The Intersection Between PR and SEO

We know PR coverage can positively impact SEO. From securing coverage for contributed content with target keyword phrases to earning natural editorial backlinks in media outlets with a high domain authority, SEO is an important part of our PR strategy. But you don’t have to take our word for it. 

I got together with Cyrus Shepard, an SEO strategist from Moz, to pick his brain about how PR affects SEO. We talk about the intersection between PR and SEO, keywords, search engine result page (SERP) rankings and links. 

MEGHAN: Does PR help with SEO?

CYRUS: Ultimately, SEO is about popularity, relevancy and trust. In that regard, strong PR can definitely help with SEO, albeit sometimes indirectly.

MEGHAN: Are there specific SEO metrics PR can help impact?

CYRUS: There are actually several metrics PR can help impact. The first—and likely most important to SEOs—are web links. Links are a significant SEO ranking factor and is measured by metrics such as Domain Authority and Page Rank.

When PR is successful, it can impact the volume of Branded Searches (when someone searches Google for something in a way that uses your brand name). Branded search volume is another important metric that is often correlated with SEO success.

Finally, though not directly connected, good PR can help a business win search traffic Share of Voice (SOV). This simply refers to the amount of visibility a website has across a large range of search results relative to the competition.

MEGHAN: How does coverage that mentions your brand name (but doesn’t link back to your website) impact your brand’s overall SEO?

CYRUS: In SEO, we refer to “unlinked mentions” — i.e. mentions of your brand that don’t link to your website. While these don’t carry the weight or influence of actual links, they can still be important. Google has the ability to extract “entities” from web copy. Your website/brand could be an entity, as well as your employees or products. When Google identifies an entity, it can often make a connection with other entities—including your website—even when there isn’t a direct link. It’s also possible Google can learn other things from these unlinked mentions, such as when they perform sentiment analysis. So an article that has positive things to say about your brand, even if that article doesn’t link to you, may produce a small positive signal about the entity that is your website.

MEGHAN: How does the domain authority of publications for which coverage is secured impact a brand’s domain authority?

CYRUS: Roughly speaking, the more authoritative and trustworthy a site is, the more powerful authority it passes to other sites (generally through links.)

That said, a site’s authority isn’t the only factor at play. Relevance is another huge factor. In this way, it can sometimes be more beneficial to get coverage on a smaller but highly relevant site/page than less-relevant coverage on a higher authority site.

MEGHAN: How can PR coverage help impact SERP rankings for branded and non-branded keywords?

CYRUS: In general, PR coverage can help a site rank for branded and non-branded terms based to varying degrees on the following factors:

  1. How relevant the coverage is to the site’s target topics/keywords. E.g. Does the coverage use the same terms/topics in its headline and body copy?
  2. Does the coverage include links to the site? Followed links are typically stronger than nofollow links (though Google may now take nofollow links into consideration). And nofollow links are typically stronger than unlinked mentions, but all of these could be valuable.
  3. The authority and trust of the publication where coverage is obtained.
  4. The sentiment of the coverage. While this is only rumored to be a ranking factor, positive coverage may help rankings, while negative coverage could actually hurt.

MEGHAN: When developing a marketing strategy for companies you’ve worked with in the past, did PR align with any SEO efforts?

CYRUS: Some of the best SEO campaigns I’ve seen were actually led by great PR people. I’d love to see more PR guiding SEO strategy itself. This is because PR folks on the ground often have a good sense of what journalists are looking for and the topics they want to cover. The “PR-First” approach can often lead to more significant SEO gains.

MEGHAN: Are there best practices PR professionals should adhere to in order to be SEO-friendly?

CYRUS: Based on the above question:

  • Try to get coverage from the most relevant sites/pages possible
  • Work to get links/mentions direct to the client website, in the following order of importance: Follow Links > Nofollow Links (including those with “ugc” and “sponsored” attributes) > Unlinked mentions.

For more information on how PR can support SEO, check out our PR for SEO blog series!

Domain Authority: Your New Coverage Metric

When announcing a new product or securing industry thought leadership placement in an online publication, most PR pros have criteria in mind that they use to determine the quality of the publication. For example, you might ask yourself, does the publication have a large social media following? Is the outlet a household name? Does it have an active and growing monthly readership?

While each of these metrics can be a valuable gut check, there is a relatively new metric to add to your assessment of an outlet’s quality: Domain Authority (DA).

Created by the experts at Moz, the leader in search engine optimization technology and a client of BLASTmedia, Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score to measure how likely a website is to rank in search. And even more than that, it’s an SEO metric that you should begin using today in your media strategy. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Domain Authority and How Do I Measure It? 

Publications like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes and TechCrunch generate a lot of engagement and traffic. And while we can quantify a portion of their value through potential readership, Domain Authority can help place these outlets on a spectrum.

Moz scores Domain Authority on a 100-point logarithmic scale. All websites, from large to small and new to old, have a DA. This number isn’t static; the DA of a given website can change over time, but it’s easier for a website with a DA of 20 to get to 30 than it is for a website 70 to grow to 80. 

DA is a comparative metric and we use it, compiled with and against other values, to determine outlet quality. In a previous post, “How Does PR Affect SEO?”, we shared that Domain Authority above 40 is considered “average,” while 50 and above is considered “good,” and higher than 60 is “excellent.” For some perspective, at the time of this blog the New York Times, Forbes, CNN all had a DA of 95. 

Applying Domain Authority to Your Coverage Goals 

Anything with a DA higher than your own website’s DA should help increase yours, but don’t agonize over coverage with a lower DA, either. Some niche trade publications may be very relevant to your own sales pipeline but have a similar or lower DA of your website.

Media coverage isn’t merely about placing a story on one publication. Many factors, like having the right coverage mix, are involved in making a story impactful. As DA is a measure of a website’s quality and its ability to rank in search, it should be one aspect of your media relations strategy and reporting process. You can check your company’s, or any website’s, DA here: Moz Domain Analysis.

Interested in learning more about improving your brand’s SEO with PR? The BLASTmedia blog is full of resources, including why PR is the best way to build natural editorial links (which Moz touts as the “holy grail for SEOs.”)

Frequently asked questions:

  • What is the highest Domain Authority?
    The highest Domain Authority (DA) score is 100. DA is a range of one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater likelihood of ranking.
  • What is considered a good Domain Authority?
    Typically, Domain Authority above 50 is considered “good.” Anything over 60 is “excellent.”
  • How do I get a high Domain Authority?
    Attracting real links that drive traffic to your website is the best way to improve Domain Authority.

How Does PR Affect SEO?

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One of the most common questions we get from our clients, especially in the sales process, is “how can PR affect SEO?” Let’s get one thing straight: PR alone is not a comprehensive SEO or link-building strategy. That said, there are plenty of ways PR coverage can impact SEO in a positive way. And because we understand the importance of defining the ROI of PR (especially for you data-driven SaaS marketers out there), we now more than ever find our efforts tying into those of the SEO team on a regular basis.

From working to secure natural, editorial backlinks in publications with a high domain authority, to ensuring contributed content has at least one target keyword phrase, SEO is an important part of our PR strategy for any client. 

A significant aspect of modern link-building strategies entails utilizing platforms such as Help a Reporter Out (HARO). This invaluable resource acts as a hub for connecting experts with journalists in search of reliable sources. The integration of HARO into our PR efforts focused on SEO has proven to be a transformative factor. Through active participation in HARO, our team not only reinforces the industry expertise of our clients but also fosters the acquisition of valuable backlinks from authoritative sources. This mutually beneficial relationship between PR and HARO illustrates the dynamic evolution of link building, emphasizing collaboration and strategic integration to enhance a brand’s SEO profile.

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how the two intersect, shall we? 

Continue reading “How Does PR Affect SEO?”

SaaS PR Metrics: Considering Coverage and Outlet Quality

Trends suggest that public relations will be a data-driven function in 2020; however, for years many PR agencies have skirted by with minimal metrics — securing media coverage and then simply handing a list of placement links or clips to a client before moving on. Today, marketers — especially marketers at SaaS brands — expect more.

Measuring PR Coverage and Outlet Quality

PR metrics, like share of voice, and digital marketing metrics, like referral traffic, help fill in the gaps but are far from the be-all and end-all. Any time we’re discussing media coverage with clients — be it competitor and brand coverage in a media landscape analysis or coverage secured for the brand ongoing — we also consider a variety of metrics that speak to the quality of coverage and the outlet where that coverage was secured. These metrics include:

  • Type of publication where the coverage was secured — national, trade or local
  • Readership and Domain Authority (DA) of the publication
  • Type of coverage — contributed content, feature, mention, quote or press release posting

As a result, when prospects and clients ask us questions like, “What can I expect from a PR program?” we can provide data-based answers based on our roster of SaaS clients. While this dataset provides a great comparison point for SaaS brands working with our agency, it lacks a control group. That got us wondering: What does this kind of data look like when the SaaS brand hasn’t worked with BLASTmedia?

An Analysis of Fastest-Growing SaaS Brands

To further understand how SaaS companies are using media relations to generate press, our team decided to analyze media coverage from a set of fast-growing SaaS companies outside of our client base. For the purpose of our first exercise, we selected 25 of the top companies listed on the SaaS 1000. During the analysis, we classified all press coverage — excluding pay-to-play coverage, such as newswire postings, market research reports and sponsored content — by the same metrics we use to evaluate client coverage.

Some results were what we expected while others — like the fact that less than 3% of coverage reviewed in the analysis was made up of quotes — were a bit out of left field.

Curious what we uncovered? Download our analysis to learn more about coverage and outlet quality as a SaaS PR metric and how fast-growing SaaS brands stack up.