You already know the importance of SEO.
But you may not know that a big part of a solid SEO strategy lies in digital PR.
I’m Madison Hoffman, Ignite Visibility’s Digital PR Manager—and today I want to dive into digital PR for SEO. So what exactly is it, and how can you make the right digital moves?
What I’ll Cover:
7 Ways Your PR & SEO Can Join Forces
- Backlink Building
- Site Outreach
- Third-Party Tools
- Thought Leadership
- Scale Your PR
- Understand Your Buyer’s Journey
What is PR in SEO?
Let’s start with a metaphor: Think of SEO as an engine and Digital PR as the gas.
There are several strategies that go into building SEO. This includes keyword rankings, meta descriptions, search intent site optimization, content updates, and more. These tactics help make your site visible to organic traffic. Essentially, they help your site rank smoothly.
Meanwhile, digital PR involves a whole slew of strategies like link-building, guest posting on sites, becoming a regular contributor, interviewing on podcasts, and launching sponsored posts (just to name a few). Your overarching strategy should be filled to the brim with different outreach methods to diversify your backlink portfolio.
The great thing about digital PR is that the more creative you can be about your strategy and backlink portfolio, the further you’ll go. That’s the gas.
Combined with those SEO strategies, you can launch your public relations beyond the status quo.
So what does that mean for the importance of SEO in PR? Well, everything.
7 Ways Your PR and SEO Can Join Forces
1. Backlink Building with Internal Content In Mind
It may seem simple, but there’s more to a backlink than meets the eye.
For instance, backlink building requires you to do more than just drive backlinks to your homepage. You want to focus on internal pages as well.
That’s one of the reasons why blog posts and other resource pages are so valuable. You need content that offers insight, and you can use updated reports or trends within your specific industry to showcase your knowledge and relevancy to users.
Take a peek at these statistics, for example. In a study conducted by Moz, these stats revealed a whopping 99.2% of all the top 50 results in any given search had at least one external link pointing to somewhere on their website. Of those same results, 77.8% had at least one external link pointing to that particular page.
That means there’s a strong correlation between rank on Google and the number of backlinks your different pages are getting.
Those are some high probabilities, and it just goes to show how important a diverse backlink strategy is. Your homepage is welcoming, but it’s generally not educational or entertaining enough for those at the top of the funnel. Clearly, the Google algorithm knows this and responds accordingly.
2. Site Outreach for Much More Than Domain Authority
The specific sites we choose to reach out to for backlinks are super important. It’s not just about domain authority (DA) anymore. Other factors are important, such as:
- Spam score
- Trust flow
- Citation flow
- Overall traffic
RELATED: Domain Authority: What Is It And Is It Worth Focusing On?
If a prospective site has a high spam score (say, more than 20%), this can negatively impact your rankings on Google. You want to stay away from sites like this.
In general, it’s a good idea to focus on relevancy. It’s not tangible in the way DA is, but it can mean you’re aligning with site visitors who are more likely to turn into leads. You can try searching for names associated with the site to see if they’re legit and what field they’re an expert in. You can also find out what topic(s) they focus on in their content, and if they align with your own.
Plus, if you’re continuously associated with sites that Google ranks as black-hat or spammy, you may be penalized. There’s a lot at stake here, especially as Google continues to push out new updates. Needless to say, it’s important to focus on site quality in your outreach, beyond a simple and sometimes arbitrary DA score.
3. Use Third-Party Tools to Help Keep You In the Loop
How can we pay attention to everything while still having time to build a comprehensive outreach strategy? It can feel impossible to do on your own, which is why there’s a collection of awesome tools for digital PR professionals to make use of.
For example, there are top-tier tools like Moz and SEMrush. Both of these platforms work to continuously check your site’s health and run a backlink audit. If you have old links that need to be disavowed, they’ll let you know.
These same tools also help you when you’re prospecting sites you’d like to guest post for or get a backlink from. You can use the outreach software that incorporates Moz and SEMrush metrics to focus on only the highest quality sites.
Pitchbox is a key software that helps automate PR prospecting. Recently, Pitchbox came out with an update that incorporates both Majestic and SEMrush metrics, among others. This means that you’ll have a much better time finding stellar prospecting opportunities.
The lesson here? Work smarter, not harder, by using third-party tools that accelerate your SEO PR strategies.
4. Content Is Still King—On and Off Your Site
An important aspect of SEO content is making sure your it’s original, refreshing, and a valuable resource for the intended outlet.
This goes for guest blogs, blogs that live on your site, and any informative content you are using for link-building tactics.
The content also needs to relate to your industry and appeal to your target audiences. If you’re noticing a lack of success in your ad campaigns that push referral traffic to a specific piece of content, maybe it’s time for a content refresh or new blog idea. This is super important in your effort to generate leads and conversions on your site.
For example, let’s say you run a website that sells high-end designer home decor. Your referral link stems from a specific blog that talks about DIY interior design trends. Sure, you may share a similar audience in the interior design aspect, but the audience on that site might be looking for the cheapest ways to furnish their home, which falls outside your buyer persona.
As for owned media, refreshing old content can oftentimes be more efficient in generating results than creating all-new content. This is suitable for sites with lots of content, but which may be outdated.
HubSpot says that updating old posts can increase traffic to that page by 106% (they call this tactic “historical optimization” but many marketers just say a refresh).
RELATED: Content is King: Myth or Truth?
5. Thought Leadership Means Getting Ahead of the Breakout Trends
Jumping ahead of trends and analyzing keywords can aid in developing and pitching topics that may not be viral, but are on the up-and-up. This can make your brand a thought leader within your specific industry.
Outlets don’t want to publish content that’s already out there in the masses—at this point, it’s no longer newsworthy. So don’t be afraid to prioritize keywords and topics that are still climbing the ranks. That’s where much of your opportunity lies.
Of course, true thought leadership goes beyond just identifying fledgling trends. You need to build an argument of some sort that causes people to think twice. For executives, working alongside a ghostwriter might help organize your argument.
Check out some thought leaders in the digital marketing space here.
6. Scale Your PR to Get Ahead of the Competition
Going above and beyond is easier said than done, but it’s crucial if you want a successful SEO PR strategy. When it comes to outreach, you have to keep your eye on the prize: leads.
Most digital PR strategies based on SEO help you gain a competitive and diverse backlink profile. They hold onto the goal of pushing your projected audience to the site.
However, e-commerce is growing rapidly (the e-commerce growth rate is projected to hit 14.3 percent in 2021, for a total global e-commerce sales rate of nearly $5 trillion). Online shopping is more prevalent now than it has ever been. Digital PR professionals should be scaling their PR outreach to help convert new, coveted leads.
7. Understand (and Value) the Different Parts of the Buyer’s Journey
As much as you’d like your audience to fit in a box with a neatly tied bow, it’s not going to happen. You need to meet them where they are.
In a world where everything is trackable (yes, even with Google Chrome’s removal of third-party cookies), tools like heat mapping and other conversion rate optimization (CRO) methods help us better understand our traffic. We can learn where referral traffic is going and whether they’re converting or leaving the page.
RELATED: Top Conversion Rate Optimization Tools
These tools can help digital PR and SEO teams understand the audience’s journey and what drives them to the right landing pages.
In short, all the time you spend on gaining referral traffic and backlinks will eventually convert to leads. It’s super useful to know what’s involved in that journey.
Check out this video to learn additional link building strategies that will help you win in 2021.
The Main Takeaways: What Is PR In SEO?
Make sure your engine (ahem, your SEO strategy) is running smoothly as you build out your digital PR outreach campaigns.
Maybe that means refreshing your content on your site, doing a site audit, using tools to analyze your prospects, or any of the other SEO options at your disposal.
Then, hit the gas (yes, that’s your digital PR strategy)! Fill up your tank with creative ideas, amazing content, thought leadership, and dense outreach. By sticking to an SEO PR strategy, your site will respond well, and you’ll go far.