“Google it.” It’s a phrase that has become the norm in our information-driven world. We are living in a world where any piece of information can be acquired by a few keywords and a search click.
Search engines are the starting point of any online journey and this presents a great opportunity to build brand awareness and attract potential customers.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in to assist your brand. However, when it comes to discussing public relations (PR) strategies, SEO rarely comes to mind as an effective tool.
In this article, we will discuss four reasons why SEO is an important part of PR.
What is SEO?
Before we dive in, let’s look at what SEO is. SEO is the process of enhancing your online content to improve visibility in search engine rankings such as Google.
There are many search engines out there but we will be focusing on Google only. After all, it is the reigning king of search engines with a dominant 92% market share.
Why is it important to rank high on Google? This is because 75% of all clicks go to the top three results per search. This means that it is very important to know where your content appears on Google to determine your brand awareness.
Reason #1: Building a good relationship with Google is important in PR
In a traditional PR plan, building trust between your brand and the public is the main focus and the strength of media relationships directly impacts your coverage success. In our current digital age, you can supplement your efforts using SEO to make your brand go even further.
Think of SEO as another relationship you are building, but this time it’s with Google. Why is this relationship important to develop? Every day, more and more people depend on Google to find information. In addition to building trust with journalists, editors, influencers, and customers, now you are earning the trust of the world’s largest search engine.
As a result, Google directs its users to your website for useful and relevant content, an additional way to bring new customers to your website, apps, and social media pages organically. Clearly, there is a strong link between PR and SEO.
Reason #2: SEO helps to further increase your brand awareness
Building brand awareness is usually the first step in your PR plan. One of the ways you can do that is to make your content such as blog posts, videos, or social media posts rank on Google organically.
This is where using the right keywords will impact the relevance of your content. In SEO speak, this is called “on-page SEO” since these keywords appear on your domain.
Google loves high-quality content with relevant keywords that meet people's queries. This means you need to do a bit of research and be selective with the keywords you use.
This does not mean you should fill your content with too many keywords for the sake of matching as many queries as possible. This method actually hurts your search ranking because Google’s algorithm is programmed to spot “keyword stuffing” and it will penalize you for doing this.
When creating a piece of content, think about how it benefits the people searching for your targeted keywords and how your content helps to solve their problems. Focus your efforts on creating useful content for your target audience and Google will reward you with a high search ranking.
Reason #3: SEO establishes your domain authority
Positioning your brand as an expert in the industry is an important part of a good PR plan. It tells your audience that you have the expertise and experience to provide valuable insights into the field you are known in. This strategy is important in building trust with your audience.
The good news is that you can use SEO to enhance this thought leadership strategy by utilizing backlinks to your website. Similarly, for Google, trust is built upon domain authority and it loves it when your brand is mentioned in reputable sources.
PR can help to further establish this trust by creating high-quality content and building relationships with authoritative media outlets that earn backlinks. This is known as domain authority, another SEO concept to help your website rank higher.
So how does it work? When you have your content ready with relevant keywords, it’s time to optimize it with backlinks and build your domain authority.
Backlinks are hyperlinks to your website when your brand is mentioned on another website. They are crucial in determining your domain authority and trustworthiness. As they are not on your domain, they are referred to as an “off-page SEO”.
It’s worth pointing out that a few links from authoritative media outlets often win over a high number of backlinks from irrelevant or newly-established websites. So you need to carefully reach out to relevant media outlets when you are pitching for backlinks.
There are a number of different factors that add up to the domain authority of your website but the most important is around backlinks. Measuring domain authority depends on the volume and quality of the backlinks you have to your website.
Reason #4: SEO supercharges your press releases
The press release is one of the most effective tools in the PR arsenal. When you have a new product to announce or a research piece to share, writing a press release is the go-to way to get your messages across.
Since these press releases will get published by the online media (assuming you target them correctly), why not enhance it with relevant keywords and get yourself that much-coveted brand mention.
On top of the organic buzz received through earned media coverage, your domain authority will be increased due to these brand mentions from prominent online media outlets. Getting brand mentions is like having backlinks to your website.
Again, Google will look at you as an authority in your field and this goes a long way in increasing your search ranking.
Conclusion: The importance of SEO in PR
The relevance of your content and your website’s domain authority are the most important concepts of SEO that need to be applied to ensure a successful PR plan. As PR looks to adapt to the digital marketing landscape, SEO is becoming harder to ignore. Think of it as a tool that you can use to further increase the visibility of your brand online. SEO is no longer a niche topic. It is a core foundation in all PR plans. When done well, SEO places your brand in front of more people, increasing your brand awareness and attracting more customers