In 2021, if your target audience can’t easily find you online, you might as well not exist.
Web presence is vital to business success. However, just having a “good” website isn’t enough to outrank and outpace your competition.
While we don’t know everything Google takes into consideration when ranking websites in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), we do understand that page relevancy, authority, and quality are of key importance. Inbound links are arguably the most important ranking factor, as they indicate referential trust in the content published on a website.
Digital PR involves the creation and promotion of content to relevant digital publications, with the hopes of securing inbound coverage and brand mentions. This type of online PR, when used in a broader digital marketing strategy, can help accomplish two key goals: brand mentions and inbound links.
It’s a little over-simplified to say that inbound links are of the highest importance when establishing digital trust in a website. The web has become a complex ecosystem where trust and relationships are expressed not only through links, but also through unlinked brand mentions. While it’s hard to calculate, there’s increasing evidence to suggest that unlinked brand mentions (secured by digital PR tactics) can positively influence a website’s visibility in search.
At its core, Digital PR aims to get your company’s name and personnel talked about; whether it’s expert quotes in a relevant industry publication, or a cited mention of a piece of content you produced in an article published online. But unlike traditional PR tactics, digital PR places added emphasis on link building.
In doing so, digital PR works hand in hand with SEO efforts by securing and directing credible and authoritative publications and domains to your website via inbound links. I like to say that digital PR and SEO are best friends, different and effective independently, but much more dynamic when they’re together.
Like a good best friend, digital PR is there to make SEO shine. From boosting up a website’s visibility with a robust backlink profile, to directing referral traffic to a specific webpage for additional page views.
Let’s take some time exploring how digital PR can help SEO in each of the aforementioned ways.
Effective PR in the digital age does more than just earn brand mentions. Digital PR campaigns are a great way to earn media coverage online and on social media — because, let’s face it, everyone gets their content online.
Media coverage earned via digital PR outreach tactics has an even greater SEO benefit when it is accompanied by an inbound link. One of the most important metrics we track for each of our clients’ campaigns is the number of linking media mentions earned.
[Click to read more about some of our most successful digital PR campaign examples]
Domain Authority (DA) is a 1-100 point logarithmic scale, created by Moz, which can predict a website’s visibility in search. It’s influenced by a number of factors including the total number of linking root domains to a website and total number of inbound links.
The higher your website’s domain authority, the more likely you are to rank better and appear higher in search engine results.
Top-tier publications like the Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and CNN have DAs in the 90s. Any referral links found on such high-DA websites serve as a sign of trust and reputability. The more inbound links from this tier of media the greater the signals of trust a website receives.
This is why producing digital PR campaigns that earn and secure top-tier media coverage is an excellent way to improve a website’s own domain authority.
Digital PR can take many different forms. Among our favorites is original research designed to be cited and published on high-authority websites.
When content is newsworthy, it’s more likely to be linked to and syndicated. As a result, websites see bolstered backlink profiles, higher DA’s and improved visibility for keywords.
Google typically rewards websites whose backlink profiles grow and expand naturally, whose content is relevant, valuable, and earns high-quality links.
Digital PR can also establish a brand authority. If a brand produces relevant, newsworthy content, or offers authoritative quotes and commentary on certain topics, it’s likely to be cited and referenced in other places. When high DA sites reference your research, employees or brand, as a source of authority, Google takes notice. Between unlinked brand mentions, and inbound referral links, you’re bound to see a boost in visibility.
At the same time, when consumers see your name it boosts brand awareness. More often than not, consumers assign credibility to brands and companies when they see authoritative, and reputable websites and publications referring to them.
Successful content needs to be optimized for keywords. If not, no one will find it. We make sure to leverage SEO best practices to ensure each page we create is optimized for keywords and formatted in a way that Google’s bots can easily understand.
To get the most out of your digital PR coverage, you need to make sure it finds your target audience. To do that, it’s critical that your content be keyword optimized. When a page identifies targeted keywords, and optimizes on-page text and headlines for those words and phrases, it has a much greater chance of being found (and being successful).
Take, for example, our client’s consumer survey about package theft. The research identified the frequency with which Americans shop online, have packages delivered, and subsequently, have those packages stolen.
To assure that journalists and the public could find our content, we asked ourselves the question: How do people search for research and reports about this topic? Most people would search for key phrases like “package theft statistics” and “package theft report,” so we optimized the content accordingly.
The digital PR campaign earned more than 300 media placements with an average domain authority of 64. More than one-quarter of the total placements were earned after active media outreach wrapped up. The page started ranking in positions 1-10 in the SERPs for highly competitive keywords surrounding package theft.
Integrating a keyword strategy to your digital PR campaigns can not only help a wider audience find your content in search, it can help achieve your SEO goals for the website.
It’s also important to keep in mind the location of your audience when targeting a digital PR campaign.
If your business targets a national audience, then earning inbound coverage in the likes of USA Today or Bustle (depending on target demographic) have greater value than a placement from a regional publication like the Miami Times.
However, if the business is locally-focused, then links, mentions and write ups in local newspapers, television and radio stations, blogs, and industry websites carry extra SEO benefits.
While we try to secure as many high-authority links across a mixture of trustworthy national and local news outlets, we understand the potency of matching your client’s most pressing SEO goals when promoting a campaign.
Another way digital PR can help SEO is through increased website traffic.
We know that successful digital PR campaigns earn a lot of inbound links from trustworthy websites. We know that inbound links from reputable sites are an excellent indicator to Google’s bots that your website is also trustworthy.
We also know that when Google starts evaluating your site favorably, your rankings appear higher in search engine results. Greater visibility in search engine results ultimately leads to increased traffic to your website.
See, the chain is complete!
Don’t believe us? The proof is in the pudding: After a series of digital PR campaigns for a marketing research client, they saw a 103% increase in organic traffic, year-over-year, and a 121% increase in website impressions. In this case, the digital PR campaigns were accompanied by technical on-site work, but the two strategies, when employed together, dramatically amplified the client’s results.
At the end of the day, digital PR is only here to help your SEO. By targeting inbound media coverage and linking brand mentions, you’re inevitably going to improve your website’s digital visibility.
Remember to keep the two strategies in mind to make sure you’re maximizing your results. Lest we forget, Google’s John Mueller called digital PR “just as important as tech[nical] SEO” earlier this year.