Public Relations, SEO

What to know about PR and Search

 August 12, 2021

By  Madelyn Young


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The majority of online traffic is driven by search engines, and even though paid search is necessary to reach a wider audience, organic search results tend to receive a lot more clicks than paid advertising.  

The key to ranking higher in search results is to provide a solid piece of content that deserves to rank for the right keywords. SEO professionals will often preach that if your content is valuable and truly informative, you have already done most of the work. Organic Search engine optimization (SEO) can attract searchers seeking answers and control how your brand is seen in search results, or even nudge searchers towards queries you want them to make, but organic SEO does not work overnight- and that is very important to consider. 

One impactful avenue to support your organic SEO efforts is through public relations. Good PR is an important part of an SEO strategy because it is a great way to build backlinks on authoritative websites and increase traffic to targeted product or services pages on your website. SEO can greatly benefit PR efforts, and vice versa. 

Let’s take a look at two things to know about PR and Search.

1. PR backlink building is crucial to SEO success

Backlinks (also known as “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one way links”) are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page. Pages with a high number of backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings (Backlinko, 2021). 

According to Google, backlinks are one of their three most important search engine ranking factors.  

Your PR professionals work tirelessly to gain earned media attention and feature placements on the most powerful and influential websites because that is where your targeted audience consumes information. As long as you incorporate page links in byline features, product roundups, interviews and press releases, it will result in both backlinks and traffic to your website, which will have a significant impact on your SEO score. 

It’s important to remember that not all backlinks are created equal. You want quality backlinks, and PR is geared towards gaining coverage on trusted, authoritative industry websites. This concept is known as “Domain Authority”. According to Backlinko, the more authority a site has, the more authority it can pass on to your site (via a link).

If you can even just gain a few bits of coverage on national newspaper sites, large industry trade magazines or popular regional sites then this can elevate your SEO performance to the next level and give you benefits long into the future (SEJ, 2018).

Are these links hard to get? Definitely. PR professionals spend hours to identify trusted, authoritative target media outlets and reach out to editors and writers to gain interest in your company’s products and news. Why not take advantage of their efforts by aligning your SEO strategy with your media relations strategy. Identify the pages that have low traffic scores and incorporate the links in your PR content. Be sure the links include your target keyword in the anchor text. 

Speaking of keywords. Let’s discuss how you can incorporate your SEO keyword strategy into your PR content. 

2. Keyword optimized public relations

Keyword research is at the core of any SEO strategy. The purpose of keyword research is to gain a deeper insight into your audience; how they search online, and which topics most resonate with them. If that’s the case, why wouldn’t you align this research with your editorial content calendar? You can create feature or byline feature topics based on the questions your customers ask when they are searching for your products. 

The goal would be to have your earned media content show up in search results when customers search particular keyword phrases. If you are answering that particular question in a contributed feature article posted on an authoritative trade media website, the odds of your article showing up on the first page of Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is much higher. 

Here are two ways to incorporate keywords into your PR campaigns (5WPR, 2021): 

  1. Include keywords in your headlines: PR campaigns require all types of headlines – anything that’s going to be online needs to include keywords so that it’s easy to find in searches.
  2. Naturally include keywords in body copy: This will make the content searchable – when someone goes online to find information related to what you’re promoting, your earned content is more likely to show up if they include the right keywords and phrases.

Keep in mind that news (PR content) optimization is a bit more on the fly than standard SEO for lead generation/sales, such as blogs, as it focuses on a mix of top level keywords relevant in the long term as well as opportunistic phrases specific to news topics as they arise. If your company is already actively engaged in an SEO effort, there should be ample keyword data to reference and use in upcoming news releases or that can be incorporated into identified editorial opportunities. 

Our team of digital marketing experts has years of experience in public relations, content development, and Search Engine Optimization. Contact us for a free consultation.


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