Is PR the new SEO? Here’s How the Two Really Complement Each Other…
Contributed by Al Ruggie, PR Director for 911 Restoration
Public Relations and SEO or Search Engine Optimization are not one in the same, but they have grown together so closely with the spread of the digital revolution, that they have become nearly symbiotic. They can each exist solely on their own, but are much more powerful in concert with one another. Singularly public relations efforts are a highly effective way to advance brand recognition and viral advertising. Singularly SEO efforts are an effective way to advance ranking and traffic generation for websites. Together they are a nearly unstoppable marketing tool that forces search engines to pay attention and give authority to the organization in question.
A powerful public relations initiative can have far reaching effects for a company, and with minimal investment too. Similarly a strategic and measured approach to SEO can also provide incredible results for a company and their rank in search engines as well as lead generation from increased traffic. But together PR and SEO form a union that search engines find irresistible.
The social attention that a well-executed PR campaign provides is a signal to the search engines that legitimizes your company and the outreach that your PR achieved. When used in combination with tried and true SEO techniques that capitalize on the attention brought by the PR, it also signals search engines that your company – now connected to this PR event through SEO – is legitimate, trustworthy and deserves the authority that the social signals and SEO tactics are channeling towards it.
What Does PR Do Exactly?
Public relations is a broad term to describe any sort of contact with the outside world from your company that doesn’t immediately include a sales effort. The strategy of the PR may be to increase sales, but the PR actions themselves shouldn’t be sales tactics because that would qualify as advertising. Think of public relations tactics as a conversation a company can have with the outside world about themselves. SEO on the other hand would be a transcript of that same conversation but highly edited so that the internet can read it just as easily as a human being.
A successful public relations agenda should be a part of any company, from small to large, but the more connected your company is to the consumer, the more you will need PR in general. An example of this would be a product vs. service business. For a product oriented business any PR endeavor must center on the product itself, or the people who may use it and then are tangentially connected to the product. A coffee shop that sells coffee as their product can do PR in a variety of ways. One might be creating a game night at the coffee shop where people can come and play board games while meeting each other and drinking coffee. This isn’t about coffee, but it is about the social aspect of drinking coffee with other people.
Another PR endeavor the coffee company might also do if attempting to be more community oriented or trying to attract more press attention for their efforts would be something along the lines of a “Perk up the Park” campaign where they provide free coffee to all of the homeless people who live in the park. If they really wanted to get the most out of it, they could turn this same event into a job fair for their coffee shop. While this isn’t about their coffee specifically, it does lend authenticity to the company because from a PR perspective it shows that they aren’t only about selling coffee to the community, but also about giving back to it as well. A real world example of this would be how Budweiser canned drinking water for the flood victims of Texas.
How Does SEO Tie In to PR?
Many people think of SEO or Search Engine Optimization as being all about moving around complex computer oriented algorithms and the like. This really isn’t what it’s about. There are aspects of SEO that involve complexities surrounding the coding, graphics, load time, site map orientation and other elements that only computer people understand, but in truth most SEO work involves lots of writing. This kind of writing is slightly different than most other forms of writing in that it involves specific placement of keywords, links, and it is formatted for and structured in a web friendly way.
SEO writing complements PR efforts in that it tells the internet about the PR in an authentic way that can be read and cross-referenced by the search engines so that they can determine the veracity of those efforts as a whole. Think of it like the fact checker and editor for a reporter. The reporter gets the story and writes it for everyone to read, but before it goes public, an editor and fact checker call all the sources and independently determine if they actually said what the reporter wrote, then they hone down what the reporter wrote until it is packed with verified and interesting information. This is the nature of SEO in a nutshell.
SEO can elevate a website, or page all on its own, but when used in combination with public relations outreach, both are amplified significantly more than either could achieve alone. PR isn’t the new SEO, nor is SEO a replacement for quality PR efforts in general. In fact they are highly connected to one another to the point of being nearly inseparable. In the digital world of today where a company that doesn’t exist online might not exist for very long, both PR and SEO are necessary tools for a successful business.
Alexander Ruggie is the PR Director for 911 Restoration, and he has been in the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries for more than a decade. When Alexander isn’t crafting strategies and campaigns to help homeowners in need, he is trying to save the world, one well-worded idea at a time.