In 2024, integrating Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) with Public Relations (PR) strategies is no longer just an option that can put you ahead of your rivals, it’s increasingly a necessity.

Combining the technical knowhow of SEO with the creative storytelling of PR can significantly enhance a brand’s visibility and authority. This ensures that your messages not only reach your target audience but also resonate and remain accessible over time, drastically increasing the ROI of your marketing spend.

This blog looks at how you can integrate some accessible SEO techniques into your current PR strategies whilst barely breaking stride.


What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the practice of optimising websites and content to improve their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). By employing strategies such as keyword targeting, content enhancement, robust tracking, and link building, SEO helps your site rank higher for relevant searches, attracting more sustainable organic traffic.


The Intersection of SEO and PR

As mentioned, SEO and PR, once considered two separate disciplines, now increasingly work hand in hand. While PR focuses on the important work of crafting compelling stories and managing brand reputation through media outreach, SEO provides the technical framework to amplify these efforts digitally. Together, they create a more cohesive strategy that extends the lifecycle and visibility of PR content across online platforms.


Understanding SEO’s Role in PR: Actionable Strategies

Here’s how SEO can be systematically integrated into PR to enhance the effectiveness and longevity of your campaigns:

Strategic Keyword Integration:

  • Research: Begin by identifying keywords that align with your PR campaign themes and the interests of your target audience. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or Moz for this purpose.
  • Application: Integrate these keywords into your PR content, including press releases, feature articles, and company announcements. Ensure that keywords are used naturally and strategically, especially in titles, subtitles, and the opening paragraphs to optimize visibility without compromising the narrative’s flow.

Ensure You Keep An Eye On SEO Best Practices:

  • Content Structure: When uploading your content to the site, use optimal structure to facilitate easy reading and navigation. Use headings hierarchically (H1, H2, H3) to organize the content, incorporating keywords where relevant.
  • Meta Elements: Craft compelling meta titles and descriptions with keywords for each PR release. This not only boosts SEO but also click-through rates from search engines.
  • Accessibility and UX: Ensure that your website and its PR content are mobile-friendly, load quickly, and offer an intuitive user interface, as these factors are crucial for organic search success.

Continuous Monitoring of Performance Metrics:

  • Set up tracking: Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track how your PR content performs in terms of search visibility, user engagement, and traffic sources.
  • Review, re-review and adapt: Regularly review the performance indicators like page views, the average time on page, exit rates, and conversions from PR-related pages. Use this data to learn more about your audience in order to refine your SEO tactics and PR content for future campaigns.


The Power of Search Visibility in PR

When it comes to search engines, visibility is synonymous with discoverability. SEO can dramatically enhance the visibility of PR content, making it more likely to be found and engaged with by the intended audience. Here’s how to maximise visibility through SEO:

Ensuring Content Longevity:

  • Evergreen Content: Develop evergreen content within your PR efforts that remains relevant and valuable over time, boosting its value for money. This includes how-to guides, insightful articles, or educational content related to your industry.
  • Regular Updates: Periodically update your PR content to keep it current with fresh data, quotes, or linked resources, which can help maintain or improve its search rankings.

Leveraging Rich Media:

  • Multimedia Integration: Enhance your PR content with images, videos, and infographics that are SEO optimized. Use descriptive, keyword-rich file names and alt text for images.
  • Video SEO: For video content, optimise video titles, descriptions, and tags with relevant keywords. Consider hosting videos both on your website and on platforms like YouTube to increase reach.

Building Online Authority:

  • Backlink Acquisition: Use your high-quality PR content to earn backlinks from reputable sites. Each backlink serves as a vote of confidence from other websites, boosting your site’s authority and SEO.
  • Social Media Engagement: Promote your PR content on social media to drive engagement. Social signals are not direct ranking factors for SEO, but they contribute to broader dissemination and indirect SEO benefits through increased visibility and potential backlinks.

By focusing on these in-depth strategies, SEO can transform the reach and efficacy of your PR efforts, ensuring that your content not only reaches its audience but also inspires engagement and remains influential over time. 


Step-by-Step Guide to Keyword Research for PR Content

Effective keyword research is fundamental to aligning your PR content with what your audience is actively searching for online. This involves understanding not just what your audience is interested in, but how they seek out information related to those interests. Here’s a step-by-step approach to conducting keyword research specifically tailored for digital PR campaigns:

Step 1: Define Campaign Objectives: 

Before diving into keyword research head first (we know, it’s fun), clearly define what your PR campaign aims to achieve. Are you launching a new product, managing a crisis, or boosting brand awareness? Your objectives will guide your keyword strategy.

Step 2: Understand Your Audience: 

Again, before getting too deep into the research, develop a clear profile of your target audience. What are their interests, concerns, and typical online search behaviors? Tools like Google Analytics can provide insights into the demographics and interests of your existing audience, so you can choose to meet them in the middle, or potentially pivot away. Knowing this beforehand will be invaluable.

Step 3: Use Keyword Research Tools:

There are a range of keyword research tools you could use to achieve this:

  • Google Keyword Planner: Start with Google Keyword Planner to find keywords related to your PR topics. It offers insights into search volumes and competition levels, helping you gauge the popularity and competitiveness of potential keywords.
  • SEMrush: Use SEMrush to conduct a deeper analysis of keyword trends, keyword variations, and the SEO strategies of competitors. This can reveal untapped opportunities within your niche.
  • Ahrefs: Ahrefs is valuable for examining the keyword profiles of competing websites and finding the keywords they rank for, which can inspire your keyword choices and help spot gaps in the market.

Step 4: Brainstorm Keyword Ideas: 

Based on your initial research, brainstorm a list of potential keywords. Think about various combinations and forms of your main keywords, including long-tail keywords which are searched for by less people, but are also less competitive and more targeted, boosting your chances of ranking higher whilst also boosting the chances for the user to convert.

For example, ‘red convertible 1970s second hand car’ has less than 10% of the search volume of ‘second hand car’, but someone searching for it clearly has a better idea of what they want, are further down the sales funnel, and are therefore more likely to part with their cash.

Step 5: Evaluate and Select Keywords:

You can’t rank for every single keyword with one piece of content, so next, you’ll want to whittle down your keyword research in order to find the best ones to optimise towards. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Relevance: Ensure the keywords are highly relevant to your PR content. Irrelevant keywords may attract the wrong audience, diluting the impact of your campaign.
  • Search Volume: Look for keywords with sufficient search volume to ensure visibility.
  • Competition: Consider keyword difficulty and competition. Sometimes, it’s more strategic to target less competitive keywords to achieve higher rankings.

Step 6: Group and Prioritise Keywords: 

Last but not least, group your keywords by themes related to your core PR messages. Prioritize the keywords based on their importance to your campaign goals and their likelihood of boosting your organic traffic. 

For example, smaller sites may want to pick up early wins by optimising for longer-tail keywords, whilst larger players may want to dominate the big searches.


Aligning Keywords with PR Messages

Integrating keywords into your PR content is both an art and a science. The goal is to enhance your content’s SEO potential without compromising its message or readability. So, think about the following:

  • Strategic Placement: Place keywords strategically within your content. Key positions include titles and subtitles, where you’ll want to put keywords to signal the content’s relevance to search engines.You may also want to incorporate them into the first paragraph and throughout the body, but don’t stuff them in! (more on that later).
  • Use Keywords Contextually: Rather than just inserting keywords, use them in context. Build sentences and narratives around your keywords so they enhance the content rather than seem out of place.
  • Balance Keyword Density: Avoid keyword stuffing. A natural use of keywords, where they naturally fit within the narrative, is more effective and avoids penalties from search engines for over-optimization.
  • Semantic Variations: Use synonyms and related terms to enrich your content and avoid over-repetition of the same phrases. This not only improves readability but also helps your content rank for a broader range of search queries.
  • Monitor and Adjust: After publishing your PR content, monitor how it performs in terms of SEO and engagement. If certain keywords or phrases are not performing as expected, consider revising the content to better target more effective keywords.


Measuring SEO Success in PR Campaigns

So, you know the theory, but how do you know if these techniques are working in practice? 

Effectively measuring the impact of SEO on your PR campaigns is critical to optimise strategies and demonstrate ROI. Utilising specific metrics and tools can provide you with insights into how well your content performs in search engines and the kind of engagement it receives.

SEO KPIs for PR Campaigns

To assess the effectiveness of your SEO initiatives within PR campaigns, consider tracking the following key performance indicators (KPIs):

  1. Organic Traffic: This measures the number of visitors who come to your site from search engines without paid promotion. An increase in organic traffic indicates that your SEO efforts are improving your visibility on search engines.
  2. Keyword Rankings: Monitor the rankings for specific keywords relevant to your PR campaigns. Improved rankings can lead to increased traffic and greater visibility for your PR content.
  3. Backlink Quality and Quantity: The number and quality of backlinks pointing to your content are crucial. High-quality backlinks from reputable sites not only improve your site’s authority but also drive targeted traffic.
  4. Engagement Metrics: Track metrics such as average time on page, bounce rate, and pages per session to understand how engaged visitors are with your content. These metrics can indicate the relevance and quality of your content.
  5. Conversion Rates: For PR campaigns aimed at driving specific actions, measure how many visitors complete these actions (e.g., signing up for a newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, or making a purchase).
  6. SERP Visibility: This includes tracking features like featured snippets, local SEO rankings, and other SERP features that enhance visibility and drive traffic.

Tools for Tracking and Analytics

Leverage these tools to gather data and insights for your KPIs:

  1. Google Analytics: Essential for tracking website traffic, user behavior, and conversions. It helps you understand where your traffic is coming from, how users interact with your site, and what actions they take.
  2. Google Search Console: Provides insights into your site’s presence in Google SERPs. Track the performance of specific URLs, see which queries bring users to your site, and how often your pages appear in Google search results.
  3. Moz: Offers tools for tracking page authority and analyzing backlinks. Moz’s tools can help you understand the domain authority of sites linking to you and identify new link opportunities.
  4. SEMrush: Useful for detailed keyword research, tracking keyword rankings, and conducting competitive analysis. SEMrush also offers features for auditing your website to identify SEO issues.
  5. Ahrefs: Known for its powerful backlink analysis capabilities, Ahrefs helps you track your backlinks, keywords, brand mentions, and competitors’ SEO strategies.
  6. BuzzSumo: While not a traditional SEO tool, BuzzSumo can be invaluable for PR professionals to track content performance and identify what content is most engaging in your industry.

There are many more out there, so by all means do some research and find the tools best for you. 

By regularly monitoring these KPIs using the appropriate tools, you can not only prove the value of integrating SEO with PR efforts but also refine their strategies for better future performance, ensuring that your PR content reaches more people and delivers maximum impact at the same time.