Lee Odden

Measuring the Value of Search Optimized PR

Measuring SEO & Public RelationsMeasuring the effect of online marketing and PR efforts is essential for both understanding the return on investment but also for feedback that will improve subsequent efforts.  

Measuring the effect of SEO for Public Relations benefits should start with well defined outcomes. To get a good handle on SEO effectiveness, it’s important to match the purpose for the effort with specific metrics.  For example, if improving brand visibility is a goal, then documenting brand mentions in connection with news & PR content at regular intervals can demonstrate the effect of content promotion and link building. 

Online PR metrics and tools often include:

  • News wire service metrics (see screen capture below)
  • Web analytics for landing pages and web site
  • Google and Yahoo alerts
  • Monitor blog search engines (via RSS)
  • Press release landing page conversion tracking
  • Social media monitoring
  • Inbound links
  • Pickups on blogs
  • Pickups on other web sites & online publications
  • News and Standard Search Engine Rankings
  • Conversions: Less likely sales, more likely white paper downloads, webinar signups, newsletter subscriptions, demos, etc

prweb stats

As I’ve mentioned, the specific metrics and tools to use should match the news content being optimized and it’s purpose. For example, a press release that is keyword optimized and announcing a promotional offer of some kind, should have tracking codes added to the links embedded in the release. Those links should point to landing pages designed to convert visitors from the press release to the desired outcome. Ranking is not a worthwhile metric in this case but conversions are.

Capturing various measures and key performance indicators isn’t enough to gain support for optimizing news content in many organizations.  These efforts belong within the Public Relations effort and should emphasize goals consistent with PR objectives. Sometimes it takes a little creative packaging of analytics to help other departments or upstream executives “get” the value of  optimizing PR content for search.

Here are a few tactics to use in order to sell the value of SEO within a PR effort:

  • Show competitor social search visibility vs client/company
  • Show competitor’s optimized news content ranking in various types of search engines where the company/client is not (and probably should be)
  • Research a keyword glossary and run a ranking report on those phrases. Show the lack of search visibility for what search audiences are actually looking for, relevant to the business
  • Run a test of a few news items, whether they be blog posts, press releases or a digital asset like video. Take a benchmark measurement first and then show progress.
  • Set keyword ranking goals for news content and estimate the cost to achieve the same goals with PPC advertising over time. Demonstrate the cost of organic search traffic vs PPC traffic.  

If you can’t get budget approval for an overall search campaign as part of specific PR efforts, then using a competitive example or a small scale test might be enough to demonstrate the value of incorporating SEO with Public Relations.

That wraps up our series of posts on Top Ten SEO Tips for News and PR where you can find an index of all 10 posts as well as the PowerPoint deck that inspired it.

Please share your opinions on the series. Not just the content and whether it’s useful, but the the format of posting a themed series. Did you like the series? Was 10 posts too many?  Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Great stuff Lee! I enjoyed the 10-part series – thanks for sharing these insights.

    There is one component of our social media monitoring toolkit which you might appreciate being brought into this discussion. It essentially measures top 100 search rank with tonality and a number of other key metrics. Its main purpose is to help uncover the likelihood that Web audiences will stumble on a social media incident when typing in a brand name or reputation search terms. More info on it can be found here.


  2. Avatar khmohsin says

    Nice article and worth reading. I will blog about it too 😉

  3. I learn so much SEO from blog post such as yours – I am grateful of your efforts. The 10 part series is worth the time to read. I employ many of the techniques.

  4. I really liked the series of articles. And, because all of the information was neatly organized I could scan through and pick out the topics that I wanted to read, it saved me time, and made me happy.

    Also, I dont think 10 is ENOUGH LOL
    Keep on keeping on, and thanks so much.

  5. SE optimized PR go very well together if done right.Good information.

  6. Nice to know about Measuring the Value of Search Optimized PR, good graphical and technical presentations.

  7. Good stuff. You obviously know what you’re talking about, which can be rare in this industry. Pretty much the whole 10-parter is good.

  8. Great 10 part series. I have really enjoyed reading these posts and have found them very interesting.

  9. Avatar Vishal Agrahari says

    Hi Lee,

    One of my client asked me that SEO guy can turn around media plan also.

    He wants plan for 3 months. As per my experience SEO never have time bound. SEO is a long term process.

    Please i need ur help how SEO can work as a Media Planner. What should i do on page and off page for this?

    Hope u got my question.


  10. Nice article, very helpful.


  11. Enjoyed the article. Very useful information.

  12. Working with a good search engine optimizer is the best to promote your web presence. Also using blogs would benefit your ultimate goal….