I ask this controversial question for two reasons. Firstly, so many people now understand on-page SEO basics, and secondly, it has widely been accepted that PR, of the online variety, is key to building up links.

So where does this leave the SEO professional?

The end is looming for SEOs, whose bread and butter comes from telling people how to construct title tags and what to highlight in H1 tags.

Other professions — from web designers/developers to content writers — have absorbed such knowledge to add value to their own work, and almost everyone can get most of the basics right without hiring a SEO consultant.

The reason the role of the SEO is still important is because non techie people don’t want to get into the world of trying to understand and keep up with Google’s algorithm.

They know about on-page optimisation because it’s on their website, but off-site optimisation isn’t their bag.

In truth, off-site optimisation, link building or link baiting, should actually be in the domain of PR professionals.

PRs understand – or at least should understand – how to take a brand, product or service and get people to talk about it.

They are also apt in the art of crisis management and keeping things out of the media.

This is a skill that is increasingly becoming important online (such as negative search result rankings), in a world where today’s news isn’t tomorrow’s chip paper but something that will linger forever.

Unfortunately many PRs have been either too slow to get involved with the techie side, or uninterested with online media coverage.

So SEOs, normally with backgrounds in web development, have taken the lead in winning business to create links to their clients.

Many of the rules which apply to PR also apply to online PR (with a few tweaks).

So there is no reason why, once a website has on-page optimisation, a PR professional, with skills adapted to online, couldn’t take the role of generating links.

So if a web developer can build a search engine friendly website, a content writer knows how to write search engine friendly copy and an online PR guru can get blogs/websites/forums to link to that content, where does that leave an SEO?

After all, you have the three main ingredients for natural search rankings; visibility, content and incoming links.


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Related research:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): A Beginner’s Guide

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The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.