There was a time when SEO and PR would barely knew the other existed. SEO was dark and complicated, sitting alone behind screens in darkened rooms, hammering out code. Meanwhile, public relations was bubbly and personable, making phone calls, sending out press releases and putting herself “out there.” The two had barely even spoken — let alone managed a full-on conversation about exactly how much they had in common.
But it turns out that they have a lot in common —most importantly the goal of influencing key audiences — so it was inevitable that SEO and PR would discover they were pretty much made for each other. After all, if you've got a website, you've got PR and SEO. The only question left is how you get the two of them to form the beginnings of a beautiful relationship.
PR & SEO: A love story
It wasn't so long ago that PR had fallen a bit out of fashion, and all the attention went to SEO. Companies wanted their digital content to rate high in search engine results, and so turned to tactics such as keyword stuffing and amassing hundreds of pages to try and win Google's favor. But as they say, all's fair in love and war, and today many industry experts are saying that PR agencies are outpacing traditional SEO agencies (some are even saying SEO is a "dying breed") as the most effective (and affordable) way to get your content seen — and ranked.
Why? Because PR is one of the best ways to create shareable content and thus the quality links that SEO needs to be successful. Think of PR as the rocket fuel that not only powers your site to the top of the rankings, but also builds brand awareness among your key audiences. Public relations is also in the business of building meaningful relationships and getting noticed by the biggest influencers on the web. So essentially SEO is often powered by public relations. You can do all the keyword research you want, but until the New York Times or Buzzfeed links to your content, you'll find yourself languishing on the third page. PR is garnering shares and creating backlinks that old-school SEO practices can only dream of. It's no wonder that SEO now finds PR so alluring.
Bringing SEO & PR together in your own organization
If your SEO experts aren't talking with your PR agency, get thee to a conference room. With barely an introduction, you can expect that the two disciplines will soon be sharing late-night conversations about editorial calendars, spending hours talking content syndication and bonding over distribution strategies. And both should be reaching out to influencers — bloggers and prominent sites in your niche (and beyond). Online advertising can help drive sales, but they can’t drive SERPs.
Other opportunities where the two disciplines can support each other include:
Happily ever after?
Now that PR and SEO have seen the light, it's time to start the real work of building a long-lasting relationship where both sides work together to get what they want: a well-respected brand that ranks at the top of Google’s search page.