It’s evident that the scope of media and marketing are changing drastically and will continue to change. Whether it be print media, how we find our news, or how we promote brands. The online culture is so prevalent in our day to day lives, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t online in one fashion or another. For Public Relations and Search Engine Optimization, the online world is key. With that, so are the co-mingled relationship that the two need to have.
Traditionally PR and SEO were separate disciplines. PR was seen as promoting brands, putting on events, and building an image. SEO was used to help brands get noticed and gain more traction online. This is increasing a website’s visibility and traffic, as well as ensuring there is engaging content for the audience. Traditionally, one took part in the ‘real world’ while one was a part of the ‘virtual world’. However, they are both coming together in the age of the internet.
In 2019, PR and SEO need to be communicating and working together more than ever. Both fields benefit from the help of one another. If a brand has a website or a blog, you want to be one of the top hits on Google. However, Google is like a judgemental girl in high school, you know, the Regina George type (yes, I’m using a Mean Girls reference). Google judges a website on two key factors: onsite SEO and Offsite SEO.
Continuing with our Mean Girls analogy, onsite SEO is seen as the ‘what are you wearing’ or ‘how do you present yourself’ part of SEO. How your website is coded, what keywords you’re using on your website and how it is formatted. PR professionals are now, more than ever, looking at how a brand or company’s website is coded and worded to ensure that SEO is done properly to gain bigger coverage and exposure for their client.
Offsite SEO is seen as the popularity contest. Who you’re talking to in the hallway? Are they cool? What groups are you a part of? Is no one talking to you? What are people saying about you? It is all about high authority backlinks. Is your site relevant, engaging and is the content well done? Approximately 60% of how Google ranks your website is offsite.
High authority backlinks are crucial to boosting your SEO and website visibility. These are not bought and you can’t just hope they will appear. They need to be earned and they need to be organic. One benefit of high authority backlinks is that it gives your website more ‘popularity’ on Google. This is where the SEO and PR relationship intertwine. You need PR in order to earn those backlinks.
In the Public Relations work, we call them ‘PR wins’. A PR professional will manage media outreach to ensure the brand is earning coverage and partnering with the right people. One way that you can have a backlink win is when you partner with an influencer or blogger. If they will talk about and link to your company, you are getting new traffic and high authority backlink in return.
Another way is through traditional media. If a client earns positive recognition through media online, relinking to the client's site is always a high authority backlink. Unfortunately, not all media outlets will link in their articles, so we have to find other ways to get offsite SEO. YouTube is a great option as they are owned by Google. It also gets your brand or client more exposure on a humanistic level. This can promote viral content. It can lead to many different shares among different social platforms or website and opens the door for two-way communication between the audience and the brand.
Another great option is Google My Business. If you are a brand or a client that has a physical office, store, or place of business, optimizing your Google My Business is key. If you’re unsure what this is it is when you search a company on Google and all of their location and information comes up on the right-hand screen of the screen.
This is a great use of offsite SEO as it has everything for the searcher right in one spot. Here you will find the business name, location, photos, rating, reviews, hours, phone number and most importantly, their website. If this is up to date with tags and keywords, it will boost your SEO rating. This type of SEO will bring physical and online traffic to your business.
As the same would be for PR agency, if an SEO firm is saying they are doing their work without PR, they are missing 60% of the important stuff. This is the PR wins and the visibility. These two fields mutually benefit each other, so why would one work without the other.
The two share the same goals - boost brand awareness and bring views and traffic to a website. Together they can create more PR wins and stronger digital marketing. This is then bringing more brand awareness to your client. If the work together, not only do the PR and SEO fields benefit but most importantly, the client benefits.
Now, many Public Relation agencies will be multi-faceted and hire a variety of employees. One key department that is being seen across the board is SEO. This means that the two can work side by side to ensure that the client is achieving onsite and offsite SEO as well as traditional PR.
Times are constantly changing in the digital world and it’s up to us to change with it. This means blurring some departmental and specialized field lines. In essence, PR and SEO need to work together or else both fields will fall behind the times.