Digital PR and SEO have long existed in silos. The former – focused on outreach and media relations – operates in the ‘real-world’, building relationships. The latter – centred around keywords and link building – dominates the online realm. Yet, while the two branches work on different aspects of a business, their goals are the same: create brand awareness and attract customers.
It’s this common thread, and the crackdown of Google’s algorithms on unnatural links, that have created a need to mesh your SEO link building tactics with the relationship building of digital PR.
Below, we’ve listed several principles of digital PR that can be incorporated into your SEO strategy to achieve link building success.
Produce and optimise content that is valuable to your audience
PR professionals agonise over creating campaigns that draw consumer interest and designing adverts that engage and intrigue readers. This same principle needs to be applied to content marketing and SEO.
Instead of simply plugging keywords into your blog posts to try to get found in search, look at them as another way of gaining insight into your consumers. Much like a digital PR campaign aims to do when it identifies how a product will benefit consumers’ lives, research keywords that your audience are using to solve their problems and answer their questions, and create content around these.
For example, if you sell Nutribullet blenders and conduct keyword research using Moz’s Keyword Explorer, one query is: ‘Is the Nutribullet a juicer?’ From that information, you can now create videos about how well the blender can juice ingredients or blog posts describing its juicing capabilities or even share juicing recipes.
Don’t confuse guest posting with building relationships
When trying to drive SEO link building efforts, content marketers and SEO specialists turn to guest posting on other businesses’, bloggers’ and agencies’ sites. While effective in generating a link profile from a diverse range of sources, this method is not the same as building relationships with influential contacts who will pick up and post your content long-term.
In the end, your goal should be to have journalists and bloggers coming to you for insights, interviews, and your latest news.
If you invest time in building relationships with key influencers like journalists and bloggers, you are more likely to get better placement of your content, as well as a foothold for future campaigns and press releases.
As you get closer to your goal, and opportunities start finding you, you can also reduce the time and resource investment you’re putting into outreach – a fate you will never see by just using an aggressive guest blogging strategy for link building.
Don’t distribute just for the entertainment of others
Once you’ve built some relationships and optimised your content, it’s time to distribute your quality pieces. Using your relationships, you can send exclusive plugs to contacts, or you can send out a blanket ‘Look at what we’ve just finished’ release.
On social media – one of the most effective and free digital PR tools available – you can send out alerts and post your freshly optimised content.
Be careful to avoid publishing anything without asking for your due. For instance, on social media, create engagement by asking followers to share, comment or like your posts every time. In published content, a link in an author bio or a relevant anchor somewhere in the copy is a must-have, so that you receive SEO and professional credit.
If you happen to encounter influencers – frequently bloggers – who are hesitant to post other business’ content with ‘follow’ links, or an author bio with a link to your site, there are two good strategies to take.
If you’ve conducted your own research for the content, publish the full data on your own blog and then link to it from the press release. That way, if the publisher wants to give authority to their story by pointing to the original research, they have to link to you.
A second great way is to include expert commentary in your article. Get a quote from someone in the industry, and then also include a segment from your founder or an expert in your team, with the relevant link.
As Google and other search engines continue to improve detection of unnatural links and increase the push for quality content with high readability scores, yours needs to stand up to the test.
Using digital PR techniques to build good relationships is the first stepping stone to creating long-lasting SEO effects. If you don’t have the time or resources to invest in digital PR within your organisation, consider outsourcing the task to an agency, like Ad-Rank Media, who have already built a network of contacts.