Feb 18, 2014

2 Ways PR & SEO Need to Collaborate to Drive Results

In the PR realm, “SEO” often refers to the goal of getting a press release seen in search results. However, in reality, search engine optimization is much larger in scope, referring to the art and science of getting your company content (the web site and other assets) to appear at the top of internet searchers’ results pages (the “SERP” or “search engine results pages,) for the words that relate strongly to the business and attract likely new prospects.

One of the most potent ways to get to the top of the SERP is via earned media, and as we know, that is the realm of public relations. That’s also why leading SEO site SearchEngineLand ran a post today titled: 5 Tips For Working With A PR Firm To Build Links.

SEO and PR need to be on the same page.  Literally.

Earned media – whether in the form of social proof or traditional pick up – are the most important search ranking factors today.

In my mind, the article misses an important angle, which is this: SEO pros should work with the PR team (in house or agency) to align and integrate their efforts around the pages to which links are desired. The PR teams should have a table of the key URLs for which the company is developing optimization strategies, and the corresponding topic areas and relevant keywords. The public relations staff can (and should) include those URLs when pitching, penning posts and writing press releases, which will result in the eventual reference to those links in journalists’’ online posts and social shares.

Illustrate the value of earned media.

But we’re not done there. The SEO agency or team should reward the PR team – who, let’s face it, are often struggling to express ROI – by giving them a report illustrating the value of the media they earned. The SEO guys are measurement wizards – they know how many people visited a particular web page, and where they came from, and in many cases, what they did subsequently. They tabulate conversions and track revenue, and they can tell the PR team what out comes the media earned generated.

One could even argue that search rank should be a defined PR outcome, and you know what?  I would agree.

The barrier is education, not territory. 

Learn more about getting the most out of your press releases in today’s digital media environment on this free webinar on Feb. 26.

The article intimates at – and gives an unfortunate example of – the issue of territory. Many of the PR pros I work with aren’t thinking in terms of SEO and earned media, which is a crying shame, given the importance of earned media and social proof in the search engines’ ranking algorithms.

It’s not a territory issue; it’s an education issue, and a huge opportunity for PR to generate immense and measurable value for the brands they represent.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the ebooks Driving Content Discovery and  New School Press Release Tactics.  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

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