Why don’t all PR firms offer SEO services? The obvious answer a PR firm will give is “because we’re a PR firm” but seriously, do PR people understand how much impact their hard work has on their client’s search rankings?

Do they realise SEO is a £500m market in the UK?

This article aims to flesh out the opportunity for PR firms willing to innovate and offer a service that mixes the expertise of SEO and PR; for my sins, I refer to this service as search optimised PR (SOPR).

What the heck is SOPR?

SOPR can be loosely defined as offering SEO and PR services combined to extract the most value out of any media coverage generated. In the digital world this value can be construed as visits, page views, on-page time and ultimately conversions.

Thankfully I’m not a lone wolf here; there are plenty of articles out there that list how SEO and PR essentially work together to boost traffic to a client’s website. SEO agencies aim to rank you higher on search engines for selected keywords, PR agencies aim to increase your coverage in the media and further establish your company as a formidable player in your market.

The net result from both is more traffic to your little ol’ website.

Why SEO and PR should join forces now more than ever

Google continues to refine its mighty search engine in an effort to offer users the most relevant and accurate results to queries. I’ve blogged about how SEO needs to be approached differently in 2013, in particular mentioning the need for focusing on generating high quality content that people will happily share via their social networks. 

Google is beginning to ignore more and more backlinks from low quality domains. I know companies that have suffered decreases in search traffic to the tune of 50% because of this. Google will continue down this path and there’ll be many more similar case studies to come.

Scary stuff, but in the long run it’s beneficial for us all as we get to use a more responsive and helpful search engine. 

What’s needed? The answer: backlinks from high quality domains that people (and Google) trust. SEOmoz’s Open Explorer gives insight into how trustworthy linking-in domains are, and it’s always the major names in the media that appear at the top of the stack.

To illustrate this point, consider the below screenshot which shows the domain authority (basically a scale of 1-100 showing how well Google will rank a site) of five major media sites in the UK. 

SEOmoz Open Explorer

What this means is that any media coverage you get on these sites will send a shed-load of people to your website. I’ve experienced this personally, the BBC article about peer to peer lending caused a mass of visitors to our site, it was by a country mile the highest amount of visits we’ve had in a single day.

External links to your site from media monsters like this are gold dust.

Six tasty services SOPR agencies could offer

Tasty services 

What might a SOPR agency offer to its clients? The list is not exhaustive by all means but the menu of delicious SEO and PR goodness agencies could offer might include: 

1. Links from high quality domains that will significantly boost your search ranking

I can’t hammer this point home enough. It’s all about high quality sites linking in to your site. Well networked SOPR agencies will be able to liaise with the media sites that have the domain authority (power) to transform your search traffic and ultimately add to your bottom line.

2. Optimised press releases to boost rankings for specific keywords

Press releases that use links with anchor text containing keywords the client wants to rank for. Note: this must be done in a meaningful way. If Google see any keyword stuffing in press releases they’ll send the heavies round.

A helpful article on this is Mark Jackson’s press releases and search engine optimization

3. Coverage specific landing pages to increase conversions

PR isn’t all about press releases. For those articles that get published after PR people have chased journalists around the clock it would be a shame if they did not work equally as hard.

Landing pages can be created and ranked to receive traffic from media coverage to maximise the relevance of what the reader has just consumed to what they’re now seeing on your site. End result: an increase in conversions.

4. Case studies with real, measurable results proving ROI

Bingo! Analytics is one of the best and unique features of online marketing; it gives us the facts and figures to prove our work. PR folk can make use of this and show campaign KPIs such as visits and conversions to add real numerical weight to their pitches.

5. Traditional on-site SEO

If you hire an expert in the field of SEO it makes sense to extract as much value as possible. Marketing their core services (e.g. a website SEO audit) alongside SOPR could lead to a higher monthly service fee and increased year-end turnover.

6. Content marketing and inbound marketing

Hire an expert that has experience in SEO and content marketing and you’ll really be maximising your ROI. The good news is content marketing and SEO (and PR to a certain extent) are heavily intertwined so it’s an easy sell to offer alongside.

Summary

What I’m proposing is not a revolutionary concept, indeed there are PR firms already out there offering this.

Take for example Punch who believe they are “the first agency, globally, to offer truly integrated PR, Social Media and Search (SEO)”. The point is they are few and far apart, and from experience of dealing with various agencies it seems a very reasonable suggestion that PR and SEO agencies should join forces.

The combined package offers clients a more effective SEO and PR service as every single ounce of ranking power can be extracted.

As of today the internet has at least 14.52bn pages meaning ranking power has become a commodity that needs to be utilised in the most efficient way possible. SOPR might well be the answer.

Other helpful resources

Do you think SOPR agencies make sense?

What are your thoughts? PR people, can you see the opportunity? Are you already offering this, if so how is it going down with clients? 

SEO folk, fancy seeing yourself working for a PR firm? Or are you wanting to learn PR to offer this alongside SEO? Is it possible to be an expert in both fields?