Why ignoring SEO is damaging to your PR campaign

We are asked frequently by our clients, ‘should Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) be used as part of my PR campaign’?  It’s a good question and the answer could transform the way you plan your communications.

Once upon a time, PR and SEO were their own entities, each providing a cornerstone in any successful marketing campaign. But the divide between PR and SEO is no more and the two disciplines have become intertwined.

How PR works

PR is the element of the marketing mix concerned with reputation. Traditional and digital PR helps companies and individuals to communicate effectively with their publics. It raises brand awareness and builds understanding between organisations and their audiences. PR achieves this through ‘earned media’ which includes editors, broadcasters, writers, bloggers and other influencers who speak about your business.

The evolution of online search

SEO has always been about getting your business to the number one spot in search engine results, based on keywords related to your business. In the early days of search engines (think Millennium Dome, Ali G and Napster), SEO success was generally a case of populating your web page with as many keywords as possible. Regardless of how illegible this made your website, you stood a good chance of appearing high up in search results. Although your website visitors probably didn’t hang around for long.

Since then, search engines have begun to take into account technical aspects of websites such as load speed, meta data, alt tags, and the presence of working links to calculate search rankings. Technically correct website construction is still essential, but it’s no longer enough in isolation.

The power of Google

Google – the most dominant search engine – has been developing its PageRank algorithm for 20 years. PageRank is complex, sophisticated, and intelligent – it learns as it goes. The algorithm analyses people’s behaviour on your website, and how your site interacts with others, to calculate how engaging it is.

Achieving better engagement brings your website closer to the top of the search results. This leads to increased website traffic, more engaged users, new data for Google to crunch, even better search rankings, and – with ongoing investment – the cycle continues and your business grows.

Content is king

Engagement stems from great content that delivers value to your audience. Think of content as a product or service that is crafted to give your audience something they’re missing. Whether it’s educational, informative, entertaining, or problem-solving, content that meets the needs of your audience will prompt them to spend more time on your website, engage with your brand, and share what they’ve found with others.

As your content converts your audiences into advocates for your brand, they carry your messages into other on and offline spaces. They generate earned coverage for your business, word of mouth publicity and peer recommendations. They help to build trust with your brand and boost your reputation.

When we recognise that SEO is about delivering engaging content to the right people, at the right time, it starts to sound a lot like PR, doesn’t it?

Meeting of minds

If PR and SEO are merging, should your business pay attention to both?

Simply put: yes.

SEO work will improve the visibility and accessibility of your website, look after the quality of your backlinks and ensure that your content is discoverable. Creating and sharing great content needs the skills of an experienced PR to craft key messages and reach audiences that will serve your business objectives.

SEO needs PR, and PR needs SEO. The best communications campaigns blend both sets of skills to deliver maximum return on investment. Even on a limited budget, a suitably scaled combined approach will deliver the most powerful impact.

To find out more about how Absolute PR and Marketing can enhance your marketing campaigns with integrated PR and SEO, call us today on 01392 680740 or email us.

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