but their relationship would likely fall somewhere in the middle. In that, they’re two very different disciplines, but if they can find each other, it can make for the happiest of marriages.
Such is the power of PR and SEO when working together, we’ve seen an influx of brands and agencies trying to tap into this dynamic duo. But the reality is: it’s not as simple as mass-producing content or spammy link building. In an era of content overload, success requires authenticity, consistency and a healthy dose of digital know-how, which we’ll explore in this blog!
Understanding the symbiotic relationship between PR and SEO
Public relations and SEO attack many of the same goals, just from different angles. Both are vying to raise brand awareness, positively influence public sentiment and reach a desired outcome – be it a sale, or simply a click. Only one achieves this through the media, while the other’s success hinges on an ability to climb the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
One underlying feature of both, however, is their dependence on content – and this is where the two disciplines can be more closely aligned. For example, SEO teams are masters of uncovering keywords and optimising content to rank for said keywords. But when a user lands on your website, chances are they’ll be deterred by the content’s lack of genuine thought leadership, storytelling or general awareness of their needs.
On the other hand, PR teams know their industry and audience inside-out – and this is evident in masterfully woven stories, often from carefully curated industry leaders, that engage and stir readers. But beyond a short stint in the day’s papers or on the homepage of online publications, unless content is optimised, it’s less likely to be seen by audiences beyond the initial spike in traffic – no matter how great the story is.
SEO and PR therefore undoubtedly work better together, with PR teams uncovering the original angles and opportunities for the creation of meaningful, impactful content, while SEO experts are on hand to make sure it’s optimised and Google-friendly.
The key benefits of partnering SEO and PR
Some 93% online experiences begin with search. Once upon a time, tapping into this and getting your content to rank well was a simple case of stuffing it with keywords. Today, to even stand a chance of ranking, content has to be optimised and engaging. But even this isn’t always enough: at some point, you’re going to need backlinks to help drive your website’s authority.
Simply put, backlinks are links to your website from other websites. Search engines view these as votes of confidence that your content is useful and relevant for users – and the bigger, more established the website that’s vouching for you, the greater the impact will be on your SERP. So, where does PR come into this?
Well, the very nature of public relations involves earning – not buying – a place in the media, which if successful, can necessitate the inclusion of hyperlinks to add editorial value or cite a source. In turn, this backlink drives traffic to your website. But above all, because the link comes from topically relevant content and websites with high authority domains – such as national newspapers – your own domain authority also stands to increase. Providing a foundation for ongoing visibility, better brand recognition and a steady flow of organic traffic.
Because digital PR brings traffic from targeted media outlets and their readership who will, in theory, be interested in what you’re saying / selling, this can also raise top-of-the-funnel awareness, while nurturing others further down to drive conversions and sales. But the benefits of SEO and PR working together doesn’t end there. One other way this relationship can be leveraged is through E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness), as per Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines – the document used by human raters to assess the quality of Google’s search results.
SEO teams will be all too familiar with E-A-T. But what often slips under the radar is how backlinks can help to position brands and their people as experts, with thought leadership published in top-tier publications serving as strong signals that you’re a voice worth listening to. It’s also a sure-fire way to establish and build trust among audiences, which is key to passing this human quality test.
Putting your SEO and digital PR strategy into action
So, as we’ve hopefully established, SEO and PR undoubtedly work better together. However, there isn’t a straightforward, one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to putting this strategy into action. Because, while it might outwardly seem as simple as asking journalists to include links with their online coverage, requests need to be handled sensitively to protect media relationships that have been built up over many years.
Similarly, it’s not merely a case of educating SEOs in the art of PR, or vice versa, when both parties will have spent their careers honing their specialist skillsets. So, what is the answer? Instead, it stands to reason that an integrated approach is the key to unlocking the benefits of this relationship, with PR and SEO teams working as one to reach their desired outcome(s).
To this end, integrated agencies with a rich heritage and deep expertise in both PR and digital marketing are a powerful ally to have in your corner. And where better than – excuse the sales pitch – an agency which was awarded The Drum’s B2B Agency of the Year 2021!
So, if you’d like to learn more about increasing quality backlinks, combining the art of storytelling with SEO, or anything else digital PR, don’t hesitate to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you drive your digital growth.