Image credit: drumBeat Marketing

This article starts with a very brief summary of the top ranking articles for the search phrase “public relations and SEO”.

They’re presented and summarized in three groupings:

  • SEO supports PR
  • PR supports SEO
  • PR and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly

SEO supports Public Relations

Per matternow.com, SEO is the practice of increasing website content visibility, and as a public relations agency, they seem to assume you know what PR is. Their framing is that SEO supports PR.

Per TopRank Marketing, PR and Communications pros need to know SEO, as a result of Internet search being such a dominant force in the lives or everyone, which includes both consumers and journalists. Their framing implies, but does not directly state, that SEO supports PR.

Public Relations supports SEO

Per Search Engine Journal, PR is crucial to SEO. As an SEO focused publication, they take the opposite framing from mattersnow.com. They describe SEO and PR as separate (as does mattersnow.com), but they flip the roles. Here SEO is primary, and PR supports SEO.

Public Relations and SEO go together

Per Tarakeet, they are separate things which can be integrated. SEO is the technical side while PR acts as the source of relationship building, and you need both.

Per SEMrush, they state that “Modern link building relies on a traditional public relations approach” which I agree with 100%.

Per Victorious (an SEO agency), getting information in front of the right audience at the right time is the goal of both PR and SEO. Neither one is elevated above the other, and they are described as being practically inseparable.

Per 5WPR (a PR agency), they agree with Victorious. They list backlinking as their first item under “PR Overview”, state that “Backlinking is the bread and butter for SEO”, then state that getting attention from authoritative websites is the specialty of PR groups working their networks of contacts.

Per Publicize.co, companies should not approach SEO and PR as two separate activities. They state (correctly in my opinion) that the two most important ranking factors (content and backlinks) are natural outputs of PR.

Per Forbes (or perhaps per the Forbes contributor John Rampton), SEO and PR are no longer separate, but “now are working together within a new integrated and evolved digital landscape”.

SEO Needs Link Building

It’s encouraging to see so many frame this properly

The idea that SEO and PR can be separated these days strikes me as just plain weird.

PR is about getting noticed, and a primary “channel” through which companies get noticed is journalists. Who write for publications which are increasingly, and in many cases exclusively, online.

At the same time, to succeed in SEO, every company needs to become a publisher, of information and articles relevant to their customers and prospects.

This intersection of journalism and “corporate publishing” is not just inevitable, for the most part it’s already happened.

Brand Journalism is now a thing

Consider that the search phrase “brand journalism” now returns 207M search results, and returns a rich snippet that defines the phrase well.

brand journalism search resuls

Navigating a digital landscape of SEO/PR (or PR/SEO)

When you’re a large brand with a large budget and separate SEO and PR functions, you simply combine them and work through the issues of these two teams working together.

But what about when you’re a resource starved smaller or early stage business who knows of and probably does some level of SEO, but thinks PR is too expensive? Then what?

It’s less about tactics, and more about mindset

Understanding that PR is an SEO function (and/or visa versa) doesn’t change what you do for SEO, it changes how you do it, as it shifts your attention from WHAT to WHO.

Link building is still link building, but a focus on who, rather than what, focuses your link building efforts more effectively.

This realization occurred within me after interviewing 39 people about their link building practices for an article I wrote for Search Engine Watch.

You may find it interesting: If you think you’re link building, you’re doing it wrong

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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