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Interdependent or Mutually Exclusive? The Beneficial Connection Between Digital PR and SEO

Date published: September 06, 2023
Last updated: March 7, 2024

Sometimes marketing tactics are closely related and work in tandem. At other times, they’re separate yet complementary, working in parallel with one another toward a common goal. The relationship between digital PR (public relations) and SEO (search engine optimization) falls into the latter category.

While they are two independent growth marketing tactics, they are both crucial pillars within a strong growth marketing strategy. They work together to boost a company’s presence, reach potential customers, and help them own their industry.

Here are a few of the ways that digital PR and SEO both directly and indirectly work together to boost a brand.

The Technical Benefits of Digital PR and SEO Synergy

The primary goal of a digital PR is straightforward. Unlike traditional PR tactics, digital public relations seeks to naturally connect online audiences with a brand’s products and services through journalists and publications. This is done by building brand awareness and establishing trust through organic “earned mentions” on third-party sites.

This could be a direct brand mention of a company in an industry publication. It could also be a guest contribution by a company leader on a major site like Forbes, Inc., or Entrepreneur. Digital PR can even consist of a simple press release announcing a new development or another newsworthy piece of information about a brand.

These earned media incidents are often connected to your brand via a backlink to your site — something that is a critical part of your SEO strategy. Your backlink profile is the collection of hyperlinks across the web that point to your quality content. This is important for search engines like Google, which see backlinks as a “vote of confidence” for your online branding. They boost your digital marketing — specifically enhancing your SEO in the process.

Backlinks from digital PR send the message that you have an authoritative website that is worth referencing. This enhances your website’s authority, which directly affects how high your content will rank on SERPS.

Signaling Credibility Across the Web

At times, digital PR campaign consists of a brand receiving a third-party mention without a link. Even when that is the case, the earned media mentions signal to Google that people are talking about your company online. As the search engine’s algorithms have become more sophisticated, it’s become possible for non-linked mentions to also have an indirect effect on SEO, as well.

Google refers to digital PR mentions as “implied links” and describes them (via Search Engine Land) by saying, “An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource.”

To be clear, this isn’t the same as a backlink, which is a direct line back to a website. Even so, an implied link sends a strong signal to Google. On a basic level, it tells the search engine that your brand is important enough to warrant a mention on a third-party site.

It even goes further, too. An implied link also clues Google in as to what kind of content, industry, and audience your brand serves.

Supporting Content Marketing: The Trifecta

Digital PR and SEO don’t work together in a vacuum. They are also two key components of what the team at Relevance refers to as the “Three Pillars of Growth Strategy:”

  • Digital PR uses organic earned media mentions to build credibility, brand authority, and trust with consumers.
  • SEO uses link building, keywords, and technical SEO to enhance a brand’s visibility across the web and boost your domain authority.
  • Content marketing strategy uses thoughtful, customer-centric content creation to establish authority with a target audience, boost your PR campaign, and boost SEO efforts.

All three of these pillars are powerful digital marketing tools on their own. When used in concert together, they can unleash long-term, sustainable growth for a company.

Both digital PR and SEO involve the creation of and linking to content. Content strategy can also influence these tactics in the opposite direction. It provides a canvas for SEO to take place and the locations to acquire high quality links for your digital PR campaign to link to.

Growth marketers deploy all three pillars in strategic ways to enhance a brand’s scaling efforts. They use tools like Google Analytics to monitor the effectiveness of each initiative, as well. This confirms that the tactics are supporting one another and creating synergistic results.

Using Digital PR and SEO Together

A digital PR is a powerful way to spread brand awareness and build trust with consumers. SEO ensures that your organic site traffic continues to remain steady and even grow over time. Both tools are effective on their own — but you should never settle for using them individually. In tandem, they can boost your PR efforts and your SEO ranking. Consider hiring a firm that specializes in SEO and digital PR to help you along the way. They could provide helpful insight to help your strategy soar.

By combining your SEO strategy and digital PR strategy (and adding some solid content marketing into the mix), you can create potent, symbiotic marketing initiatives that optimize the impact of each tactic over time.

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