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.

3 responses to “2 Ways PR & SEO Need to Collaborate to Drive Results

  1. Sarah this is a fantastic point of view and thank you for the response! You are right…so much of it is education and I think that’s something both industries need…and something your article is helping to do.

    Regarding the statement, “SEO agency or team should reward the PR team – who, let’s face it, are often struggling to express ROI” – I think that’s a great goal but difficult unless both agencies are on the same page, working strictly for the betterment of the client, can put their egos aside, and aren’t worried about their own ROI. That’s a tall order! :) I did focus a lot on the territory issue and while I know it’s not everywhere, it’s certainly something many people I’ve spoken to are facing at the current moment in time. Personally, I’m huge fan of the two working together as it benefits everyone and if a PR company wants data on how a piece did, I am very happy to do that.

    Great point about URLs. When talking link building, it’s usually a specific post we’re promoting but to your point, there should be a list of target URLs shared and something I am definitely adding into my list.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful response!

  2. Sarah, thank you for a thoughtful response to the post. To your point about education, you are 100% correct and I think this article helps do just that.

    In regards to the statement about rewards and ROI, while it’s a nice goal, it’s a difficult one unless everyone is truly putting their own egos aside, working for the betterment of the client, and not afraid to give someone else credit…when we are all trying to prove ROI, this can be a tall order. Personally, I love working with other agencies because I know it helps our efforts as well as theirs. I did focus on the territory element because that’s where many of us are currently and what I hear from many of my friends on both the PR side and the SEO side. I hope that shifts in the future as more companies breakdown their siloes.

    To your point about URLs…YES! When talking link building it’s usually one specific piece of content we’re targeting but there should definitely be a shared list of target URLs. I’ll certainly be adding that to my list of things to do.

    Again, thanks for adding your own perspective and generating a great conversation!

  3. This is such an interesting post – the idea of the SEO & PR teams of a company or business being combined has a lot of potential I think! It would definitely increase both teams’ results if they were working on the same page. Thanks for sharing!

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