Lee Odden

7 Benefits of Partnering SEO & PR

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Online PR, SEO

There are many intersections between earned media and organic search engine rankings, so it makes sense that they would work well together. The PR industry is in an interesting situation right now with so much of the traditional media world moving to digital media.  Whether they admit it or not, journalists rely on PR professionals for a pipeline of stories and information. When journalists lose their jobs, media relations professionals lose an essential reason for being in business.

Even if PR departments and organizations are digitally savvy, there are a good number of reasons (7 in fact) to incorporate search engine optimization into their processes:

Reach Journalists where they’re looking – There are many formal studies as well as our own outreach to the media that have illustrated the changing behavior of journalists, analysts and reporters to use search to do their job of research and reporting the news.  Optimizing news content and digital assets presents a significant opportunity to “be” where journalists are looking.

Search extends reach of PR & communications – The content produced by Public Relations departments is of value to many audiences outside of the media.  Employees, potential employees, investors, partners, customers and even prospective customers are influenced by news content.  Whether it’s a press release or an announcement through video, optimizing what can be searched extends the reach of PR and communications efforts far beyond traditional news distribution channels.

Increase unsolicited media placements – TopRank Online Marketing and many other web sites that optimize and promote news content receive unsolicited mentions from industry news sites, blogs, online and offline publications. Optimizing news content for discovery by search can have an amplifying effect on traditional media relations outreach efforts. When a journalist receives a compelling pitch via email, the natural instinct is to go to Google an search the topic. When your content shows prominently in the search results it can be a one-two punch to capture interest and show credibility.

Bypass media channels: direct to consumer – Increasing numbers of companies are taking to heart, the notion of “brand as publisher” and creating their own content strategies for news. Large companies have owned TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and other publishing channels for as long as they have existed. Why should online media be any different? Optimized content can be searched for and found by anyone: Including consumers or companies researching products and services to buy.

Optimized PR facilitates marketing goals – News content is often syndicated and stories re-published. When links are included, they can serve as a link building effort that directly affects marketing objectives through direct traffic to the company site and increase search visibility due to the influence of links.

Protect your brand & online reputation – As many brands have discovered, it takes just a few upset bloggers with time on their hands and savvy connections to bring unwanted attention to negative and dissenting views.  Companies that publish content can ensure some of that content is optimized for brand terms, products, company names and any other brand asset they wish to protect in the search results.

For the most part, one domain name can only display up to 2 search results for a single query. That means content that lives outside of the main corporate web site, such as press releases hosted indefinitely by wire services like PRWeb, can serve to occupy additional search results for your brand name.  Don’t wait until someone creates a yourbrandsucks.com web site that ranks #1 for your brand name to start working on your search results reputation. Be proactive about optimizing content on and especially, off the corporate web site for brand names.

Demonstrate more value from PR & Communications – As budgets are cut in Marketing and Public Relations departments, PR needs to do a much better job of showing value. Despite giving SEO workshops and seminars for PR professionals for hundreds of Media Relations, Communications and PR practitioners over the past 3-4 years, most PR firms don’t incorporate SEO.

Those that do, can demonstrate more effective Pull PR results, but can also demonstrate the direct and indirect effect on marketing, customer service, recruiting and investor relations by the search traffic earned through optimized news content.

I’ll be discussing these and many other aspects of how companies can enhance their marketing efforts through optimized Public Relations at the Vocus User’s Conference in Washington D.C. today. Actually, I’ll be attending the event today to see Brian Solis and many others. I will be giving my presentation on Friday morning, right after David Meerman Scott does one of his famous keynotes.

At the same time, TopRank’s Adam Singer is in Toronto, for the Search Engine Strategies conference. He’s presenting on a similar topic that also includes a substantial consideration of social media along with search engine optimization and digital PR.

If you’re attending either event, please be sure to connect with Adam or I afterwards.  If you’re liveblogging either event and these sessions in particular, be sure to let us know so we can link to your post in our roundup.

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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. I agree and as social media overtakes search the news will no longer find us, we (and the journalists) will be “found” by the news through search, social media WOM and RSS.

    Agree completely that many PRs just focus on media relations and discount search.

    Great post thanks.

    • I do agree that more news will “find us” but search will always be a component of discovery. In fact, with so much content being published and distributed via social channels, search may play an even more substantial part than it has in the past for news discovery and certainly research.

      • I do totally agree that (in particular for bloggers, journalists and 'citizen journalists) search for news is very important, especially when we consider the sheer volume of social media information out there.

        Thanks again.

  2. Great article. Thanks for the insight.

  3. Great tips. SEO is your behind the scenes activity that is laying the foundation for your blog or business.. when you add the PR into the mix, you are now hitting them face to face putting a personal touch to your blog/business.. you need both to have great success.

  4. SEO is PR – they are one of the same in my opinion, gradually companies are realising the benefits of SEO and if you can team this with a good PR campaign you have an unstoppable machine!

    Magician Bournemouth

  5. Good Post

    I agree with all of your comments. SEO is a combination of online and offline PR. We are pitching something to Search Engines and we are also trying to get the attention of end users.

    The one thing most people miss is – Good Pr gives someone i.e., journalists something they are already looking for – an angle for a story. Good SEO needs to provide the same thing to end users – something they are looking for.

    Thanks again…

  6. The most important thing to prevent negative PR or reviews on your services or brands is to create an outstanding, positively good product or service in the first place. If your brand can’t generate at least 80% of positive reviews in totality, then perhaps your product is not good enough to compete in the market place.

  7. I think SEO is part of PR as well because it helps you gain exposure on major authority websites

  8. Avatar Tom Ellis says

    For quite some time now, I have helped my largest client by helping him create his own content and getting it directly to the people he wants to reach in his target market, thus circumventing the news media. We also have been using SEO of his content for quite some time. We’ve had success translating these efforts into new business for my client. Now we have a new challenge. Content that his target market used to happily consume is no longer being read, as best as we can tell. Virtually no one is responding. I don’t think our content or message is the problem. We would use social media as a new tool but we know that the people he needs to reach are not even remotely interested in Facebook, Twitter, etc. We have not given up on content, going to the media, going around the media, SEO, etc. But we are stumped.

  9. Avatar dual sim phones says

    When your content shows prominently in the search results it can be a one-two punch to capture interest and show credibility.

  10. NyC POst .. i Agree … PR improve the traffic

  11. Hi Lee. It was so great to see your presentation at the Vocus Users Conference! My head is still spinning. I was live blogging most of the conference, but I didn't during your presentation because I wanted to go old school and take notes. So all I have out there are a few tweets.

    However I did capture your entire presentation on video and I wrote up a little post to go with it (the first 10 minutes) if you wanted to include it in your round-up. http://bit.ly/aoSzZ8

    Great meeting you again. Take care!

    Amanda Miller Littlejohn
    Mopwater PR + Media Notes
    Washington, DC

  12. I agree that SEO is a great way to give your PR better mileage. As a marketer, creating good content now means addressing the needs of 3 audiences: your customer, the “media”, and the search engines. I believe that if you start with your customer in mind, and then address “style” guidelines for media and search engines, your content will have a greater impact and a longer lifespan.

    • You are absolutely right Clavoie.Very well said.If we want an impressive site then we have to keep customer,media and the search engines in our mind.We would definitely get a better result as a good PR.I think we need not to think about the other ones except customer because if we get the customer's need the other things will automatically happen.

  13. Does anyone have a list of some good free PR sites, whose releases get ranked?

  14. Incorporating SEO is definitely a good avenue to extend one's PR efforts. PR is only truly successful when the message has reached the public to its max potential. For companies that do not have the means to extend beyond free PR sites, SEO can enhance the PR and marketing efforts much greater than the placement of the spontaneous press release here and there.


  15. You are absolutely right Clavoie.Very well said.If we want an impressive site then we have to keep customer,media and the search engines in our mind.We would definitely get a better result as a good PR.I think we need not to think about the other ones except customer because if we get the customer's need the other things will automatically happen.

  16. Avatar Create a Website says

    Very well said. I agree with all of your comments. You need good SEO and PR to have great success.