25 July 2024, 10:49
By Nicola Snell Dec 08, 2022

Is your PR SEO savvy?

Despite huge shifts toward digital content consumption, when it comes to PR, many still consider their product being featured in a printed glossy magazine or newspaper to be more valuable than if the same article ran online – but brands who view PR in this more traditional way may be missing crucial opportunities to strengthen their online presence, grow their brand and, ultimately, improve their SEO, warns Press Loft’s founder, Nicola Snell …

PR and SEO go hand in hand – mostly because they fit under the same ‘earned media’ umbrella. This means that, unlike advertising, it’s not about you shouting about how good your brand is, but a journalist, as a trusted third party, telling their audience how great your brand is. 

Print press features are a fantastic way to build brand awareness and authority. However, when they’re published online, they have the extra benefit of helping to boost your search engine rankings too. This can result in dramatically higher ROI and all-important sales – and this is why digital PR should be an important part of an overall communications strategy for brands today. 

Link it up 

Even though search engine optimisation (SEO) has been spoken about for many years now, the specific rules and measurements used by big search engines to define it remain a mystery. One thing we do know, though, is that backlinks (a link on a site that goes to a page on your site) from high-quality websites and digital platforms will help search engines see you as an authority in your space. 

Simply put, the more quality backlinks you secure, the higher up your company website sits on Google’s search results pages, the goal being to appear as high up on page one as possible. Google looks for keywords in these articles, and their algorithm then associates your company with those topics and, over time, you will get higher organic search results. For example, if you are included in an article on dining chairs in The Times online, Google says your website must be associated with dining chairs, and your ranking related to this search will improve over time. 

The more quality dining chair articles you are in, the higher your ranking for keywords associated with dining chairs. This then leads to higher visibility on Google, more organic traffic and, all importantly, more sales from this organic traffic source. This is where digital publications, which can link directly to products, have the edge over printed ones. 

Quality over quantity

When the benefits of SEO first became apparent, many brands set out to create as many backlinks as possible, which led to a huge rush of spammy backlinks being created. Google swiftly caught up and changed its algorithm to blacklist poor links and heavily favour quality backlinks, therefore ranking them more highly. This further emphasised PR’s SEO power, and PR started to see a huge resurgence.  

The easiest way to determine if a link is high quality is to check the site’s Domain Authority (DA). DA is a scoring system created by Moz.com, and refers to a search engine ranking score between 1-100, which helps to determine how successful a site is seen to be from a search engine perspective. Moz has a free tool on its site to help you find out what the DA of a site is – ideally, you want features and coverage in online publications and blogs with a DA above 30. 

Relevancy is key in SEO, as it is another metric search engines value, so in addition to a good DA, you will want to be sure that any publications or sites that you target for PR are well-aligned with your brand and product. Look for titles and creators that have a readership with similar demographics to your customers. 

Social = search engine

When you think of search engines, I imagine it’s Google (and perhaps Bing) that comes to mind? What is easily forgotten is that social media sites are search engines within themselves – in fact, after Google, many experts count Youtube and Pinterest as the second- and third-largest search engines. 

Whilst the big players have stayed pretty tight-lipped about the impact social following has on SEO, a 2018 study by Hootsuite showed that articles shared on social media saw a +22% boost in terms of SEO impact. So, outside of just the digital article itself, it’s worth considering the additional sharing a publication may do across their social media sites, or the journalist’s own personal account. These posts would be great exposure to an additional audience, and the further SEO strength it provides could result in more views and, in turn, more sales for you. 

All in the details 

Backlinks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO, which is a very technical field. However, encouraging links isn’t the only thing you can do to help boost your ranking when doing digital PR. Search engines work by ‘crawling’ sites and content to determine their quality, value, and industry relevancy. 

Using keywords throughout your press releases and articles is a great way to help search engines see your content as high value. Some journalists may use whole sentences from your release in a final article, so having them be SEO-friendly from the beginning will only help to strengthen any piece you are included in. Using the dining chairs example, you may also want to include the phrases ‘seating’ and ‘entertaining’, as well as make clear references to its characteristics, such as ‘oak furniture’ or ‘painted wood furniture’. 

Another often-overlooked place that can help you strengthen your PR is imagery. Google will also crawl image captions to better determine what they are, so ensure the filenames of any jpeg or png images you are providing to press or hosting on your press office are carefully and clearly labelled before they are uploaded or sent anywhere. 

If you’re ready to start your digital PR journey but are still not sure where to begin, why not take advantage of our free 60-day trials of Press Loft for Furniture News readers? Simply visit pressloft.com/furniturenews.

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