June 20, 2024 |

Google has become more discerning, so traditional search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies like link building need something more. And who can blame it? It needs a way to separate the most relevant and useful content from the dubious. 

We’ve seen user-experience come to the fore in recent years. While Google’s E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness) isn’t a ranking factor in itself, sites that rank highly generally adhere to these principles. In other words, they feature good-quality, relevant, and user-centric content.

That’s why digital PR and SEO have become two sides of the same coin – both dependent on each other’s success.

How do PR and SEO differ?

PR works to shape your brand’s reputation and increase awareness by generating newsworthy content, whereas SEO aims to raise your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) to boost traffic and ultimately sales.

Digital PR is a hybrid of the two – creating newsworthy content that gets picked up by journalists but with the goal of securing links as well as coverage.

They both work hand in hand if you want to reach Google’s top spots.

Digital PR Basics

Digital PR experts boost your online presence and shapes you as an industry leader with quality content like reports, articles and infographics. It’s pitched out to journalists or bloggers to gain coverage, brand mentions and links, which speak for your authority and expertise to both Google and your audience.   

But coverage isn’t guaranteed – it’s earned. That’s why it needs to tell a story with newsworthy hooks that make it relevant and appealing. Data-driven stories are highly sought-after because they offer fresh insights relevant to the industry, positioning your experts as thought leaders.

As with brand PR,  building strong relationships with journalists and crafting attention grabbing press releases improves your chances of securing coverage and links. 

SEO Basics

Ranking highly in search engines drives traffic to your website and improves visibility, which is why SEO has become such an important marketing strategy.

It includes on-page optimisation, where content is developed using keywords, quality information and meta descriptions. Technical improvements include site speed, mobile optimisation, and fixing any bugs that might cause Google to downgrade the site.

Link building is also a key aspect of SEO and involves on-page content, with links to product pages. 

Traditionally, SEO teams would try to get links wherever possible, but digital PR focuses on securing links from news publications which typically have a high domain authority (DA). 

It’s essentially the links that bring digital PR and SEO together.

While backlinks make up just one of Google’s ranking factors, they are key to staying ahead of competitors because Google views them highly. In essence, the more high quality links you achieve from external websites, the better your ranking. 

“Google uses your backlink profile to determine the relevancy of your site, so when it comes to links, authenticity and relevancy are key. Google can easily see through manipulative link building tactics that go against its link spam guidelines, which includes ‘buying or selling links for ranking purposes.’ At best, these types of links will be ignored, and at worst you’ll be hit with a penalty and seriously damage your site’s reputation.” 
Jake Cassedy, SEO lead at Tank

How does digital PR affect SEO?

SEO gives you wings, but digital PR lets you fly. 

That means once your website has been optimised from an SEO perspective, it needs quality backlinks gained through digital PR to rise above competitors and reach the top spots. In Google’s eyes, if other high-traffic and reputable websites are linking to your website, you’re more likely to be trustworthy. 

While you can have link building strategies in SEO, digital PR is undefeated at generating authentic backlinks because one piece of hard-hitting content can generate dozens of links from editorial websites. You don’t have to convince journalists or websites to link to the content because it’s genuinely newsworthy and tells a story.  

As long as the story is right, it’s likely to meet Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines. Whereas AI-generated or search engine-first content might be penalised, thought leadership articles, expert commentary or tips-led pieces demonstrate experience and expertise.

The benefits of digital PR in SEO

Digital PR’s goal is to generate backlinks from high-domain websites – often news sites – with relevant and newsworthy content. Over time, these links can help to improve your DA and your site’s position on Google. Ultimately, it means you can get more from your SEO strategy.

Higher domain authority 

Google scores your website from 1-100 to decide your domain authority – the higher you score, the better you will rank in the SERPs. When done well, digital PR campaigns attract links from websites with a high DA essentially providing a reference that you’re trustworthy. 

While DA is not a ranking factor, the score reveals how well your website is performing at meeting the ranking requirements. If it’s over 60, it means you’re doing brilliantly well with regards to meeting Google’s ranking factors, and therefore will typically rank higher in the SERPs. 

Increased organic traffic 

Links and mentions achieved in the media can help to guide traffic back to your website and expose you to a broader audience. When SEO and digital PR are used together, you are better-placed to improve your position on SERPs which is critical as the top three spots get more than two-thirds of clicks

The bonus is that the users visiting your website will be more interested in what you have to offer because of the route they found you, helping to convert leads into sales.

Improved brand awareness

With your brand placed in quality online publications, you can reach a wide or highly-targeted audience. The coverage alone is invaluable, and it will sit on the website for months, or even years, so when potential customers are searching, your name could continue to crop up. 

Higher engagement rates

Being visible online, whether that’s through SERPs or press mentions, should lead to greater engagement because your website will be more accessible and recognisable. Quality content also forms a talking point for people in your industry who will be more likely to engage with your brand if the content is relevant and thought provoking, and shared across your communication channels. 

Using keywords will help to generate more clicks, page views, shares or comments because you’re providing content that answers questions and is interesting. 

Long-term results 

Both SEO and digital PR deliver long term value because the growth achieved is organic. The content created as part of digital PR campaigns could continue to generate links and mentions over the years. A good tactic is to review and update your content each year with fresh data and insights. 

“If you want sustained, long-term organic growth, aim to get links on popular and relevant pages that people will want to read and click on. Naturally, this will happen more if your links are from sites which are relevant to your industry. Links are seen as a vote of trust by Google, so if these come from trustworthy sources, it stands that your site will be trusted too.”
Jake Cassedy, SEO lead at Tank

There’s more to PR & SEO than links

SEO is constantly evolving because search algorithms are becoming more advanced, and user behaviour is ever-changing. Today, search engines prioritise high quality backlinks over multiple low quality ones, so digital PR is highly valued because it can achieve authentic links from reputable websites.

It starts with quality content – research-led, relevant and optimised for keywords and product links. Brand mentions, even with no link, are also valuable because they indirectly prove your trustworthiness and improve your visibility. 

As we’ve seen, they work best when used together. Get in touch with Tank to see how digital PR and SEO can support your business