The snowballing coalition of SEO, PR and Content

Digital marketingThere is some pretty lively debate going on in world of SEO and PR, which, not so long ago, were stubbornly detached. The focus of the debate – Can SEO, PR and content stand alone or have they become intrinsically linked? The very fact that such debate has arisen is suggestive of the latter, that these three formerly separate entities have now evolved as one creative amalgamation.

It’s all very well ‘talking the talk’ and joining the banter that the digital marketing industry has converged three separate functions  into one larger one but in what ways have SEO, PR and content become connected and, perhaps more importantly, why?

Google updates never fail have some kind of impact on the industry, some being much more significant than others. It is fair to say that recent updates to Google have seen some fairly substantial changes rock the digital marketing landscape.

Quality, shareable content

Not so long ago link building strategies and a healthy dousing of keywords were the leading focus of SEO campaigns. Thanks to Google, content has been elevated to a higher tier on the digital marketing hierarchy, much to the delight of online writers around the world who can now prioritise quality over quantity with more tangible justification. Nowadays it’s all about, as the Guardian rightly states, “creating quality content that people want to share.”

With approximately 160 million blogs online and about four billion hours of video being watched every month on YouTube, brands have an unparalleled opportunity to connect and appeal to consumers by means of creating compelling content.

Do you buy a product before searching and researching it online? If you do, you’re in a minority because 80% of consumers carry out an online search for a product before they commit to buying it. This makes a content marketer’s goal twofold – to plan and create quality, unique and compelling content and to find ways to make it more visible on the search engines.

Holistic approaches are required that balance creativity and performance equally because the crux of debate is – “Great content can go unnoticed without SEO, while SEO-led content can do poorly because it is not compelling.”

Building long-term relationships

The word ‘outreach’ has become a buzzword in digital marketing landscape, the trouble is it’s not always implemented to its optimum. What we know and love as ‘bloggers’ are increasingly being referred to as ‘influencers’ having been granted their much more ‘credible’ and ‘authoritative’ title due to trust in the mainstream media waning and respect for the ‘blogging’ community escalating. For those seeking to market a service or product on the internet ‘outreaching’ and building a long-term relationship with some of the most influential ‘influencers’ in an industry could result in thousands of albeit instant interactions with targeted readers who are of the belief,  “If it’s good enough for that leading influencer, it’s good enough for us”. Right?

Well yes but it has to be noted that such links aren’t easily won and this is when exploiting the skills of PR professionals can prove lucrative. Some of the most effective outreach campaigns is when a PR team of ‘outreachers’ focus on designing the right pitch to relevant influencers and building long-term relationships instead of, in essence, having a ‘one night stand’ by getting a solitary link on a credible site or, worse still, a non-credible site.

In short, links are now a much more modest part of the SEO puzzle. High quality content is rewarded and likewise successfully outreaching by building enduring relationships with influential bloggers and credible sites are an integral part of securing digital marketing success.