Increased visibility, brand awareness and sales are what we all want, and by bringing together your SEO and PR strategies, you can achieve it all.
It was the case in the past, and something that some marketers today still believe, that SEO and PR were two separate tasks, completed by different teams who didn’t really have a lot of involvement with each other. But in recent years, as high quality links have become a more important factor in improving organic search rankings, collaboration between SEO and PR has never been so valuable.
So how can SEO and PR work together to deliver great campaigns and achieve even better results?
To get the most out of your collaboration, it’s important to start working together right from the planning stage of both of your calendars.
Discuss key messaging, target keywords and your overall marketing goals to ensure that both SEO and PR’s strategies are aligned. Making sure that both teams are on the same page from the beginning will help you create content that captures your target audience’s attention, targets high volume search terms, and has a strong, shareable angle that can be highlighted to publishers.
Seasonality can play a key role in SEO content planning. Chances are, some of your key search terms will have significantly different search volumes at different times of the year (there aren’t as many people searching for winter coats in June as there are in October, for example). So it’s important to share search volume data for each of your key topics with PR to ensure that you’re both focusing on the right products and themes at the most beneficial times.
Manage Media Outreach
If you’ve got two separate teams working on influencer outreach, and those teams aren’t properly coordinated, you run the risk of two different people contacting the same publisher.
This can be confusing enough for the publisher if you’re contacting them about the same campaign, but if your messaging or content theme is different, this can be even more confusing.
During strategy planning, it’s important to determine which team will be responsible for contacting each type of publisher. For example, the SEO team may be best placed for contacting bloggers as part of their link building campaigns, whilst the PR team will be responsible for contacting publications and mass media.
One of the most straightforward ways that SEO teams can support digital PR is through optimising the links your site gains through coverage of press releases, or any other unpaid media coverage.
As SEOs, it’s important to advise PR teams on the specific pages you’re targeting for your current SEO campaign, and the keyword phrases that you’re aiming to improve search rankings for. This way, you can work together to determine how to place links in earned media releases, the most effective anchor text, and make sure the correct URLs are used to ensure you get the most SEO value from your work.
Build Brand Reputation
To secure the most valuable links, you need to build trust.
Of course, building up a great reputation from nothing can take a while. But by working closely with experienced PR teams (especially those who already have strong relationships with publishers in your niche), they can help you build your reputation, maintain good relationships and secure placements with authoritative sites.
Another reason why working closely with PR is so beneficial for SEO content teams is their ability to share and amplify your existing (or upcoming) content through their media contacts.
Creating great content takes time, especially if you’re conducting your own research or creating interactive assets for that content, so getting PR involved in the promotion of that content will help you get the most out of your hard work.
Pushing out your most unique, engaging or informative content to relevant publishers is an effective way to build links for SEO, attract high quality new visitors to your site and get some great media coverage.
Measuring the Success of Your Digital PR
When it comes to analysing the success of your digital PR (both from a PR and SEO standpoint), there are two angles from which you should look at measuring value: direct and indirect value.
Direct value – when a publisher links to your website, if a user clicks on that link and then makes a purchase (or completes another valuable conversion), that would be considered direct value.
Indirect Value – in this case, every other way your site benefits from link building activity is considered indirect value. As gaining links helps your site/page’s overall SEO performance, this will then contribute to increased amounts of website traffic, and as a result, conversions.
When we consider both ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ value gained from media coverage, it’s important to remember that (although these are important) link building doesn’t only contribute to organic rankings. The links we build by aligning SEO and PR build brand awareness, increase traffic and engagement, and boost sales.
So what core metrics should we focus on when analysing the success of link building & digital PR campaigns?
As with the value gained, organic rankings are often considered to be an indirect metric due to links not being the only factor that influence your organic search performance. For example, if your site falls short on technical SEO, then building links may not give you the results you hope for.
However, if your sound is well optimised and technically sound, link building can be a powerful tool in your SEO strategy. And if improving your organic rankings is the core aim of your link building activity, then you may want to consider it a direct metric. Although you should keep in mind that results are not always instant, and in some cases it can take a few months to really see the benefit (although we’ve seen results come much quicker for some of our clients).
An effective way to identify whether your content is being covered by the right publishers is whether links translate to new visitors to your site.
The best links are placed in articles and on sites that your target audience are interested in and interacting with. So if your links are reaching the right people, they should be driving traffic to your website.
Monitoring your referral traffic in Google Analytics will allow you to identify how much traffic you’re gaining directly from media coverage (and this is not including search traffic, ads or any other acquisition channels).
The purpose of digital PR and link building is to get your content in front of the right audience. So if you’ve done this successfully and link placements are driving high quality traffic to your site, some of the very best links also result in sales.
Although, it’s important to note that not every link will result in an influx of direct traffic and sales, and sales aren’t always a realistic aim when it comes to media outreach. Every site, and every industry, is different, so to find the sites and publications that work best for you requires plenty of research and determination.
Successful media outreach, particularly if you secure placements on large sites such as national news sites, can sometimes even result in increased search demand for your brand or products.
If the product or point of interest you’re promoting is unique to you, or would result in unique search terms that can be related back to your brand, then you can monitor search volumes to identify whether demand has increased following your digital PR campaign.
So when it comes to your next outreach campaign, it’s important to think simply beyond building links, and consider how your SEO and PR teams can join forces to strengthen your efforts and achieve bigger and better results.