When social media dawned on the digital landscape as a means to market companies across the globe, the savvier PR agencies jumped on the bandwagon to incorporate it as a part of their strategies. Gurus were appointed and marketers studied ways to offer a set of niche skills to the public. As traditional PR has evolved into digitally based PR, it has grown to accommodate social media as a substantial part of the overall service offering.
Looking at the way people search, learn and buy online, it would make sense that PR also become wholly involved in the SEO landscape, but strangely enough, this hasn't come to pass on a widespread scale. Yes, there are those PR agencies - perhaps the savviest of savvier bunch - that have adopted SEO as a stalwart member of their marketing crew, but generally speaking it's not as widely accepted as social media or other more traditionally based methods of marketing.
PR and SEO Combined
There's a lot to be said about the value of PR with regards to SEO, especially with the shift towards content marketing and offering rich user experiences for the public. In a content driven environment, PR is the newsworthy information that has the opportunity to generate an informative, rewarding and shareable experience to users that also generates authorative links. From this perspective, SEOs are more than willing to welcome PR into their circle of friends, tying it in with on-page optimization and SEO best practice. But the feeling's not mutual from the PR side.
The truth is that if PR agencies don't start adopting SEO as a part of their repertoire, they could face an untimely death.
Chris Lee, Managing Director for Planet Content Ltd ran a poll with PR professionals asking them where they thought the primary value of SEO came from. While it's clear that the majority of them know it's an important facet of their marketing efforts, only 42% of them "...could accurately identify the most important signal in Google's algorithm: inbound links from diverse and authoritative sites."
The Opportunity Is There
PR professionals already have a lot of the tools they need in adopting SEO at their disposal, and the rest can easily be learnt.
- Quality links from authorative sites
- Social media input
- On-page optimization
- Gripping content - imagery, videos etc
- URL optimization
- Brand affinity
Whatever else PR agencies need to understand from an SEO perspective is easy to manage or coach, plus they'd also be able to offer thorough analysis and reporting to their clients based on tangible SEO data that proves what they're doing is worthwhile. This insight could also dictate how future campaigns are managed or conceptualized. So what's not to like?
One thing that all SEOs understand is that your job is never done and a lot of revenue can be claimed from ongoing organic SEO in order to maintain rankings. While SEOs skill up on PR methodology in line with Google algorithm specifications, PR professionals need to start doing the same before they're completely replaced in the market. It won't take long for SEOs to learn PR on the job, likewise for PR professionals... but they need to get in on the game before it's too late! It wouldn't take a lot for PR agencies to learn the ropes and consulting services are offered from IP addresses all over the globe for those who don't want to get their hands dirty. For those who do, there are pages of search engine results pages waiting to be filled with quality content from authorative PR agencies. You just need to start.
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