Is online PR simply SEO in disguise?
Initially, it may be hard to decipher any real difference between online PR and SEO.
Both online PR and SEO seek to build up the profile of an organisation by increasing its authority with key audiences. Both disciplines rely on consistently producing and distributing relevant, high-quality content that appeals to a specific target audience.
While the success of both online PR and SEO activity cannot be guaranteed, if done well, the results can be spectacular.
There are, however, some key differences between online PR and SEO that need to be understood before placing both of these disciplines in the same box and missing the jewel that lies therein.
Online PR IS creative and extrovert.
Great PR is successful PR; it builds a company’s reputation through positive media coverage and opens the door to advantages that traditional forms of promotion cannot offer.
If successful, the message is broadcast loudly to thousands of journalists, readers, bloggers and potential customers; continuing to deliver value for months, or even years, after it has been distributed, indexed in search engines and archived on countless websites.
Online PR IS NOT analytical or technical. Generally speaking, many PR representatives may not even be aware of the inbound links that are generated as a result of their hard work; they lack the skills and knowledge to understand why this is so important. However, if optimised at this point, online PR can help to deliver better search engine rankings and improved brand awareness.
SEO IS analytical and technical. A good SEO campaign involves quality link building, in-depth keyword research, fresh and high-quality content, relevant page headings, meta tags, social media optimisation and similar items.
SEO is all-encompassing. SEO success is more than technical optimisation, and, as off-site optimisation becomes more and more important, success here depends on quality content relevant to the user’s search query being picked up and distributed by other websites.
This is where online PR skills come in.
So what does all this mean?
Essentially, online PR and SEO are natural bedfellows, complementing each other.
The online success of any PR or SEO campaign is based on both disciplines talking to each other, understanding each other, and filling the gap that each one leaves behind.
You build a successful online campaign as a result of your PR team sending press releases to relevant websites and not news syndication websites, ensuring that their hard work does not fall foul of Google’s web quality guidelines. As a result of this, your news stories remain online months after the event. The links the story created not only brought people to your business but also boosted your search engine traffic.
The online story spreads, and the results are more and more impressive. With the most important part of optimisation occurring off the page at this point, many external sites are linking back to yours and playing a vital role in telling Google and other search engines how important your site really is, naturally and without manipulation.
At this point your online PR team and SEO team come together to build content around this growing success; conducting keyword research, optimising social media, etc, and subsequently building even more awareness.
Online PR v SEO – what do you think now?
A successful web presence involves a perfect synergy between all disciplines, and online PR and SEO is no exception.
Before you miss the enormous potential and hidden value in this relationship, sit your PR and SEO team down together, encourage them to understand exactly what each other does, and get them to fall in love!
The bottom line is that they both go hand in hand, yet they are definitely not the same, and by not realising the outstanding benefits that good PR and SEO can bring, companies worldwide are missing out.
Ultimately, the future success of your business online can, in part, depend on how well you understand this.
Are you giving away lots of free stuff and committed to building trust over the long-term? Have you got an easy way of subscribing visitors to your free giveaways?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to all of the above, you also need to think about keeping your site working at optimum efficiency; i.e., statistically understanding how visitors interact with your site. For this, Google Analytics is the ideal tool as it provides comprehensive information and statistics about the traffic arriving at your site.
For example, with the ‘overview’ tool, you can see how visitors are using your website. This includes the number of visits, number of page views, unique users and bounce rates, along with a wide range of other features.
The map overlay facility allows you to see a geographical representation of your site’s visitors, helping you understand where in the world they are coming from. This data can help you to tailor your site to suit a particular geographical region. When you do this, visitors will feel more special because it seems like your site has been made just for them.
In addition, language data can help you identify the most common languages of those visiting your site. If you receive lots of foreign visitors, you may want to create different language settings. Your visitors will appreciate this feature to help make their visit easier, and hopefully, they will want to return.
Visitor trending and visitor loyalty within Google Analytics will provide you with more in-depth information, helping you to view what days of the week, time of the month, what month of the year, visitors are most likely to use your site.
You can also view, for example, how many people are coming to your blog but not bothering to subscribe. Perhaps play around with the subscription CTAs, or add extra content. Try split-testing. You will never know what your visitors are doing unless you track the data.
Using Google Analytics visitor data in conjunction with great website design, robust development and loads of free content, topped off with lovely dollops of honesty, transparency, authenticity and integrity will all serve to build visitor loyalty, ensuring that your website is the one that people come to again and again, because they trust that you would never be the one to shoot Bambi’s mom.
Now that’s priceless.