SEO or PR?: Understanding Their Relationship

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SEO and PR are two things that go very well together but cannot substitute for each other. I liken the process of getting new exposure and leads to your company – which is typically the main benefit of both SEO and PR – to a weight lifting competition. The competition may seem like it’s all about strength, but in fact, it’s also about stamina, discipline, focus, and a bit of creativity. Hiring an effective PR firm is like mastering the strength component of a weight lifting competition: seemingly the direct route to winning, but in reality, not enough. Doing effective SEO is like mastering all the components of the competition, allowing you to win. Let me explain.

SEO comes down to creating thought-leading content and generating inbound links on a website with clean code and lots of specific pages. A good SEO company will do all of that. And usually, the toughest part for them is acquiring links from other websites. That’s because it’s difficult to convince other webmasters that your site is worthy of linking to. Pretty much the only way to get links that Google has deemed acceptable in 2015 is to create interesting content and pitch that content to other webmasters in a charismatic way. As it happens, that is exactly what PR firms do.

Although PR firms technically achieve “hits” rather than links – which could mean a write-up in a physical newspaper or an interview on a radio show – many of the hits PR firms achieve nowadays are in the form of links. After all, most of the best press today is online, and the few prominent print publications that remain, such as the New York Times, have an online version of their paper. For that reason, PR can be a valuable source of new links.

But that is precisely why I say that good PR firms are like the strength component in a weight lifting competition. They undeniably do something that is very, very beneficial to a company, but by themselves they will not move the needle for your business. To get the benefits that most people are seeking from a PR firm – a higher profile in their industry, new business leads, partnerships, and talent attraction – you need more than just PR. You need a well-written website with attention to conversion optimization, thought leadership content, keyword-targeted landing pages for each service you provide, a clean bill of  health with Google, and intelligent testing and analytics. A good SEO company will provide all of the aforementioned.

In the weight lifting competition that is business, it is vital to understand the role of every vendor you work with so that they can complement each other well. That way everyone wins.

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