The fields of public relations and search engine optimization, once considered separate, are becoming ever more closely aligned. There are several reasons for this, chief of these being recent changes in Google’s search engine algorithms. Many aggressive SEO tactics that could once get a site highly ranked will now be ineffective, if not downright detrimental to the health of a website. For this reason, many SEO experts are turning to traditional PR strategies for solutions.
How Public Relations is Related to SEO
The field of public relations, of course, predates SEO by many decades, if not centuries. PR is all about getting positive publicity for companies, brands and products. The techniques used by public relations specialists have ranged from press releases to interviews to, more recently, guerrilla marketing tactics that attract media attention.
SEO is a comparatively new field that is, by necessity, rapidly evolving. Whereas in the late 1990s and early 2000s, sites could get ranked by aggressively generating backlinks, Google and other search engines now demand quality content and natural linking. This has forced many SEO experts to turn to traditional public relations approaches in an effort to promote websites.
Public relations has always focused a great deal on building relationships, especially with influential people and organizations. In modern jargon, these are influencers who can help a newer or less well known business get some buzz. When it comes to website links, this may involve getting links from authority sites or getting content syndicated by well known sites. The emphasis is now on quality over quantity. This is consistent with the way PR has been done for years.
What SEO Specialists Can Learn From PR
In pre-internet days, a PR firm would focus on getting celebrities and well known media to take notice of the person or company they were representing. This approach, applied to online marketing, is exactly what is now needed to effectively improve a website’s search engine ranking.
Applying an effective PR approach to SEO requires an emphasis on building strong relationships and focusing on content that is truly interested to end users, that is people using search engines. When it comes to press releases, for example, the old SEO trick of blasting them out to hundreds of small outlets no longer works. This is, in fact, a red flag to Google and could get your website penalized. Press releases, as a time honored PR tactic, must contain truly interesting stories and be targeted to legitimate and widely known media sites.
In conclusion, anyone looking to improve search engine ranking can learn a lot by studying the approach used by public relations agencies. It will also help you to avoid some of the pitfalls of modern SEO that will do your website more harm than good.