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The 2024 State of the Media Report

Get actionable insight from 3,000+ journalists on what they truly want and need from PR teams.

Tecmark’s Jess Pardoe: Don’t underestimate the power of PR in SEO

Jess Pardoe, digital PR and outreach executive at SEO agency Tecmark, provides an SEO perspective on the importance of earned media.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO, and there certainly isn’t a tactic that will work for every website.

For instance, if you gathered 50 of the best SEO execs in the room and asked them to tell you the best way in which to optimise a website for Google and other search engines, I can almost guarantee that no two answers would be entirely the same.

That being said, though, I think if you asked all 50 of those execs whether earned links were valuable to an SEO campaign, that’s a question that would hear no disparity in answers (yes would be the answer, by the way!).

What’s an earned link, you ask? Well, digital PR executives could make a whole presentation of this, but if I was to summarise it on ‘the back of a napkin’, then earned links are backlinks to your website that typically aren’t paid for, or aren’t forced (e.g. swapped).

Each link to your site tells search engines such as Google that your website is an authoritative one. This, in turn, helps push up its rankings – going nicely hand in hand with the other SEO efforts that your campaign deploys.

How does PR fit into SEO?

Earned links are undoubtedly the most valuable type of link, so in a nutshell, that’s how PR compliments and aligns with SEO.

Some PR professionals may be ‘earning links’ without even knowing it; as nowadays everything moves to digital, any good PR would include a hyperlink in a press release when distributing one out during a media campaign. If not for the SEO benefits, a clickable link will help readers of articles find your company’s website quickly and easily, and will help your brand recognition to flourish.

But that’s not all it does. Landing a link in a publication, especially a top-tier one such as the BBC, The SunDaily MailHuffington PostMetro etc. will be incredibly impactful on that website and how well it performs in search engines too.

Digital PR (which is usually a term used for the practice of building links through the medium of PR) helps you to gather links on websites with top domain ratings and huge volumes of traffic.

It’s not about underestimating the value of PR in SEO, because no good SEO campaign would be without it. Period.

What makes PR so important to SEO?

Well, as mentioned above, if you want your website to truly perform in terms of its SERP (search engine results page) position, then you’re going to want to utilise digital PR because:

  • You’ll get links in publications that probably wouldn’t link to you otherwise…
  • …but the links will be natural and well-placed.
  • The domain authorities (DA) of the websites you get placements in are usually super high.
  • You won’t run out of ways to build links. Because if you have good content, publications will link to you time and time again.

But it’s not just the art of ‘digital PR’ that’s important, it’s the people behind it too.

Good digital PR practitioners are few and far between. I believe this is because many go wrong in not teaching the fundamentals of PR, before teaching link building.

A good digital PR executive will understand public relations. They’ll understand how to communicate and how to tell a story. And only then will they learn how to build links through digital PR. Rush the process and you’ll soil the result. There’s no way to cut corners with this.

Earning great coverage for your brand is only half of the battle for people working within digital PR, the harder half is making sure that you’re achieving those links too. However, if you can master this, then the impact and the value in terms of SEO is huge.

This is why we should never underestimate PR and its value to SEO.