The convergence of PR and SEO has been a hotly debated topic on the Econsultancy blog in recent months.

It began with a guest blog urging PRs to get a grip on SEO, followed by a post warning that SEOs will slaughter careless PR agencies.

Both articles stirred a great reaction in the comments section, with the general consensus being that SEO and PR need to work together to help achieve common goals.

Text 100’s digital and social lead Lance Concannon also addressed the topic at a PRCA event discussing the future of search and SEO.

Concannon stated that PRs should find out who owns SEO within their client’s business and build a relationship with them so they can better coordinate their efforts.

Here is a summary of his advice on what PRs should be doing to help their client’s SEO strategies…

1. On-page copy

Before publishing anything on the client’s website, PRs should speak to the SEOs to find out what the strategy is for each page.

For instance, find out which keywords the copy should be targeting, how images should be tagged and what internal links need to be added.

Concannon suggested that PRs should be doing this by default before adding or altering anything on the site to ensure it fits with the overall SEO goals. 

2. Off-page copy

PRs need to ensure they bear SEO in mind when publishing something on a third-party site, such as a press release or a guest blog.

Backlinks are obviously a key part of any SEO strategy, so make sure you ask the SEO team what anchor text should be used and what pages to link back to.

3. Social media channels 

A show of hands at the PRCA conference revealed that PRs are often given some control over their clients’ social media channels.

As social signals become more important to SEO, Concannon said that PRs need to ensure they are promoting and linking to the correct pages when posting to Facebook and Twitter.

Again, this should be done in in cooperation with the SEO team.

4. Make the most of your contact book

While SEOs should be adept at building up a good number of backlinks from other websites and blogs, securing the really valuable links from sites with high domain authority is a more difficult task.

But gaining coverage in the mainstream media and on industry blogs to earn these high quality links should really be bread and butter for a good PR.

In this way, the age-old sales skills of a PR are still just as relevant in the digital age.

5. Quality content 

While the technical side of SEO – such as site architecture, anchor text, backlinks, etc. – is vital, equally important is creating quality content. Even more so following Google’s recent algorithm updates.

This is another area that PRs can help the SEO strategy by coming up with ideas for good quality articles, videos or infographics that will also help generate shares and backlinks.

6. Analytics 

PR is essentially about generating awareness of a brand, which should ultimately lead to extra visits to their website as people go online to find out more about them.

Though quantifying PR activity through web analytics isn’t an exact science, Concannon said that it is important for PRs to have access to their clients’ analytics so they can track what impact their activities are having.

It is likely that the SEO team will have access to this information, so speak to them about getting access. If you can’t get access to the live analytics then request a weekly report of key metrics.

7. Balance is important 

While it is important for PRs to be alert to the importance of search, they shouldn’t simply place themselves at the beck and call of the SEOs.

There needs to be a balance between what works for improving search rankings and ensuring you are delivering a good user experience with entertaining or informative content. 

Optimising content for Google bots is a different art to creating content that people will actually want to read, so PRs should make sure they utilise their own skills in copywriting and generating brand exposure to complement the needs of the SEO strategy and drive traffic to the site.