SEO is PR in Disguise

Gone are the days when SEO was its own department, a niche art that only a few people in the agency had managed to master.

SEO is PR in Disguise
Giles Taylor writes for W/Brand Design Blog
Giles Taylor, October 08, 2021

Now, SEO is a necessity. It’s a key skill that many in the office have acquired.

It’s one of the most pivotal skills in digital marketing and is required in multiple areas of an agency - especially PR.

PR and SEO go hand-in-hand. The two disciplines are more similar than you might think, and share far more than just being marketing acronyms. PR and SEO blend skill sets, have common goals, and operate in similar ways.

By utilising the power and practices of SEO, you can simultaneously achieve your PR goals, and create some of the same end results as an effective PR strategy in terms of promoting content and building your brand’s credibility.

How content connects SEO and PR

Two of the core goals for both SEO and PR are visibility. SEO is about boosting your brand higher on those Google rankings, getting your content (and your business) seen by more of the right people. PR is about visibility, too - it’s about getting your brand out there, building relationships, and cultivating a positive image. Both SEO and PR aim to grow audiences, expand reach, and enhance brand awareness. Not only that, but they actually utilise the same practices to achieve those goals.

Content is one key area where SEO and PR overlap. Once upon a time, there were sneaky ways of worming your way up the Google rankings by working to trick the algorithm, or by simply keyword stuffing. Now, not so much: Google rewards good content. Keywords are important, but won’t be effective if you’re not simultaneously crafting relevant, resonating content itself. Quality content is a must for PR, too: what’s the point in utilising content to boost your brand if that content is poorly written, not compelling, and paints your business in an unattractive light?

An excellent content strategy typically uses some kind of content calendar. Collaboration between PR and SEO here benefits both parties. While a content calendar allows PR professionals to accurately schedule not only digital content but business events, this can also be used by your SEO content team to create relevant web or blog content to attract clicks from an appropriate audience. Similarly, when a PR project necessitates web traffic, SEO experts are the ones to talk to about driving organic clicks.

Build business connections with PR to improve your Google ranking

Content is where PR and SEO first overlap, but it’s not the only important aspect of either practice. Quality content is one thing, but SEO also relies on good outreach, and that’s something PR professionals know a lot about.

A big part of PR is about building relationships and connections, and those connections can be extremely useful for SEO. Let us explain why. SEO thrives on backlinks. Links are also one of the most important factors for Google rankings, but for many businesses, particularly start-ups, it can be really difficult to get other businesses to link to yours. Domain authority also comes into play here: while this isn’t a factor in terms of Google rankings, having backlinks from websites with better domain authority will help to boost the performance of your website in comparison to competitors.

The connections created by PR - be they relevant creators, bloggers, other businesses or even customers - can be vital for garnering backlinks to your website, particularly if they are coming from websites that have a similar audience to yours which your own content is relevant to. By having a solid PR strategy, you can automatically increase your Google rankings, as well as your domain authority, by utilising those same connections.

Building a reputable brand with social proof

Social proof, as coined by Robert Cialdini in 1984, refers in a digital marketing context to the idea that before committing to a purchase or service, potential clients look for reviews, recommendations or anything that proves a company is reputable. So how does this come into SEO?

Social proof can itself improve SEO by directing fresh content and new backlinks towards your site. Excellent PR is a good way to guarantee excellent examples of social proof, like reviews, recommendations, or general positive buzz about your company. Having strong, recognisable branding is a solid way to grow your company into one that is reputable, and trusted by customers - and can make PR an easier job in itself. This can help you to grow your audience while harnessing social proof. But this works backwards, too.

By growing backlinks and the hosts of that content, you can also utilise the power of social proof. By improving your Google ranking, you can boost your brand’s credibility, and likely increase the initial trust of potential clients. Having a higher ranking site and strong SEO skills could be a form of social proof itself - and increased audience trust is never a bad thing in terms of PR.

SEO not only works with PR, but can replicate its results

While SEO and PR blend a lot of similar skills and practices, SEO itself can ultimately act as PR in disguise.

In fact, in some ways, SEO is PR adapted for the modern, increasingly digital age: SEO aims to grow your business/audience, amplify your brand awareness and visibility, and can even improve your credibility and grow client trust.

After all, brand awareness and reach are nothing without trust and reputability, and the same practices that’ll improve your Google rankings will also help to make your site and content more trustworthy to its actual readers. Furthermore, SEO best practices use the same principles adhered to by PR professionals within content management. Both PR and SEO share practices which make content more effective, more trustworthy, and more likely to trigger action from potential clients.

By efficiently and accurately using SEO in your digital marketing strategy, you can not only improve your Google rankings, but simultaneously create results similar to an effective PR campaign.

Giles Taylor writes for W/Brand Design Blog

Giles Taylor

Giles is the founder and creative director for W/Brand. A graphic designer from Reading in Berkshire, UK, he's a dad with two wonderful children who enjoys walking and playing the guitar.  

Get started today!

Please type your first name.
Please type your last name.
Invalid email address.
Invalid Input

I have read and agree with W/Brand's privacy policy

Brand Agency Get In Touch Start your Brand Journey