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SEO & Digital PR: What It Is And Why It Matters In 2019
The SEO landscape is changing. Google is making it harder for brands to get the ranking and attention they need to drive business growth. But just because it’s getting harder, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
By embracing digital PR, brands can source high-quality links, positive media coverage, and valuable exposure to new customers. Here’s how.
SEO is getting harder
If you’re a business in 2019, you already know what SEO is and its importance for your brand. Search engine optimization is what drives your business up search query results pages, helping drive traffic to your site and getting your brand the exposure it needs.
But the way SEO is done is changing. Recent Google updates have made it harder to increase your website rankings. Websites with a dubious or low-quality backlink profile are penalized as Google seeks to rank only those sites that are authoritative and valuable to its users.
Consequently, SEO is getting harder to do — but it’s not impossible. By embracing the benefits of digital PR, it’s possible for businesses to create an SEO strategy that boosts their ranking and grows their brand well into 2019.
What is digital PR?
Digital PR is, in a nutshell, public relations in a digital age. By reaching out to journalists, bloggers, digital publications, and influencers, brands can build authoritative backlinks and a positive online presence that boosts their SEO.
Digital PR works in a similar way to traditional PR. For this reason, sending press releases to digital publishers offers the following benefits:
It creates high-quality backlinks
Perhaps the most important function of digital PR is backlinks. By reaching out to authoritative sites, you earn positive media coverage with optimized links to your website.
This gives you control over the keywords you link to so Google can accurately rank your business on your own terms.
So for example, let’s say you’re an apparel retailer launching a new summer collection for women. You could reach out to an influential fashion blog and request coverage for your new collection, linking the phrase “summer fashion for women” to your new collection’s internal page.
This gets your collection ranking for the keywords customers will be searching for online.
It generates traffic and leads
Another vital benefit of digital PR is exposure. It’s all very well getting high-quality links, but that doesn’t guarantee traffic. What does boost your web traffic though is positive mentions in industry publications.
Collaborating with a journalist or industry blogger exposes your brand to an entirely new audience. It educates new customers about your business, piquing their interest. This drives traffic and generates leads in a way that feels organic rather than salesy.
It builds trust in your brand
A strong digital PR strategy generates positive press, and this is crucial for your brand. When your customers research your business online, digital PR ensures that they only see positive things.
And partnering with digital publishers to create engaging, high-quality content isn’t just good for your customer relations. It also signals to search engines that you are a credible brand, which in turn boosts your SEO.
How to do digital PR
There are thousands of digital PR agencies available that are dedicated to helping businesses both small and large enhance their public relations online.
But you don’t need to pay top dollar for an effective digital PR strategy. It’s perfectly possible to launch your own outreach strategy in-house by following the tips below.
Reach out to journalists
Journalists are always after an easy story so they can meet their deadlines.
An interesting new brand, a quirky product, an industry event — these all make for great stories that journalists can use, as long as they have a unique angle that makes them readable.
Help A Reporter (HARO) is a quick and easy way to conduct digital PR. HARO connects journalists with a range of sources to provide authoritative quotes for stories. The journo simply puts out an information request, and relevant sources come forward to provide quotes, whilst getting positive coverage and a backlink to their website.
Journalist outreach doesn’t just give you valuable backlinks. It also lets you track with greater accuracy the success of your backlink profile. Use your analytics tool to determine where your converting customers originated from, and what action they took. This helps you identify what kind of PR works best for your brand.
Influencers and journalists are fast becoming interchangeable: they are authorities in their niche, and their content is respected by their audience. However, influencers have a bigger profile than journalists making them a valuable PR opportunity.
Start by identifying influencers within your niche and reach out to them to create some branded content for your business. And you don’t necessarily need to shoot for those with 200K followers either. In fact, those influencers with a follower count between 10-100K are actually better for digital PR.
Known as micro influencers, these individuals command a closely-knit online community that is more engaged with their content than the followers for their more popular counterparts. As a result, micro-influencer partnerships are often more effective at driving qualified leads to brands.
Digital PR starts at home, and your content strategy should reflect this. Regularly publishing interesting or informative content is fine. But for shareable content that strengthens your branding and sets you apart from the crowd, you should embrace thought leadership.
Thought leadership looks beyond your business, and talks about industry issues that affect your customers. You could provide opinion on current news events, or identify consumer problems and create comprehensive advice guides. Host these on your own blog, or reach out to industry publishers for guest post opportunities.
Creating insightful and incisive content that cuts to the core of current issues is what turns a business into a brand. But beyond that, it shows your brand is more than just a commercial enterprise: it’s an authority and publisher within its own right.
Press releases are the lifeblood of digital PR. They concisely communicate important brand information to journalists so they can quickly write an article about it. Journos receive hundreds of press releases a day, so keep yours concise and digestible.
And it doesn’t hurt to take your press releases social either. Most journalists are active on Twitter and other platforms these days, so create press releases that suit different social networks.
For example, Twitter’s limited character restrictions would better suit an external bit.ly link, whilst a visual social network such as Instagram would cater for image-led press releases.
SEO is changing and to stay ahead of the game in 2019, your business needs to change with it. Create an SEO strategy that incorporates digital PR to transform your business into a recognizable brand with a strong reputation. Follow the tips above, and your business will stay ahead of the curve well into 2019 and beyond.
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