PR Insider: PR is the new SEO

Uwe Schmidt
Uwe Schmidt

While Google has changed the search algorithms three times between 2011 and 2013, the latest one seems to be causing the most headaches to SEO specialists since it focuses mostly on content. And that’s – alas, dear techies! – first and foremost no technological approach. It’s an opportunity for PR professionals (who develop key message-driven strategies for their clients) to provide deep content and manage both sides of modern PR: the media and the SEO portions.

Here are five tips from a PR professional who’s been following SEO trends very closely over the last few years:

  1. Constantly create new user-oriented content on your website. This will guarantee visitors stay longer and Google will recognize higher relevance for your website.
  2. Create unique content. For instance, pitch bylined articles for placement on reputable websites such as online trade magazines, and get links to that content on your website secured. These links are invaluable for your Google ranking.
  3. Design website content, structure and technique so Google can analyze the content easily. Include keywords within all titles and copy. Eliminate large images and flash animations whenever possible.
  4. Avoid duplicate content. Also, do not book low-value placements on pseudo press portals or directories that were created to distort Google results. Google now ignores such entries and even might punish companies appearing on such "spam sites" by down-ranking their websites.
  5. Choose a smart PR agency as your company’s partner. Doing so will better ensure that each side understands both the content and the technological aspects of state-of-the-art SEO public relations.

This may sound easy, but in reality it’s not. In reality, few companies truly understand the current trends and how they can use them to their benefit, nor do they know how to find the right partner to work with them on the opportunity. At the end of the day, it’s all about including SEO in the content-driven communications strategy of a company and being able to shift a part of the marketing budget to one of the most effective tools that exists today: SEO-PR.

Uwe Schmidt is CEO of the German PR & communications agency Industry-Contact (IC AG) and the current president of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN). Follow Uwe: @IC_AG.

  • Damon Rutherford | Digitator

    Thanks for sharing – I think this is a good summary to help PR professionals begin to understand how they can use SEO principles to leverage the value of their journalist contacts for their clients online businesses.

    I’d like to add my thoughts on the value of links for SEO mentioned in the second tip.

    The types of links potentially provided by journalists are becoming more and more important as the links traditionally sought by SEO teams (blogs, directories) become devalued by Google. This presents a great opportunity for PR to begin working with SEO to differentiate each others offerings over and above their competition.

    For instance you may have heard the adage that not all links are created equal. This is because there are many elements that search engines take into consideration when calculating the value of a referring link to your website.

    With links you need to consider whether the referring site links to external sites, and if they do, whether this is via followed or no-followed links. You also need to consider the domain and page authority of the linking site, their previous domain linking activity, and the site relevance (among other things!). As you can see, being able to identify sites that have the best links for a client takes specialist skills.

    In the future PR and SEO teams working together will become common place. The question is how quickly that happens, and who gets the initial advantage in the PR agency wars.