There’s more to PR than long lunches and full page spreads. These days, PRs need to be on top of the data that’s meaningful to their clients, and the latest trends in storytelling and content marketing. While not a particularly new trend, having a working knowledge of SEO is becoming more important for PRs who want to deliver next-level service to their clients, and get results that will make them truly indispensable.
In this article, we’ll explore why SEO is important for PRs and how upping your skills can help you add value to your clients.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it’s important for getting your clients or brand website to rank on the first page of Google, as well as getting coverage on websites and publications that are also likely to rank.
There is a whole list of criteria (which are a closely guarded secret in Google HQ) that impact where your website will show up in search results, however there are some key factors that you do have control over. Google is looking for content that is relevant, frequently updated, high quality, and that encourages people to share. There are a number of cues that indicate the quality of the content on your brand website to Google, and one of the most important is your backlink profile. According to Marketing Mag, backlinks “count towards 52 percent of your rank ability”. A backlink is a link from a publication, blog or website to your own. Links carry ‘link juice’ that fuels your SEO efforts – the better the backlink (from a website with a lot of traffic, for example), the more “juice” the link transfers to your own website. Get a couple of backlinks from a few big publications or websites with their own inherent credibility, and you’re significantly contributing to your client’s SEO.
Why should PRs care about SEO?
Because it’s yet another way to demonstrate your value as a PR professional. Choosing channels that will bring your clients even more benefit than the initial media coverage is a great way to be able to showcase your understanding of digital trends, and the long term benefit of PR to build brands.
How to “do” SEO as a PR pro
Here’s a few quick tips to help you bring an SEO lens to your PR strategies:
- Be able to talk the SEO talk. Your clients might not have any knowledge of SEO, and being able to talk confidently about the impact it can have on their brand helps you add even more value.
- Use SEO principles to guide your pitching and discover new publications. Tools like SEMrush’s Backlink Gap and Moz’s Link Intersect tool let you identify your competitors and determine who might be linking to them, but not linking to you. From this, you can pull a list of publications that you might not know about, but also publications who are already publishing content about your niche.
- Consider digital publications and blogs. Readership might be smaller or more niche than the print pubs, getting a story covered on a digital publication will have ongoing benefits beyond the initial publication of the story. Link juice is the gift that keeps on giving!
- Build your pitch list based on how powerful a publication or site is from an SEO perspective. Prioritise sites with a higher domain authority because content on a more authoritative site is likely to remain more highly visible in Google for longer, and contribute more to your own backlinks.
- Consider keywords when you’re writing your press releases. Understanding what’s trending and what’s popular will help you convey to journalists that you understand the requirements of the digital publishing world. They need to drive more traffic to their own stories, and are actively using SEO to do so. Pitching them articles with a strong SEO basis may help you generate more cut through with your pitching and will definitely help you build relationships with journos who know you understand their constraints.
- Use keyword research to discover new angles. Tools like Google Trends can be a treasure trove of upcoming trends that might relate to your brand.
Is SEO a skillset you already have or one you’re keen to add to your PR arsenal? Let us know at email@example.com.