July 18, 2022 |

10 minutes

10 ways how SEO and PR become a winning combination to drive traffic

Do your SEO and PR strategy work together? If not, it’s time to change that! SEO and PR have many natural overlaps. In this article, we’ll explain how you can use SEO and PR together to create awareness for your business, grow traffic, and convert potential leads.

You might not know it yet, but SEO and PR are two of the most symbiotic disciplines when it comes to (digital) marketing.

However, many companies strictly divide the two. Especially in bigger enterprises, the public relations department and the SEO department probably have no idea what the other is doing. A huge missed opportunity!

So bring your SEO and PR team together, and let’s dive into the 10 ways of how you can bring the two together, and generate more than the sum of its parts.

What is PR?

PR is short for Public Relationships. It describes the building of relationships with the public, and usually refers to relationships with journalists and overall media. In short, a successful PR strategy will help businesses generate awareness through earned media with newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other third-party outlets.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which means optimizing websites and -pages to be found easily through search engines such as Google, Bing, or YouTube. Usually, SEO will refer to the practice of generating impressions and clicks through Google, by ranking in one of the highest listing spots in the search engine.

What makes SEO successful?

SEO is often described as being very challenging and technical, but in fact, this only holds true in highly competitive markets, where nuances are more important.

For most businesses, generating relevant rankings and traffic via search engines requires 4 key ingredients:

  1. A solid technical foundation (a well structured and fast website)
  2. High quality content
  3. Regular updates
  4. Backlinks from third party pages

Businesses that consistently improve on all four of these SEO ingredients, while making sure to target keywords with a relevant search volume, will see results eventually, although time frames might differ.

What makes PR successful?

PR experts try to overcomplicate this, but much like good SEO, good PR fundamentally relies on:

  1. Interesting, news-worthy content
  2. Good relationships
  3. Strong branding
  4. Strong outreach campaigns

In short, a strong piece of content will generate attention, no matter what - think about articles about new scientific discoveries. But a strong brand helps as well, as companies like Apple and Tesla show with the amount of attention they earn with every new product launch.

But even topics that are not extremely news-worthy, like a new software feature, can be turned into winning stories by a skilled PR professional. It all depends on the angle and experience.

With these fundamentals in mind, let’s dive into the synergies between SEO and PR, and how they can affect each other. To start, let’s look how SEO can benefit from your PR strategy and execution.

How your PR strategy impacts your SEO performance

Build domain authority

Every website that is indexed by Google received a score. This score indicates the quality of content, and the strength of the backlink profile.

Tools like Ahrefs can give an indication of the strength of a domain.

Screenshot of DR Ahrefs, product of SEO and PR strategy

Over time, the score of an optimized website should naturally increase with more content and backlinks. Studies show that high-quality backlinks are exponentially worth more than low-quality backlinks.

Because PR teams focus on high-quality outlets, the domain authority of a website will improve in line with a successful PR execution. Because PR also consistently creates new content, the overall rank of the website in search engines will improve, leading to other pages also receiving more traffic over time.

Improve CTR through Brand Awareness

As Google and other search engines try to provide answers within the feed and without a click, more than 50% of searches actually end up without generating a single click. This is an issue for SEO, as even highly optimized pages, that show up within the first search results, might not generate any traffic.

One way to improve the Click-Through-Rate from impression to website click is investing in a higher brand awareness.

Studies have shown that brand awareness significantly improves Click Through Rates (CTR) in search results. No wonder: We are more likely to trust sources that we recognize. An example: If you have heard about a certain tech startup in the news, you are more likely to recognize the brand name when it shows up in search results. Thus, your chances of clicking the link and landing on the website drastically increase.

Social proof & more trust for better SEO conversion rates

User experience (UX) is a key ranking factor for search engines. The worst indication for any website is a user that immediately returns to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), as that shows that the website or website content did not match the intent of the search.

One way to decrease the bounce rate of any web page, and to increase the time on page, is adding social proof and other trust elements to the website. A web page that looks trustworthy is more likely to invite users to stay longer, even if the content might be marginally worse than on other pages!

PR can help SEO by building that trust. You’ve seen the logo bars of “seen in…” followed by the logos of reputable news outlets. A site that has been featured in Forbes and other successful and well-known media brands is more likely to build trust.

We have tested this ourselves at Fintalent - we are a relatively new brand in a very conservative market. Generating press coverage and attention, and using those trust elements on our website, has helped retain website visitors, rank higher on Google, and convert more visitors to leads.

Events & Co.: Create fresh content, consistently

One key challenge for every PR strategy is to consistently generate newsworthy content. One tactic that often gets successfully employed is hosting events.

Events can be a wonderful way to generate attention for your brand, but also to generate user-generated content and backlinks, that can consistently create more attention and content for your website.

How SEO can impact PR

Now that we have analyzed how PR can benefits SEO, how can SEO benefit your PR strategy and execution?

Discover topics that matter to your audience

Keyword research is the practice of analyzing what search terms your audience is searching for - a key ingredient of pull-marketing. And what better way of creating winning, news-worthy content, than knowing what your audience is actually talking about?

Understanding which keywords your audience is interested in, and the volume of the keywords, can influence your PR strategy, as well as the content you are promoting with PR, as your vocabulary should also reflect words that your audience actually uses.

Message testing

You only get one shot to make a good impression, right? Same goes for journalists and successful PR activities. If the message in your pitch doesn’t sit right, or sounds boring - why would a journalist want to talk about you?

Search engine optimized content presents a wonderful opportunity to test your messaging. A good example is this video on YouTube, which is the second biggest search engine after Google.

For more than one year, the video only had a couple of hundred views on YouTube. After analyzing it, we decided to re-name the video with a more snappy message, and CTR and traffic has since grown to over 35.000 views. Not bad for a case study video.

Newsjacking: Leveraging SEO for PR

It’s not always easy to land articles when topics suddenly explode. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, every business started writing about remote work and work from home - a lot of noise to land a successful article.

Instead of trying to place an article via PR, Ecochain Technologies from Amsterdam turned the wheel around. The company measures environmental footprints, and when the news broke that the German government would purchase millions of face masks, they published an article about the topic.

Because of the speed of execution and the sudden spike of search volume, the company was capable of riding the wave and generating tens of thousands of clicks from Google.

Measure brand reputation

Even with the most sophisticated media monitoring tools and strategies, it can be difficult to understand how successful your brand really is.

A key tool for SEO is Google’s Search Console, which shows the actual impressions and traffic of your website on Google. With this tool, you can analyze how many people actually search for your brand name - a great indicator to measure brand reputation. The more well-known your brand is, the more people should be searching for it!

Cross-pollinating: Analytics to improve your PR strategy

A key aspect of a successful SEO execution is measuring the success of your website. For that, web analytics tools like Google Analytics are used by millions of businesses.

A common downside of PR departments is that they don’t have any means to actually measure the impact of their PR campaigns, even if an article has been published on a reputable news outlet.

With a well set up web analytics system, companies can measure the referral traffic of their PR placements, as well as related conversions, and improve their strategy accordingly.

Conclusion

PR and SEO are natural best friends. While PR can help SEO by creating brand awareness, backlinks, and social proof, SEO can benefit PR with a number of analytical insights that can inform PR strategy.

We hope that these tips will help you to leverage the synergies between the two disciplines, and improve both your PR and your SEO efforts!

Tobias Liebsch is Chief Growth Officer and responsible for Marketing at Fintalent.io, the leading platform for freelance M&A Professionals.

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