Leveraging SEO for Success in Public Relations: 5 Key Benefits (2023)

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Is there a connection between SEO and public relations, and if so, how can SEO be utilized to enhance PR efforts?


This guide will provide seven reasons why incorporating SEO into your public relations strategy is essential.


The following topics will be covered inside:


  • The benefits of backlinks on improving domain authority
  • The influence of higher Google rankings on increasing brand recognition
  • The role of online mentions in shaping brand associations


This guide will also cover additional information on the relationship between SEO and PR.


If you are considering including SEO in your PR strategy, continue reading.


Exploring the Distinctions Between Digital PR and SEO


It is important to understand the distinctions between digital public relations and SEO before discussing the benefits of implementing search engine optimization for a business.


While digital public relations and SEO may intersect at certain points, they are ultimately two distinct practices.


Digital public relations involves using digital channels to manage and enhance an organization’s reputation and relationships.


Digital PR combines traditional PR tactics, such as press releases and media outreach, with marketing techniques like social media, influencer partnerships, content marketing, and more to establish an online presence and build a targeted audience. It also aims to secure media coverage for the organization.


The main goals of digital PR include building relationships with important stakeholders such as customers, media, and influencers, as well as establishing a positive online presence and increasing brand awareness.

In short, digital PR can be described as online reputation management.


SEO, in contrast, involves optimizing the content and pages of a website with the aim of improving its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).


SEO efforts are primarily focused on owned channels, such as the website and its blog.


Digital PR supplements SEO by obtaining brand mentions and high-quality backlinks from relevant sources.


In some ways, a digital PR campaign can be seen as a part of an SEO strategy, and SEO can be considered a part of digital PR. This is because strong search engine rankings can establish a brand’s authority and thought leadership, as well as improve relationships with clients and potential customers.


There are three main components to SEO, which will be discussed in the next section.


SEO Components


The three components of SEO are: on-page, off-page, and technical.


On-Page SEO


On-page SEO refers to all optimization efforts that are carried out within the content and structure of a website’s individual pages.


Some examples of on-page SEO activities include:


  • Conducting keyword research and creating relevant, valuable content
  • Identifying targeted keywords and optimizing content to include them
  • Optimizing page titles and meta tags for better visibility in search results.


Off-Page SEO


Off-page SEO is closely related to digital PR and involves efforts to acquire high-quality, dofollow backlinks from relevant sources, increase brand mentions, and improve local SEO.


Technical SEO


Technical SEO involves optimizing the backend of a website to ensure that it loads quickly and can be easily crawled by search engines through the use of internal links, sitemaps, and robots.txt files.


Now that we have a clear understanding of the differences between digital PR and SEO, let’s explore the reasons why incorporating SEO into your public relations strategy is crucial.


Reason #1: Higher search rankings lead to increased brand awareness.


One reason why SEO is essential for PR is that higher search rankings can significantly increase brand awareness. This is an important factor for any organization as it helps to establish credibility and recognition in the marketplace.


Effective public relations is centered on building brand awareness.


Increased brand awareness can lead to more customers choosing to use a particular brand, as they are more familiar with the product or service being offered. It can also help non-profit organizations to reach a wider audience and achieve their objectives more quickly.


As search algorithms continue to improve and become more sophisticated, it is important for businesses to use effective strategies to improve their search rankings and increase their online visibility. This is where SEO comes into play, as it helps companies to optimize their website and content in order to achieve higher search rankings.


For example, consider the eCommerce platform BigCommerce.


I went & googled “ecommerce platform”


In this search results page, we can see that there is a list of paid results at the top of the page. (SERPS)



Screenshot of Google search results for the term 'eCommerce platform', featuring BigCommerce as the top result



However, the first organic result comes from BigCommerce.
Screenshot of Google search results for the term 'eCommerce platform', featuring BigCommerce as the top organic result
Why is this significant?
When users come across a brand name, such as BigCommerce, through a Google search, they are more likely to choose that company’s service in the future due to familiarity.

Reason #2: SEO-Optimized Content Can Expand Your Organic Reach


This section discusses the benefits of SEO-optimized, comprehensive content and how it can improve search rankings and expand your organic reach.


I will be referencing data from Backlinko’s analysis of 11.8 million organic Google search results.


See the highlighted findings below:



Data from Backlinko's analysis of 11.8 million organic Google search results, highlighting finding No. 3

Image Source: BacklinkoThis suggests that comprehensive, in-depth content that thoroughly covers a topic may be more likely to rank highly in search results.

Graph from Backlinko demonstrating the correlation between use of content optimization tool Clearscope and higher Google rankings


Image source: Backlinko


The above graph illustrates the relationship between using the content optimization tool Clearscope and achieving higher Google rankings.


In other words, producing SEO-optimized, comprehensive content can expand your organic visibility, indirectly increasing awareness through search engine results pages (SERPs), similar to PR efforts.


Now let’s move onto backlinks & why you should be aware of them.


Reason #3: Backlinks Can Increase Your Domain Rating and Authority


Link building can increase your Domain Rating (Domain Authority), which has been shown to be correlated with higher search rankings through various studies.


These higher rankings can lead to increased online exposure and brand awareness, indirectly serving as a form of PR.


Let’s take a closer look at this.


For this section, we will focus on two additional findings from the previously mentioned Backlinko study.


"Findings from Backlinko's study, highlighting points #1 and #2"

Image Source: Backlinko


The study demonstrates a strong connection between a website’s link authority and high search rankings.


Furthermore, the study found that pages with more backlinks tend to rank higher and outperform pages with fewer or no backlinks.


Simply put, backlinks are widely considered to be a crucial ranking factor by many SEO experts.


The more websites that link back to you, the more trustworthy you are perceived by others and businesses.


Isn’t that the goal of PR?


Reason #5: Content Marketing Can Function as PR


Content marketing is closely related to the tasks performed by public relations professionals.


The following definition of public relations from HubSpot will help illustrate the connection between the two.


Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.


The definition above highlights that PR is a corporate communication process, similar to content marketing.


By incorporating PR techniques into your content marketing strategy, you can boost your PR campaigns and increase the effectiveness of both your content and SEO strategy.


To put it simply, content marketing helps companies communicate their message, gain more visibility, and enhance brand awareness.


There is no doubt that content marketing can assist a company in conducting PR activities through the use of published content on social media platforms like LinkedIn, as well as on blogs and websites.


Obstacles of Using SEO for PR


We have discussed the advantages of search engine optimization.


Now, we will examine some challenges you should be prepared for.


SEO Requires a Consistent Supply of Content


For every niche, there are hundreds of relevant keywords that people are searching for.


If you do not cover these keywords with your own content, you are essentially giving your competitors free traffic.


In addition, new keywords become popular while older ones become obsolete, requiring you to adjust your existing content.


Creating and maintaining this much content requires a significant amount of effort and the work of a full content and SEO team.


This may be challenging for smaller companies to allocate resources for.


It Is Ongoing


SEO is a constant effort to reach the top. Even after achieving a high ranking, there is no guarantee that a competitor will not surpass you in a few months.


As your website grows and new pages/content are published, it requires ongoing maintenance to maintain its performance.


Therefore, SEO is never really finished – there is always room for improvement.


Algorithm Updates


Like other social media platforms, Google updates often make things more difficult for online businesses.


Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prevent these updates, and we must adapt to them, regardless of how disruptive they may be (especially with core updates).


It can be disheartening to see your efforts undone by a new update, but if you continue to learn and improve, it could be an opportunity to overtake your competition while they are still adjusting to the new update.


To finish up


This post discussed the importance of integrating SEO into your PR strategy to increase brand awareness, establish relationships, and grow your business through reaching new audiences.


One key factor in increasing your online presence and reach is through optimizing your website and content for search engines, and creating high-quality content that will attract visitors and increase your organic reach. This is a crucial element in achieving growth through your PR strategies.


It’s important that your PR and SEO teams are in sync and working together towards a common goal


By combining the efforts of your PR and SEO teams, you can optimize your strategy and achieve even better results.


If you need assistance with outreach-focused tasks like press release distribution or link building, consider reaching out to experts like Fame Media to see how they can help.