Let’s face it, 'Online PR' is difficult to define, let alone 'SEO PR'. But it is increasingly a ‘specialism’ that many digital marketers are adding to their services. So what exactly is SEO PR and why should I care?

Let's start by turning to Google for some kind of definition. At the time of writing, the top ranked result is for SEO-PR.com. This is Greg Jarboe’s US online marketing agency specialising in successfully optimising seemingly anything that moves for search.  

The second result is from a Technology Weekly article way back in 2006. To paraphrase, SEO PR is defined as communicating online material to news sites to help visibility in search engines and drive relevant traffic to websites.

For many, things haven’t moved on much from 2006. In 2009 clients simply redestribute press releases from their PR agencies. They pass them over to their search agencies, which will optimise them for client media centres and online distribution.

But that's not a long term Online PR strategy and certainly isn't the only way to improve your search rankings and visibility in Google. There are newer opportunities to consider.

These include social media optimisation, Universal Search, as well as a multichannel approach to PR and SEO. That is where the most exciting PR and SEO opportunities have developed over the past three years, and that's where we're at in 2009. The smart marketers will get the edge by embracing these opportunities.

So I'll have a go at a definition of SEO PR:

SEO PR is the use of genuine and ethical dialogue-driven PR strategies to improve a brand's organic search engine rankings."

As a PR agency or communications specialist you must have the skills to improve client search visibility, as well as being able to measure the ROI of your activity. Sane clients seriously value Google visibility and the associated traffic that comes with high(er) rankings. Even your most loyal clients may drop you unless you wise up in this area. 

On the other side of the fence, there are search specialists with no PR skills potentially ruining their clients’ reputations online through highly dubious and clumsy link building techniques

The phrase 'Google is a reputation management engine' has never rung truer and the stakes can be high. There is a huge opportunity here for PR experts to reclaim some territory from the SEO agencies.

So do you need to explore the link between SEO and Public Relations further? To find out ask yourself if you need answers to the following questions:

  • How do I ensure that my PR strategy, implementation and materials are optimized so that it will positively affect my/my clients’ position within search engines?
  • How do identify and prioritise online media channels and blogger/social media outreach contacts?
  • How do I optimise my PR materials on and off site?
  • How do I benchmark and measure SEO PR success?

For more information read our post on SEO and how it relates to PR. Furthermore, all of Econsultancy's SEO PR training courses cover these areas and provide hands on workshop guidance from specialists. 

And if you have got SEO PR all sewn up, then why not have a go at improving our definition?

Michelle Goodall

Published 10 February, 2009 by Michelle Goodall

Michelle Goodall is an Online PR and Social Media Consultant at Econsultancy. Follow her on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (4)


Ross Furlong

Nice post - interesting emphasis on google as a reputation management engine. 

over 9 years ago


Wendy McAuliffe

Nice thought-provoking post Michelle. I my mind it doesn't matter what we call it, so long as PR and SEO are being used in tandem for any online communications campaign. SEO, when used intelligently, can give an ethical boost to online PR efforts, and ensure multiple touchpoints for a brand. People access and search for information in so many different ways nowadays, that 'SEO PR', or whatever you want to call it, is simply about making sure that content can be easily found and connected with the brand distributing it.

over 9 years ago


Andrew Bruce Smith

Stuart Bruce kicked off an interesting debate on PR vs SEO (in his view, PR is about reputation management - and SEO isn't):

Having recently sweated over a 4000 word whitepaper attempting to provide a soup to nuts view of online PR, I'm only too aware of the issues involved. I'd welcome feedback.

over 9 years ago


Go Light

It's simple equation

PR = Traffic = Money

about 9 years ago

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