PR and SEO are inextricable. While they were once disparate fields, the rise of digital has made them one. They are crucial for online brands looking to increase brand awareness, drive sales, and connect with audiences.
With this in mind, Seeker Digital’s outreach executive and official cat correspondent Daisy Sawyer headed back to her alma mater, Swansea University, to share her experiences of PR and SEO with current second-year Media & Communication students.
Swansea University’s Media & Communications spans a wide array of strategies: journalism, video production, creative media, and so on.
SEO, however, was not covered in as much depth during Daisy’s time at the university. While the need for and value of brand coverage was clear, the connection between links and SEO was less defined.
To help the undergraduates understand SEO, Daisy got back to basics. Starting with the value of SEO, she outlined why good SEO = good business. For Seeker, good SEO comprises four essential pillars (CULT):
These four elements form the basis of good SEO, using both onsite and offsite elements to increase SERP visibility, drive traffic, and boost brand awareness.
But it is the connection between link building and PR that matters for PR strategists. As well as boosting SEO, links add authority and endorsement for brands.
How can PRs build links?
Link building is not easy. But by focusing on value, we can effectively and sustainably build links that deliver value for online brands.
- Guest posts: editorials that provide links to brands and value for publishers.
- Content updates: reach out to publishers to update existing content with new information (and links).
- Resource pages: similar to the above, but for list-style content.
- Influencers: paid editorial contributions on otherwise unreceptive blogs that offer greater control over links.
- Creative link building: create appealing assets for sharing across a range of digital publications.
- Attributions & credits: earning a link through investment in time or property.
These tactics form just one component of a wider outreach and link building campaign. The process as a whole comprises the following:
- Research & discovery
This process is just a guideline for the outreach process. A digital PR team is proactive and reactive, pivoting their efforts according to external and internal changes.
How can you land a job in SEO and outreach?
The digital industry is always growing and always changing. Some of the jobs around today didn’t exist five or 10 years ago.
If you’re a current student or graduate looking to land a role in SEO, be proactive — start now.
Don’t just rely on your course to give you the requisite skills you need. SEO is constantly evolving, and it’s up to you to stay abreast of developments.
But one of the great things about SEO is its accessibility. There are lots of free resources available online to help you learn and expand on your degree.
Go to local SEO meetups too and speak to people. Make friends and build a network to lean on for advice and opportunities. Social media is crucial here — build your personal brand and engage with the community.
Career tips from industry professionals
Career advice is always best straight from the horse’s mouth. Here are some tips from talented individuals who have forged their own way in the SEO world.
Laura Slingo, Campaign Manager, Seeker Digital
“Investing in your personal branding is essential if you want to get your foot in the door. Twitter and LinkedIn are the top platforms for this. Your investment doesn’t need to be huge. Just small, consistent engagements with industry groups, trending posts and the occasional status update are all you need to create a big impact.”
Andrew Isidoro, Global Head of SEO, Dyson
“Go to local events. Engage with the community online. Build a website yourself and break things.”
Kayleigh Töyrä, Creative Director, Seeker Digital
“Be open-minded – find great mentors and learn from passionate people. Engaging on platforms like Twitter is a great way to network. It’s a global community, so think big. Some of my best early career advice came from marketing groups full of people from everywhere. Also, make use of all the free online training.”
Michael Gearon, Senior Interactions Designer, Companies House
“Build a network of people and connections, social media is invaluable (that’s how I got my first job) and blog as much as possible.”
SEO and PR will only become more important for brands in 2020. As digital becomes an increasingly important part of our lives, the ability to use both PR and SEO to help brands boost awareness and increase sales is a valuable one. If a role in digital PR entices you, follow the tips above and start building your career today.