SEO and PR

an Unrequited Love?

We were on a ‘synch-up’ call with a client’s marketing agency the other day; we were keen to kick off social media integration to the PR programme and they are tasked with enhancing SEO on the client’s new web site.

In most organisations there’s no shortage of people with the right skills, so the barriers to achieving this are largely political. It’s really just a matter of getting them to work well together.

At one point, one of the marketing agency consultants remarked that he’d never met PR people who knew so much about SEO. Now, while it’s always nice to receive a such a compliment..especially in front of a client…(!) it did leave me wondering if there really is a widespread lack of understanding of SEO by PRs, and vice versa.

Where are the boundaries? Perhaps it’s something along the lines of SEO aiming to ensure that the brand’s website ranks well in search engine results for relevant search terms.

PR on the other hand aims to ensure the brand has a positive reputation amongst its audiences.

The Blog Battle

Blogs are a potential area of conflict. A corporate blog provides an ideal opportunity to post lots of keyword-rich copy on the company website to attract the attention of search engines. PR on the other hand will want to use it to publish thought leadership pieces and news announcements.

I say the two objectives don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If the SEO team is willing to provide key phrase insights, PR can make subtle use of them.

Different copywriting styles

Content generation can be a battleground too. SEO practice is based around reach and volume whereas the PR content should be more focused on careful messaging and quality.

The the press release for example. The first aim of a press release is to ensure the story gets picked up by as many journalists as possible; the release is designed to catch their attention. When the PR writes press releases, their first audience is the journalist… not the client and not the search engines (although there’s no reason why the latter shouldn’t be a secondary audience).

Get your SEO and PR people working in synch, the results can be wonderful; I’ve seen it happen.

In most organisations there’s no shortage of people with the right skills, so the barriers to achieving this are largely political. It’s really just a matter of getting them to work well together.



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