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14 Jan, 2021 PR and the internet

How PR pros can win with SEO and analytics

by Vincent David

Is there a point of convergence between public relations and SEO? 

Long before social media disrupted communication and gave organizations direct access to consumers and their target audiences, PR practitioners played the all-important role of crafting the appropriate message for public consumption on behalf of organizations.

 This role is still relevant in the modern business environment, and many organizations still rely on in-house and outsourced PR practitioners for their communication.

But the internet is a different playing field altogether. SEO is a huge factor in determining online success. Here are several tips to help PR pros to use SEO and analytics to make a mark online.

Collaborate with colleagues to formulate strategies and best-practice implementation

Successful organizations build synergies within their departments. If all parties are working towards the same goals, they must deliberately find ways of collaboration.

Paul Sutton, an experienced digital marketing consultant who also hosts the Digital Download Podcast says that this collaboration brings different strengths together. “While SEO teams understand the need for organic reach, PR teams know how to reach out to publishers and build connections.”

From this perspective, therefore, to take advantage of SEO practices, PR experts need to work with other departments with the organization to craft messages for consumers and the general audience. The role of PR in organizational communication cannot be underestimated – hence the need to ensure that the approach suits both the needs of conventional media as well as social media consumption.

Properly structured, communication content can perform very well on SEO. SEO expert Jason White from PMG digital marketing agency in Texas says that proper planning is key in allowing communicators to take advantage of every action. It also helps in undertaking a thorough analysis of strategy and maximizes multi-channel opportunities.

Brand association

PR goes to great lengths to position brand visibility across various platforms. When these efforts are combined with the right SEO techniques, brand awareness to a larger audience is guaranteed.

One approach that is commonly in use today is using SEO to associate a smaller brand with a more established and better-known brand.

 Brogan Renshaw, director of Firewire Digital sums up the relationship between SEO and PR, arguing that “not everything PR does is relevant to SEO, and vice versa. Educating both sides on the other’s thought processes can have a positive impact on coordinating efforts across campaigns.”

Joel House SEO Wollongong, affirms that this kind of relationship can be replicated across various websites, and so PR practitioners can, therefore, take advantage and use them to gain traction online.

Focus on PR’s expertise

One of the main goals of PR is ensuring extensive coverage in any medium. Such content is high quality and meets a considerably high threshold. PR pros should work hard to maintain this high level of expertise and not chasing links and backlinks. Whereas links and backlinks are an important part of SEO, quality content, and connections within conventional media should be a primary focus of PR.

Ron Torossian, founder and CEO of award-winning PR firm 5WPR emphasizes the need to focus on “getting publicity and coverage,” because,” that’s what will get your product or service noticed and purchased.”

Include backlinks as a metric to evaluate PR success

In SEO, backlinks help to inter-relate content within the website and elsewhere. On the other hand, PR teams make the perfect collaboration to navigate earned media coverage. Thus, they could work together, providing materials such as press releases and non-paid stories to achieve more backlinks. SEO should help guide the right keywords for better ranking. SEO should also ensure the proper placement of the right URL. The main aim should be ensuring that content is properly indexed and set for ranking.

The same consideration should be given to the quality of backlinks that a brand gets. Beki Winchel from Ragan Communications says that it’s counterproductive to ask for backlinks without attaching any value to them. He says, “Don’t ask for links just because you would like to have them.” Instead, be keen on the value and the impact that placing links on various platforms will have on your campaign.

Don’t spend your time chasing algorithms

Search engine algorithms are unpredictable and almost mysterious. Google, for instance, changes its ranking algorithms so frequently that it’s hard to predict what affects the ranking and performance of your content. With this in mind, it’s advisable not to spend too much energy chasing algorithms. Instead, work on the content that is responsive to SEO and aim at making it the best.

Content is the basis of all SEO. After all, without content, there isn’t a need for SEO. Since PR communicators can help create great content, focus on elements such as where and how to distribute it for more audience. The algorithms will take a natural course.

Whichever approach you choose, remember that even search engine algorithms don’t favor poorly crafted content. Focus on outstanding content that is SEO responsive, and the algorithms will crawl right into it when the right time comes.

Tailor your analytics and evaluation processes to your business goals

This is yet another important aspect you should pay close attention to. The best way to look at it is by having clear goals right from the beginning. This approach will allow you to evaluate your achievements and plan your journey cautiously. 

Bear in mind that the PR team will be keen to score higher in their area just as the SEO content creators. The main concern here should be setting up realistic and achievable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 

Your analytics should help you to interpret your audience behavior so that your efforts connect with audience demand. The analysis you undertake, therefore, must demonstrate an understanding of your target audience. This is the best way to ensure that the content you create gets the attention you are aiming at.

In your campaigns you must keep your main business goals in mind. For instance, SEO efforts are meant to win more audience that eventually convert into paying customers. As you send out campaign messages through PR efforts, this message should remain clear, and an evaluation at the end of the process will help to establish whether this objective was met.

Final thoughts

PR and SEO teams ought to work together, cohesively to enhance brand performance. The focus should be complementing each other by harnessing the various strengths every team brings on board. Along the journey, ensure that teams keep their eye on the ultimate goal. They need to constantly check various strategies to find out what works and what needs improvement as they move along. If you have a team that clearly understands PR and SEO, then you increase your chances of ranking higher on search engines.

About Kim Harrison – author, editor and content curator

Kim Harrison, Founder and Principal of Cutting Edge PR, loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in his books available from cuttingedgepr.com.

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