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Anna Lebedeva

Why PR is the New Link Building

Anna Lebedeva
Why PR is the New Link Building

Google’s becoming smarter every day, isn’t it?

For example, the search engine gets better and better at detecting unnatural link building or evaluating the authority of a linking site. Not to mention that its algorithm can already assess a content’s usefulness or a brand’s strength at a snap.

And as a result, the bar for the quality of the content and links you need to rank goes up all the time.

Luckily, there’s a way to create engaging content that offers valuable insight to your audience and build links from authority sites at the same time. How? By aligning your SEO efforts with PR.

We discussed this topic at our recent Twitter chat, and its recap can give your idea on combining SEO and PR. And in this post, I’ll give some actionable advice on how to boost your SEO with PR activities.

Why PR is One of the Best Link Building Strategies Today

I’m sure you’ll agree: Nothing beats earned links. As Google and other search engines get better at detecting unnatural links, it’s clear that the best way to build them is to earn links organically.

But here’s the problem, relying solely on your content to attract links is a surefire way to get left behind in SERPs.

Enter PR

The role of the PR department is to expand the company’s reach, build up the brand and gain publicity. And most of the time, they do it by pitching stories to the media with the aim to build brand awareness but also, earn referral traffic to the site.

In other words, what PR folks are doing is simply, building links… probably without even knowing it.

But what’s more important, they’re quite good at it at that.

And so, by emulating what PR guys do in your work, you can produce better quality content and earn powerful links from highly reputable sources. And here are a couple of tips how to achieve it.

How to Use PR Strategies for Link Building?

Create Content Based on Existing Insights

Fact: When you’re focusing on the PR rather than link building, you aim not to just build links. You want to raise brand awareness and drive referral traffic to the site.

And the best way to achieve it is by producing content based on data about a specific audience.

Set up Google Alerts for keywords, terms and brands relating to your industry to discover trending topics. Similarly, use BuzzSumo to keep track of topics your audience focuses on at the moment.

Finally, conduct keyword research with the aim to gain insight into your audience problems and issues, rather than just discover the best keywords to attract customers to the site.

Use Content Calendars to Plan Your Activities

In SEO, you often work with just a couple of content pieces at a time. For example, you could be focusing on a single large piece of link worthy content. And until that’s done, you rarely start creating another asset.

PR needs to think of, plan and launch tons of content in advance given the amount of articles they produce!

And to manage it all, they use content calendars that track topic, keywords, content production and maintain a good overview of how this aligns with the company’s objectives.

Develop Media Relations

You know, many SEO confuse guest blogging with PR. But just like the former focused on placing as many articles on as many blogs as quickly as possible, the latter aims to develop strong media relations that could convert into high-quality content placement opportunities.

To achieve this objective, you need to connect with and then, build relations with bloggers, journalists, or publishers with great influence and authority among your target audience.

And that’s the role of PR department that invests time in building relations with the media to gain brand coverage.

Use Social Media to Support Your SEO Strategies

Social media is one of the strongest PR tools today, this is the fact.

Twitter or Facebook allow brands to connect with and introduce themselves to industry influencers and build professional relationships with them.

But social media could also help your SEO efforts. You could use it to attract shares and clicks to your content. Use tools like Buffer to offer relevant content to the right audience at the right time and Mention to monitor the web and respond to conversations about your brand.

Distribute Your Content to Generate Links

You shouldn’t be sharing content on social media just to attract clicks. You should also encourage the audience to share your content, mention it to their contacts, comment on it or respond in any other way and use other ways to spread it across the web.

Why? Because all this online engagement is bound to generate new and natural links for your brand.

Finally, Optimize Press Releases for SEO

Launching press releases with a sole aim to build links is a surefire recipe for a disaster. However, a good press release that gets picked up by a journalist offers an incredible opportunity to gain strong media coverage and links in turn.

For that to happen, you might need to aid the PR department by either training them in how to optimize the press release to also bring the SEO benefit or cooperate with them in every press release they issue to ensure consistency.

How to Measure Your PR Efforts?

I’m sure you already know how to measure the success of your SEO efforts. And here are a couple of metrics you’ll need to monitor when including PR strategies into your strategies.

  • No. of Links to the Site. This metric will help you assess if your PR strategies result in any additional links to the site and at what pace.
  • Engagement. Keep an eye on comments, also to content you published on other sites, to measure the sentiment towards your content.
  • Sentiment. You also need to establish what your audience thinks about your content. For that, monitor social shares, likes, tweets and online brand mentions.

Final Word

Google’s becoming smarter at detecting unnatural links and assessing content’s quality. And as a result, the bar for the quality of the content and links you need to rank goes up all the time. Luckily, by incorporating PR strategies into your work, you can produce more engaging content and gain links from highly authoritative sites.

Anna Lebedeva is the PR manager at SEMrush. She has a passion for digital marketing, new technologies and media. She’s worked with brands in IT, fashion, packaging, hotel and transportation industries and is now actively spreading the word about SEMrush around the world.

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