How to Maximize Your Marketing Strategy Using SEO PR

by | Jan 28, 2021

seo pr header

Where does your SEO end and PR begin?

The correct answer is, well, they don’t.

Think about it…

Your goals for search engine optimized (SEO) content probably include:

  • Driving new targeted traffic, consistently
  • Building brand recognition
  • Establishing a positive brand reputation
  • Developing your own reputation as a thought leader
  • Ultimately earn more sales and customer loyalty

Meanwhile, your digital public relation (PR) goals no doubt include:

  • Driving consistent targeted traffic to your website
  • Building brand recognition
  • Establishing a positive brand reputation
  • Developing your own reputation as a thought leader
  • Ultimately earn more sales and customer loyalty

Too many leaders hear the term “PR” and still think of yesterday’s tactics: press conferences, magazines, event booths, non-profit partnerships, press releases, etc.

While excellent tools, they do little to bolster your digital public relations.

And your digital PR strategy? That’s the one driving long-term sustainable results via targeted website traffic, trust earned through content, and professional relationships.

Your digital PR strategy encompasses your entire online reputation:

  • When someone googles your brand’s name, what do they see?
  • When someone googles your founder’s name, what appears on the first page?
  • When someone searches your brand, key people, or product on social media, what do the posts say?

This PR – the stuff that really matters – requires an integrated SEO strategy.

Not separate, not as an afterthought, not as a tweak made after the fact – your SEO and PR must always work hand in hand.

Ever wondered why some colleagues always wind up in your digital crosshairs so effortlessly while you struggle for attention? There’s your answer.

A comprehensive SEO PR strategy is what separates the timeless superstars from the chronic strugglers.

That’s exactly what we’ll cover today: what SEO PR is, how they’re entwined, how to build your strategy, your team, and much more.

seo pr

What is SEO PR? A Definition

SEO PR combines the terms search engine optimization and public relations.

Together, SEO PR involves creating PR-focused content while prioritizing SEO elements. SEO ensures that your PR content reaches the right people while putting you in control of your brand’s online reputation.

Some goals of SEO PR include:

  • Amplifying your voice and brand to the right audiences
  • Driving consistent traffic to your site with targeted keywords
  • Establishing thought leadership recognition
  • Taking control of your entire online presence
  • Building your personal branding and online reputation

Using digital PR for SEO improves the authority of client websites and it can be measured by seeing improvements in organic rankings and organic website traffic. – Shawn Johnson, Nettra Media

How are SEO and PR Connected?

Every smart startup, entrepreneur, and leader today should consider SEO and PR one and the same. One without the other just leads you down a dead-end road.

seo pr plan checklist

PR Coverage is Nothing Without the Backlink for SEO

Attention is nice but you need measurable results – and PR content alone won’t deliver the long-term results you need.

You need backlinks.

Backlinks are still a critical ranking factor for Google SEO in 2021. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Backlinks tell Google bots that your content is worth linking to and sharing.
  • Backlinks give Google bots context to understand what your website content is all about and which keywords to rank you for.
  • When high-authority sites link to yours – especially consistently – Google notices, and your entire website’s authority rises.
  • Google also uses low-quality backlinks to identify spam or black hat SEO practices.

See, high-quality backlinks don’t just drive traffic from the link itself – they boost the SEO performance of your entire website.

But you need consistent backlinks from high-authority websites to maintain that SEO you earn.

That’s why SEO PR is an ongoing process.

Keep in mind that the keyword here is quality because we’ll dig deeper into that later.

B2B Marketing

seo pr strategies

PR Content Won’t Get the Reach and Long-Term Results Without SEO

It’s called the World Wide Web for a reason!

Your goal for SEO PR is to carve out your own little web of pages and posts within your niche – both on your website and third-party sites.

The most successful thought leaders and CEOs think long-term with their digital PR strategy. It’s not about getting one opinion published in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about leveraging the WSJ’s authority with that one article by fitting it into your long-term strategy like a puzzle.

Here’s a micro example.

Let’s say you publish an article on marketing automation in HubSpot’s blog. HubSpot’s categories and SEO optimization tell Google that your expertise as an author lies in marketing. Note the URL:

HubSpot

Provided your article has a backlink, Google will take note of both your domain and author name.

Now, this is one small example. The idea, however, is to focus on the broad long-term digital PR strategy while using SEO on a micro-level in pieces along the way.

Over time, Google will rank more content from your own domain higher as you publish because you’ve earned its trust.

I believe we need to stop thinking about digital PR as only for SEO rather than an overarching principle. What do I mean by that? Do you have a product or content launch? If so, then launch on it several podcasts like Matthew McConaughey did for his book launch. That’s the most effective strategy in 2021. – Aazar Shad, Growth Marketer for SaaS Companies

SEO Content Lacks Thought Leadership and Messaging Without PR

By now, every entrepreneur and marketer should understand the importance of an SEO-optimized content strategy.

But publishing content on your site and sharing it isn’t enough. Even if you have a solid social media following and earn a few viral pieces here and there, that’s not enough. Your SEO rankings might jump month to month, but they won’t stay consistent.

You need the PR and backlinks part of the equation, too.

Again, it’s all about creating your own niche web of backlinks and connections.

The PR aspect lets you flex your muscles as a thought leader. The places you attach your name and SEO PR content show readers why they should pay attention to you – and where they can go to keep tabs on what you’re doing.

Those social media bubbles link to the author’s profiles:

Entrepreneur

And that traffic from consistent readership? It tells Google that you’re worth paying attention to and you deserve higher spots in the search results.

SEO PR Statistics

The following SEO PR statistics are from a survey of freelancers and consultants (47% of respondents), brand marketers (28%), and business owners (25%).

  • 59% of marketers and business owners say that posting on social media is their most effective way of promoting SEO blog content, and only 21% state that using digital PR is their most effective tactic, which reveals a lot of opportunity to use PR to rank long term, rather than to rely on short-term social post.
  • 47% of marketers and business owners use digital PR for SEO “not at all” while 44% use it sometimes, and 8% use this strategy frequently.
  • Of the digital marketers and business owners who use digital PR for SEO, writing guest posts is the most common strategy, with 33% saying they guest post most frequently.
  • Using contractors and freelancers is the most common way of implementing digital PR for SEO, with 24% of respondents using this strategy over inhouse employees or agencies.
  • 70% of respondents would be most likely to hire additional freelancers for digital PR if they were to invest in this strategy in 2021.
  • The top goal for digital publicity remains audience growth (45%), coming above increasing authority and reputation with current audience (33%) and increasing search rankings (21%).
  • 60% of marketers and business owners have achieved favorable results from digital PR, while 40% have not gotten results from it.

As much as possible, try to have the links you get from digital PR to include more than just your name or website address. Search engines like to see keywords in or near your link text so that it helps them understand the topic or context of that link. Plus, people are more likely to click on a link that has words as the anchor tag instead of just a URL because they have a “preview” of what information the link is going to share. – Beth Bridges, Coach & Consultant at The Networking Motivator

How to Launch Your SEO PR Strategy

You must plan your SEO and PR strategy together as one strategy. The keywords you target as part of your SEO should serve your broader PR goals. Meanwhile, the places you publish and what you write should elevate your domain’s SEO.

Here’s a cheat sheet for planning your SEO PR:

  • Brainstorm your brand’s general seed keywords.
  • Research seed keywords to find the best terms for your site and PR SEO.
  • Create a content strategy for your site and third-party outlets.
  • Factor in time and resources for breaking news topics in your industry.
  • Build your SEO writing and PR assistant team.
  • Prioritize your domain’s pages/posts for backlinking based on related topics and keyword

seo pr quote

Brainstorm Seed Keywords

Your seed keywords are the short terms that immediately jump to mind when you think of your brand and what you do.

For Atlassian, your first thought might be “project management,” “software,” or “collaboration.”

Looking at Atlassian’s meta title, you can see they’re targeting “software development” and “collaboration tools.” They also include “project management” in their meta description.

Google

Research Seed Keywords to Find the Best Terms for PR SEO

Your seed keywords are just a starting place. Research comes next.

You’ll use these keywords to structure and create your SEO PR content, so make sure they’re super relevant to your main product or service.

Let’s check “project management.”

SEMrush

We could also check related keywords and filter for terms that include the word “tool”:

SEMrush

While you normally want to choose long-tail keywords for your site’s content marketing, you can keep your PR keywords more general since you’ll (hopefully) be publishing on high-authority sites.

Plus, the purpose of these PR keywords is to tell Google and readers about your expertise and lift your entire site’s SEO in the process. That’s harder to do with laser-focused long-tail keywords.

Develop Your Content Strategy

Strategy time! Take a handful of relevant keywords and use them to structure a content strategy spreadsheet.

In your spreadsheet, include:

  • One target keyword per piece
  • An attention-grabbing headline
  • Notes on the topic and research
  • Sources to link
  • Relevant pages on your site to link
  • The target outlet for publishing
  • Timeline for publishing and submitting
  • Links to the top-three ranking pieces for the keyword so you can outdo them

Guesting on podcasts has been one of the easiest and most effective strategies for us. It’s only 30 to 60 minutes of your time. For that you get to build authority, get in front of more people, and often several high quality links. Not only do you get one from the show notes, but often aggregators will pick it up and include the links. The easiest way to get onto podcasts is to build a network. Cold pitches suck. Build relationships and get to know people who can introduce you to others. – James Rose, Founder of Content Snare

Keep Up with Breaking News Topics

Make sure you and your SEO PR team keep alerts on for certain keywords in your niche. This allows you to jump into action and solidify your spot in the thought leadership landscape.

Google makes it easy to set up topic alerts:

Google

This works best after you’ve developed a relationship with a high-authority outlet so you can give the editor a heads-up to publish as the story breaks.

There’s no time like the present to take more control of your content for digital PR. Instead of relying on mailing lists and mainstream promotion, the smart thing to do is optimize your PR content and headlines for search engines as well. It’s always possible to strike a balance between readability and ‘searchability.’ – Jun Song, Content Marketing Lead at Proxyclick

Get the Right Writing and Assistant Team On Board

An assertive and driven SEO PR team is key. Overall, your team has four jobs:

  • Ideation
  • Pitching
  • Writing
  • Researching

You don’t need four different people. With the right training, you can successfully split the tasks between just an SEO writer and PR assistant.

Pitch & Profit

Prioritize Your Pages and Posts for Backlinks Based on Keyword

Your PR content all get published to various platforms and channels you don’t control. You do, however, control the pages on your site you’ll link to throughout the content.

The backlinks you choose matter tremendously.

Prioritize links to pages and posts on your site based on keyword. Linking to them throughout your third-party PR content will boost the SEO of your owned media – and ultimately your entire domain.

Blogging Den

The best way I have gotten back links has been through digital PR such as submitting on HARO. It’s a huge plus for any online business and blog. – Latasha Peterson, Blogger and Pinterest Expert

Your Best Channels and Formats for SEO PR Content

It’s tough but try not to get caught up in your own ego as you choose your SEO PR channels.

We all have outlets and platforms where we’d love to see our byline, but we must make sure they fit into our website’s SEO strategy.

Plus, anywhere you publish content absolutely must cater to your niche’s target audience. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Broadly speaking, your best choices are:

  • Podcasts and interviews
  • Guest posting on high-authority sites in your niche
  • HARO
  • Premium press sites
  • Conferences and speaking engagements

Podcasts and Interviews

Follow podcasters who share your target audience. Look for a place you can add value to their show as a subject matter expert while vibing with the hosts.

Have a keyword optimized landing page ready to share for backlinking in your bio on the podcaster’s site and episode description.

Including the guest’s name in the title and description helps boost PR across apps like Spotify:

Spotify

Guest Posting (the Right Way)

Guest posting gets a bad rep because Google’s cracked down on spammers over the years.

But the fact that Google even bothers to crack down on guest post backlink spam tells you just how valuable those backlinks are for determining SEO.

Where you publish to earn backlinks makes all the difference.

Don’t publish anywhere that will take you. This is SEO PR we’re talking about, so integrity is key on both fronts.

You only want your name, thoughts, and backlinks showing up on websites with a high domain authority (DA). DA is an aggregate metric Moz developed to predict a site’s probability of showing up in top search results.

A site’s DA can range from one to 100 with one being low-authority and 100 best. To give you an idea, here’s a snapshot of sites that rank among the highest possible DA:

Moz

Create a list of top-, mid-, and low-tier outlets in your niche. Shoot for the top-tier outlets first and then mid-tier if those don’t work out yet.

Avoid the low-tier ones entirely – the backlink isn’t worth the risk of damage it might cause.

Pitch & Profit

Here’s a comprehensive guide to guest blogging sites categorized by niche along with each site’s DA and submission guidelines.

A few other guest posting tips:

  • Search the site for similar articles before writing and submitting.
  • Make sure your opinions and writing style fit with the vibe of the site.
  • Always create the best piece of content possible, fully optimized for your keyword.

Once you prove yourself at mid-tier outlets, keep trying for the top-tier ones. Don’t give up.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Help a Reporter Out is a go-to site for journalists to find sources for quotes and information ASAP.

Sign up for a free account as a source and register to receive emails for requests in your industry. Keep in mind, the industries are fairly general:

HARO

HARO sends three emails per day for each industry you choose. Every email includes a lengthy list of story topics or pending titles along with the outlet where the author intends to publish.

Here’s what an average email looks like for business and finance:

Gmail

The whole process of browsing topics, vetting outlets, and pitching responses is indeed overwhelming. To maximize your time, make sure to:

  • Avoid wasting your time on low-authority sites.
  • Send one creative and straightforward response.
  • Save great responses to tweak and copy/paste later.

Top Press Sites

Expanding to top press sites can really give your SEO PR the all-encompassing authority you need to dominate long-term.

Sites like Washington Post, New York Times, Forbes, and Wall Street Journal are gold for boosting your domain’s overall SEO, as are local equivalents like Chicago Tribune.

Expanding to top press sites can really give your SEO PR the all-encompassing authority you need to dominate long-term.

Sites like Washington Post, New York Times, Forbes, and Wall Street Journal are gold for boosting your domain’s overall SEO, as are local equivalents like Chicago Tribune.

Plus, due to their high DA, your author page there should help dominate the first page of results when people search your name.

See why it’s so important to keep your sights on integrity and long-term goals?

When editorial staff at top outlets google your name, you only want content on reputable sites showing up. And when they click to read your work, you want to make sure it’s always the best article you could have written at the time.

Conferences and Speaking Engagements

With speaking engagements, you can bet the organizers will record the event and upload video pieces to YouTube. If not, you can take charge of that yourself, too.

YouTube

YouTube has the highest domain authority possible: 100. Video content in general is also easier to rank for but delivers higher engagement than written content.

Customer case studies are a powerful form of digital PR content. A good case study is well written and shows a dramatic “before and after” customer result. Founders and managers type “____ case study” in search engines when they want to get inspired. Writers and editors may feature the story from your case study (with your link) on other websites as well. – Ziev Beresh, SEO Copywriter

How to Build the Right SEO PR Team

This part isn’t easy. You need people who share your expertise and passion writing, researching, and networking for you. Not to mention, the ability to communicate freely as a team is critical.

If you already have a freelance writer and virtual assistant on your team, you already passed the biggest hurdle. Your biggest challenge then lies in uniting them around your SEO PR goal.

Make sure to:

  • Educate your SEO writer and PR assistant on the goals and duties of the other side.
  • Train your virtual assistant to manage your PR effectively.
  • Clearly plan and delegate who will complete which tasks.
  • Create an open communication channel for publishing, backlinking, and promoting content.

Make Sure SEO and PR Understand the Other Side

Education keeps everyone focused on the long-term digital PR strategy.

Brief your SEO writer on how SEO for digital public relations differs from typical content marketing SEO. Let them know the goals and how they fit into achieving them.

Likewise, your assistant managing PR outreach and research must understand how earned digital media differs from traditional public relations.

The ideal is therefore to succeed in getting people talking about you offline, as well as online, and to use all the media together to generate positive effects on your SEO and your reputation. That creates good traffic and higher search intent. – Ernest Bio Bogore, Tech Copywriter

Train Your Virtual Assistant in PR

It’s not the 90s – your PR doesn’t need a communications degree.

Still, most digital public relations work is time-consuming. It involves lots of research, hoops to jump through, and tedious formalities. You have better things to spend your energy on.

Instead, train your virtual assistant to manage your PR. You still get the final say, but they’ll tackle the legwork.

Clearly Delegate SEO and PR Tasks

Your writer obviously writes while your PR assistant pitches, but not all tasks are so clear-cut.

Certain types of media outreach and research – like contacting sources for quotes or influencers – can fall in a gray area.

You don’t want both departments contacting the same person at a media outlet. Even worse – you don’t want tasks forgotten because one assumed the other had done it.

Everyone should know exactly where their role falls and who to double-check with as needed.

Keep Publishing and Backlink Communication Flowing

When someone links to or mentions your brand online, you want to thank them and amplify it ASAP. Not only is it smart PR, but it’s also just polite.

An open channel for communication on something like Slack can keep your social media team and PR team informed and most importantly, proactive.

The BuzzSumo integration in Slack can even send an alert whenever your brand or name is mentioned anywhere online regardless of whether there’s a backlink to your site so your team is always informed.

BuzzSumo

6 SEO PR Best Practices for Maximum Impact

Your PR SEO strategy isn’t quite the same as a typical content marketing strategy.

An average content marketing strategy uses PR channels like guest posting and podcasting to build backlinks, reach new audiences, and build SEO. The PR channels are promotional tools.

With SEO PR, the public relations part is central to building site-wide SEO. The content, meanwhile, is the promotional tool.

Keep these best practices in mind to make sure you stay focused on the long-term digital PR strategy.

1.Check the First Page of Search Results for Your Brand and Related Terms

You want to dominate the first page of search results for your brand’s name with owned and top-tier earned media.

Ideally, your website and schema markup should be the first result. Below that, your brand’s official social media pages. Finally, your best guest posts or podcasts should round out the bottom.

Google

2. Optimize Social Profiles for SEO and PR

Verify your brand’s official social media accounts as well as your own as a thought leader.

Make sure your profile’s copy is optimized for branded keywords like your company name and your top general keywords like “project management tool.”

On your own profile, include handles to the outlets where you’ve published or links to your author pages.

Twitter

3. Don’t Neglect Your Homepage

Optimizing your homepage ensures your SEO PR is empowered to do what it’s supposed to do.

First, optimize your homepage SEO for your main keywords:

  • Heading
  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Copy

Not only that, but make sure the design and copy are optimized for visitors coming from your earned media. Your homepage should clearly and concisely explain who you are and what you do.

Most of your backlinks will point to your homepage, and your homepage’s SEO dictates rankings for pages across your site – so don’t neglect it!

Atlassian’s homepage is streamlined and actionable:

Atlassian

4. Maintain a News Section on Your Site for Relevant SEO and PR

Yes, you still need a blog for publishing owned media and linking out in earned media. However, it’s worthwhile to devote a menu category to News or Media as well.

When a piece of your earned media is published, have your writer jot up a summary or transcript with a link to the original and any relevant multimedia, like infographics or audio.

This instantly boosts authority when people arrive at your site and see all the incredible places you’ve published work. Plus, prospective publishers will see that you proudly amplify your work.

Twilio’s press and media page amplifies their news coverage:

Twilio

5. Build Relationships with Relevant Journalists

This is your secret weapon for saving time and maximizing results.

Once you connect with some awesome journalists in your niche through HARO, make an effort to stay in touch so you become their go-to source in the industry.

Plus, journalists can give you leverage when you want to publish at their outlet.

Tools like BuzzSumo let you skip the whole HARO process entirely by searching for relevant authors in your niche:

BuzzSumo

6. Optimize PR Content for SEO Before Submitting

Before thinking about SEO, make sure you’re following each outlet’s guidelines – especially where backlinks are concerned. Most websites only allow one non-promotional backlink in the copy.

Next, make life easier for the editor by optimizing your piece for SEO PR with:

  • Target keyword phrase
  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Heading
  • Subheadings (H2/H3)

Only submit 100% proofread, sourced, and edited content.

Take Control of Your SEO PR and Watch Your Rankings Shine

Think about your favorite thought leaders in your industry – the ones you’re, dare I say, jealous of.

You know the ones… They almost randomly appear in editorial sections of big-name outlets as you browse headlines. You search something on Google, click a link, and realize you’re reading something they wrote. You run a search on Twitter for the latest news, and there they are again in the top results.

They dominate the online landscape for those keywords because they developed an SEO PR strategy. And they stuck with that digital PR strategy – consistently researching and making adjustments as results rolled in – until they got where they’re at today.

Build your strategy, get the right team on board, and don’t give up. Eventually, you’ll dominate too.

Stop making SEO PR harder than it needs to be! Learn how Pitch & Profit helps your team build the skills to do more with fewer resources and less time.

 

 

 

 

Dayana Mayfield loves publicity and content marketing and how they work together. She's been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, YFS Magazine, Thrive Global, StartupNation, and countless co-marketing opportunities. Her story pitches have landed startup founders and small businesses in dozens of online publications. Grab her SEO + PR checklist to learn how to rank your small business in Google search using digital PR --> pitch.st/checklist

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