By Chris Porteous, CEO of My SEO Sucks.

The role of PR and SEO are now inextricably linked in so many ways. For a PR agency to succeed, it must offer SEO as a service. If it fails, it will miss out on greater opportunities.

According to a Search Engine Land report, one of the major reasons for the increasing similarity between SEO and public relations is the evolution of search algorithms. SEO in the past was all about building links, irrespective of where they were coming from. But Google’s algorithms in the last few years (especially Penguin) have made that difficult, as it prefers and considers links from authoritative websites over others.

As an SEO specialist with years of experience and a co-founder of an SEO agency, this means a lot. In the past, most of our SEO efforts were all about link building. A greater part of SEO now involves PR, which includes cold pitching, establishing relationships with editors and collaboration with other experts.

Apart from helping in public relations and awareness, SEO offers valuable media hits in the digital realm such as delivering click-through traffic, improving a site’s domain authority (DA) and providing anchor text links and backlinks. PR agencies and SEO firms must be ready for this inevitable change that’ll shape the way brands are positioned and greatly impact them for better opportunities.

Is SEO the PR of the Present?

The truth is that SEO is not the future of PR. Many SEOs recognize it as the PR of the day, hence performing online PR through content creation and outreach to online influencers for promotion. While this is so, many PR agencies still fail to leverage the opportunities offered by SEO in a number of ways.

Firstly, PR agencies/entrepreneurs looking to get press should think as SEO specialists. As an SEO specialist, a PR agency must optimize its press releases for search engines. Make use of keywords and phrases that users search for on the internet, hence making it possible for them to rank well. Secondly, ask for backlinks to your businesses when you make press hits. A backlink is instrumental in growing a company’s DA. Lastly, understand that Google’s algorithms are now much more advanced than they used to be. So don't dwell on previous strategies such as heavy use of anchor text on internal links, directories, paid links, comment links, reciprocal links, multiple microsites, separate domains and so on. These strategies could lead to strict penalties from Google.

In the SEO game today, what matters most are quality, high-authority links from websites that have been established and are trusted by search engines as a result of their age, quality and size.

How You and Your PR Agency Can Leverage SEO

For any PR agency to grow, it needs to consider SEO. PR agencies can benefit from SEO in the following ways:

  • Develop media partnerships: Partner with top media agencies by writing high-quality articles such as cornerstone articles, personal stories and case studies as guest posts. This will lead to more brand exposure and improves SEO.
  • Utilise social media: A good social media strategy that details the activities of the agency on the various platforms will go a long way to complement SEO efforts. Think about when you post, influencers you want to attract and how you plan to gain new followers on various platforms.
  • Optimize press releases for SEO gains: No doubt, optimizing press releases for search engines will reap a lot of benefits for any PR agency. By doing this, you’re leveraging the popular use of search engines by inserting keywords and phrases into your press releases, hence attracting more readers.
  • Stay consistent with your content marketing efforts: Content marketing is a surefire way to turbocharge your PR agency’s SEO strategy. With strategic content marketing, you are focused on delivering valuable and relevant content, consistently. You’ll attract more customers and persuade them to take action.

The Future of SEO Agencies

Although PR and SEO agencies perform similar roles, SEO agencies that can project into the future will dominate the market in no distant time. Rather than competing with PR agencies for SEO services, SEO agencies can focus on the technical aspect of SEO by offering incredible insight on backlink strategy and on-site activities in the meantime. That way they’ll provide their clients with viable alternatives.

In the long run, they should look towards building software as a service. This will streamline the SEO process and preserve white hat link building to ensure that it withstands various Google updates. To maximize the ROI of any company, SEO and PR agencies must work hand in hand. This will enable them to focus their outreach strategy on online hits, reaching more people and generating more traffic and revenue.

Chris Porteous is the CEO of My SEO Sucks, a boutique search marketing firm that combines technology and digital PR to increase visibility.

Published on: Mar 16, 2018