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Why PRs are the vital link between SEO and journalists

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Once upon a time, good PR meant your brand was making the news for all the right reasons. But times have changed, the definition of good PR has evolved and SEO has become a vital part of it.

The continued decline of print publication sales and rise in digital media outlets beckoned PR to the online world and brought with it a whole new labyrinth of challenges.

Today, PR isn’t just about landing coverage, but making that coverage work harder by driving links and contributing to rankings too.

At what point is SEO needed in a PR campaign?

The answer is at the beginning. SEO should be part of the planning stage of any PR campaign or strategy, to ensure it delivers key messages and considers relevant keywords, naturally.

Not only will it ensure the PR campaign ties neatly into the wider digital marketing strategy, but it also means relevant content is being produced in line with what people are searching for. SEO insights can make PR campaigns evergreen, as well as answering the ‘why now’ question that journalists are always asking.

Producing a PR campaign that feeds the reader’s appetite gives the journalist an incentive to cover it. It helps them hit the targets their publication cares about such as: number of views, returning visitors, low bounce rate, length of time spent on the article and how well it will carry on social media.

How does PR help SEO?

One of the crucial elements of SEO is to generate follow links from other websites as Google considers these to be an endorsement of your brand’s content and uses them in its ranking algorithm.

PR offers an obvious channel through which to generate these coveted external links, especially considering that high domain media sites are one of the most reputable sources for links. After all, the bread and butter of PR is to get a brand name included in the media.

But…

Whether the media will link or not comes down to their link-policy and discretion. Some journalists have been incredibly vocal about their feelings on PRs asking for links. That’s to say, they don’t like it.

Rather than blindly ruining relationships with journalists in the pursuit of links, PRs need to be more strategic.

Including a valuable asset within your PR campaign provides journalists with a valid reason to link. If you can offer them something that helps them tell a story more clearly, or in more detail than they can otherwise convey in words alone then there is much more incentive for them to link.

And if there’s no link, all is not lost. A branded mention is still valuable in terms of SEO.

A partnership for life?

Of course, there is much more to both SEO and PR than just getting links which is why the two disciplines can coexist.

But it’s the overlap between the two disciplines where it becomes really interesting.
Google changes its search algorithm all the time – hundreds of times a year. And while not every change brings a major update, it is constantly evolving. PR and SEO need to work hand-in-hand in order to make the most of these changes when they happen.

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Laura Jones

Hi! I’m Laura, Account Manager on the PR team at BrandContent. Delivering strategic and results-driven PR campaigns with a creative edge is part of my bread and butter. I like to tease out the human element of any subject, which helps my clients get to the heart of their audience and makes sure they’re talking about things people really care about. If there’s a conversation to be had I want my clients to be centre stage for all the right reasons Outside of work I like to find a balance between running marathons and eating cake – but I don’t always get it right!

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