Can PR And SEO Combine For The Ultimate Online Marketing Strategy?

PR and SEO

What on earth does PR have to do with SEO? 

When staring down the contemporary barrel towards a 12-bore cartridge bearing two acronyms, trying to contemplate this question can feel challenging. PR and SEO. Digital marketing loves a good acronym, yet these two – when combined – make quite a tasty recipe for success. We are here to try and untangle the relationship to see why.

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Notice how I said ‘digital marketing’, a Freudian slip perhaps – is marketing even defined as digital anymore, or is it simply marketing? SEO and PR have bridged that gap with a valuable keystone, and whilst back in the noughties you’d be hard-pressed to convince someone SEO has its place, nowadays it’s part of a growing synergy between the old school and new.

They both have their place, and to blend them is like adding custard to an apple pie. I would argue both are great on their own (you cannot convince me otherwise), but together they’re both morphed into an epic dessert that benefits each of those two core ingredients. See where I’m going?

I Thought Public Relations Was a Fancy Thing for Big Business?

PR and SEO

For those of us who aren’t aware, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, while PR stands for Public Relations. So, how and why are these two things combined?

PR predates SEO by quite some margin, yet despite not even having computers when PR was going from strength to strength for businesses, SEO is something that can slot in as easily as a quarter down a truckstop fruit machine.

PR has always been known as the fun uncle; crazy stories, lots of glitz and glam, plus a good dollop of media coverage. SEO, in contrast, has been the awkward nephew who didn’t know how to interject in ‘adult’ conversations, resulting in brief but awkward statements before returning to their highly sought after narrative with their own kind.

Nowadays it’s quite a different story, with SEO being a fundamental part of literally any business wanting an online presence or a slice of the market share.

How Can Small Businesses Develop PR And SEO Strategies?

SEO and PRTo even begin unravelling this surprisingly complex relationship, we need to understand a fundamental component in the world of SEO – links! As a business operating in the scary and infinite realm of the World Wide Web, you need to find your way of demonstrating authority in your industry.

Common SEO tactics help immeasurably when attempting to convince Google that you’re a savvy business that has a real impact to make on the world, or your chosen demographic.

Link building helps spread your roots far and wide, allowing consumers to discover your business through multiple mediums whilst simultaneously assisting other websites in gaining traction for themselves. Everyone wins.

In order to foster those relationships, time and skill is required to ensure you put your best foot forward with only the best content along with – obviously – the best product or service that differentiates you from your competitors. 

Good content equals good returns. Google knows this, so having an informative SEO strategy will catapult you towards the Gods.

PR and SEO: Good Content, Good Links, Good Business Acumen

PR and SEO

If you want to own your PR strategy with a capital ‘P’, you need to roll up your sleeves. Regardless of whether your business is a local service or an international opportunity, it still counts.

Take a small local business, for example. How do you ensure you get good quality coverage to leverage your PR agenda? You need to figure out who in your local area will want to know about you and consequently write about you. Radio stations, magazines, newspapers, online versions of all three – these are great places to start.

So how does this tally up with SEO? Well, as I said earlier, the word that should be ringing in your ears for the rest of time is ‘links’. Swing yourself a feature in local media that will likely have an online presence, and you’ve just landed yourself a backlink opportunity.

Let’s Go Fishing for Journalists!

PR and SEO

How do you approach the media? The biggest question you have to ask yourself is why they could possibly want to write about you. What separates you, and why is it worth their time to invest in you from a typographical standpoint?

The answer may not be easy to source if you’re in a crowded local marketplace, but a good starting point is a niche, or even a separate entity to your core business model. Think charity, think radical amusement, think an additional service that your competitors fail to administer. A talking point is all you need, albeit a good one.

You may be wondering, has this blog lost its way? We’ve gone from apple pies to bizzare uncles, and now we’re in a business seminar that’s about as nuanced as John Cena attempting to climb a ladder in search of a briefcase. Wrong. These suggestions are public relations.

Just as I touched upon before, this can go hand in hand with your SEO strategy. Once your product or service is in the hot little hands of an intrigued journalist, your real Search Engine Results Page rankings have a steady chance to head off into the stratosphere.

I AM (SEO & PR) LEGEND

SEO and PR

Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

Land yourself some form of media coverage with a local or national media company, and you need to scream about it continuously until you’re six feet under in your wooden box. Yes, it’s hilariously arrogant, but this is business. If it takes listening to Joe Esposito’s ‘You’re The Best’ on repeat for 12 hours straight, then so be it.

Manage to land some coverage and literally scream about it to anyone who’s not even listening until they start to. The kind of screaming that Juliet’s mother portrayed in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. I think it’s a great film – fight me.

Right, so you’ve told everyone about your feature in whatever media company you managed to attract – up top (that’s a high five). Now you need to blend what was your introductory PR move with some quality SEO.

That media company will likely have well-optimized SEO, so it’s time for you to take full advantage of it and make sure your actual business isn’t on page two.

How Can We Implement PR and SEO Strategies Together?

SEO and PR

It’s probably about time to give you some actual examples of how these two seemingly disparate worlds can collide very successfully.

The travel company Expedia has a great example of this with a creative campaign they launched a few years back. As I’m sure you’re aware, the United Kingdom has a rather amusing variety of accents, much like the United States.

Expedia decided to make an interactive map of regional British accents where the user could click on a location around the British Isles. Their device would then playback a sound clip of what that accent sounded like.

A seemingly simple endeavor, but with a business-oriented goal – gain media coverage and manufacture authoritative links. Due to the nature of accents within the United Kingdom and their importance as part of what makes us ‘us’, this was the perfect coverage for news outlets that indirectly promoted Expedia.

Organic Searches, Link Building and Conversions

SEO and PR

Expedia doesn’t sell regional accents; after all, they sell holidays through their travel metasearch engines, amongst other services. That coverage, however, puts them at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to booking a holiday—a simple yet significant way of creating conversions.

As simple as this concept may seem, they managed to get links for their regional accent map shared across nine international media companies, including the BBC, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and even the Visit Britain official tourist website.

Their link building exercise was a resounding success, leading to one of our favorite terms – organic searches, lots of scrumptious organic searches. A combination of skills here allowed multiple business objectives to be achieved, implementing enlightened media strategies, SEO, and PR strategies. Nice one.

Pokémon, PR AND SEO Edition: ‘A Wild Journalist Appears!’

PR and SEO

Although Expedia is big business, and the cost of developing an interactive map is likely rather rotund, the concept remains the same for smaller companies. Find a niche, put some time and effort in, and spread that puppy as far as she’ll go.

Do research, talk to your friends and family about various local media outlets – you may be surprised at what you discover. Find a local journalist who specializes in your industry. Take the time to read their work, understand them and what they enjoy writing about.

Find an opportunity, create a strategy, land a press release, or request a review in their inbox. It could be the start of a more comprehensive campaign for you that, like Expedia, translates into some epic organic searches and Google rankings.

I am feeling pumped now! Let’s get out there and combine these two beautiful resources. As a closer, it’s also crucial to remember the old adage: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

I’m off to buy an apple pie.

We can’t always help with pie recipes, but if you want to get in touch and discuss anything from this article, then you can contact us through our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!

Max Holder

Max Holder

Max holds a background in journalism, information technologies, and remains a keen adventurer. Imagine Indiana Jones behind the wheel of various rubbish old British cars and you are almost there. His experience in SEO and Information Technology stretches back to when Gordon Brown was still UK Prime Minister, having launched various digital campaigns for publishing houses in London. Holding an Oxford education and a keen rave music fan, Max is Inspector Morse and Dubstep all rolled into one.

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About The Author

Max Holder

Max holds a background in journalism, information technologies, and remains a keen adventurer. Imagine Indiana Jones behind the wheel of various rubbish old British cars and you are almost there. His experience in SEO and Information Technology stretches back to when Gordon Brown was still UK Prime Minister, having launched various digital campaigns for publishing houses in London. Holding an Oxford education and a keen rave music fan, Max is Inspector Morse and Dubstep all rolled into one.