Just like almost every marketing method available, PR has had to evolve to a huge extent in order to remain valuable and effective in the digital age. Indeed, in the last decade, this rarely discussed aspect of a brand’s digital marketing efforts has proven itself to be a bigger contributor to a success than many people think.
In response to the considerable changes that the internet has instituted in the world of PR, PR professionals have had to diversify and augment their skillsets in order to take advantage of the new opportunities that the internet has provided. Gone are the days of PR people spending all day chatting to bloggers and hoping for placements. Now, having at least a basic understanding of the technical aspects of SEO and content marketing is essential to being able to operate in digital PR
One essential area of knowledge is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). PR professionals can no longer consider SEO the domain of those geeky guys who work in the corner. Without at least a basic understanding of core SEO, your PR activities run the risk of being undermined and wasted. The divide between PR and SEO has become blurred and it can confidently be said that a PR strategy that doesn’t consider SEO, simply isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, and vice versa.
Why should PRs even care about SEO?
Just so we’re on the same page, SEO refers to any activities that aim to optimise the technical aspects of a website, in order to make it easier for search engines, like Google, to find the information on that site and point users to it when they request it. It also governs various formatting and quality considerations when creating and sharing content. The ultimate goal of SEO, and indeed any digital marketing activities, is to see a brand climb the search rankings in pursuit of that coveted first page spot.
If it isn’t clear how PR and SEO work together, ask any experienced SEO how important building a portfolio of external links to your website is. Google essentially views a link on another site, which leads back to your site, as an endorsement of the information on your site. These are exceptionally valuable from an SEO perspective and digital PR remains one of the most effective and reliable ways to get them. The higher the quality of a website that links to your website, the more valuable the link, so having a PR take an active approach to secure links on high-quality sites is essential.
In the digital world, accurate and detailed reporting is absolutely critical to success. It is essentially the only thing that provides direction in terms of what is working and what isn’t. Fortunately, there are a host of tools that provide impressively detailed analytics about every aspect of your online campaigns. Learning how to use these tools efficiently, however, can take some time. It’s worth the commitment though, in order to gain access to unprecedented insights into who is reading your content and how they are accessing and finding it. Accurate reporting makes the results of digital PR clear, so it’s now an essential part of the job.
If your digital PR efforts seem to be falling short, perhaps it’s time to think about how SEO-centric considerations can inform your approach. Likewise, far too many SEOs are driving content creation without any kind of PR effort aimed at placing that content and securing links.
As a result of their clear interdependence, SEO, content and PR form the three legs that the digital marketing machine stands on. To disregard any of them can render the entire machine useless. So if you consider yourself a digital PR and you still think SEO has nothing to do with you, it’s time to adjust your perspective.