Search engine optimisation (SEO) is part of your public relations (PR), not just some geeky addition to your website.
When I’m discussing SEO with a new client, understanding their wider PR campaign is essential to my planning. So why do so many firms see SEO as some website add-on, rather than a developing, often creative enhancement of their PR work?
I think it’s because SEO execs tend to be technology fiends, while PR
staff tend to be arts graduates with a passion for creativity – there
doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.
Yet it’s essential that PR works closely with an SEO team to make sure both budgets are working as hard as they possibly can and complementing each others’ work.
I've previously talked about how social media marketing should be looked at from both an SEO and PR perspective, but here are a few key ways in which PR and SEO working together can enhance a company’s online presence dramatically.
Online reputation management
SEO is essential for overcoming or mitigating high-ranking criticisms of the company.
There are a host of different ways an SEO expert can attempt to counter an online criticism. There are also plenty of ways for a PR team to combat censure.
If the two teams work closely – or if the outside SEO agency is able to regularly liaise with the PR team, the brand’s reputation can be defended from all angles, meaning it can be far more effectively protected.
Planning future campaigns
If a company has a particularly active PR team, then it will be planning campaigns and future marketing endeavours in order to gain maximum exposure for the brand.
Of course, if the person or team working on SEO is sufficiently in the loop, they can really go to work on readying the website for the launch.
New, relevant keywords can be bid for, relevant terms can be seeded throughout the site and there’s time to analyse which relevant keywords will be effective.
An SEO worker may even have some good ideas about campaign subjects that could target less competitive keywords – they have a host of relevant knowledge.
Working with content
When PR and SEO aren’t working hand in glove, it’s a real blow to the potential success of projects such as a blog.
SEO staff won’t necessarily have as much creative force as a PR team, while few press officers and marketers will possess an in depth understanding of optimising their content.
Once again, working together will hugely strengthen the performance of the blog. The SEO team can make sure PR’s writing doesn’t get lost in the crowded online marketplace, while PR can deliberately create content around underperforming keywords.
Blogging, press releases, any kind of content should be as much about SEO as it is about public relations, and vice versa.
Quite often, a PR team will work with other companies and agencies to spread brand awareness.
Whether it’s putting out a press release announcing a partnership, giving an interview to an industry publication, or donating some funds to a local charity – PR deal with lots of other organisations.
Now, if the SEO exec has at least spent some time with the PR team, they’ll have some understanding of the value of inbound links to their site.
PR can do a great deal of good for their firm’s SEO, but only if they understand it.
Ultimately, PR and SEO have the same goal in mind – positive brand exposure to relevant potential customers.
With so many firms being squeezed by the economic situation, many PR teams could benefit by getting more involved with SEO – it will give them measurable examples of success, which will help them justify their budgets.
If each can move beyond dismissing the other as geeks and creative airheads, the whole company will benefit.