PR Backlinks: How PR can help with SEO

PR Backlinks

It’s no secret that when it comes to a search engine results page (SERP), like Google and Bing, you’d like your website to be at the top of the page looking down at your competition. The question is: how do you get there? The answer may surprise you. It’s through the utilization of public relations and what are known as PR backlinks.

Most SEO companies are solely focused on digital marketing strategies. The goal is to fix what is on your website to improve your search engine rankings. While on-page optimization is important it makes up just a small fraction of what determines a SERP. The real key to landing at the top of the search results is to increase the number of websites that are linking to your site.

While traditionally called backlinks, the terminology is changing to simply links, and they are the single most powerful tool for increasing domain authority, e.g., where your site ranks – more on this below. Generating these links can be tricky. Even risky if not done correctly. That is where PR backlinks – which are created organically – are increasingly being depended upon to push SEO results in a positive direction.  

First, let’s back up and explain how search engines work and how you can increase where your site ranks within a given search (don’t need the background info? Feel free to skip ahead). When someone searches for a keyword or keyphrase, the SERP will greatly depend on two key factors: what’s on your website, and how many other sites are linking back to it.

The first part of a good Google ranking requires on-page optimization. This simply means enhancing what is on your site. So, the content, the user experience/interface (UX/UI), and the code hidden within. Then you need to figure out how a search engine ranks your page based on this information. The focus here is on optimizing your site so that the information can be easily found by the user as well as understood and indexed by a search engine. While keywords and key phrases are a critical part of this, there is a lot more to on-page optimization.

Everyone’s goal is, or should be, to appear on the first page of the SERP. That was traditionally the top 10. However, this too is evolving into what you may be seeing more often which is a longer scrolling list. Therefore, on-page optimization alone is highly unlikely to get you into the top spot. To get there you also need off-page SEO.

What is off-page SEO?

You have probably already pieced this together, but the second, and more critical, pathway to increase your search engine results is understanding how a search engine aggregates information on other websites. Think of it like the cool kid in school. You [your website] can be dressed in all the trendiest clothes, shoes, and even carry a designer handbag, but if you are sitting all alone in the cafeteria every day, then you’re probably not that popular.

Backlinks, in this analogy, are the other kids in the cafeteria. The more of them you have sitting at your table – or linking back to you – the more credibility Google and other search engines give your site. The reason for this is pretty simple. Search engines use backlinks as a tool to determine how relevant your site is. If a lot of other sites are pointing to your website as a source of noteworthy information, then search engines rank your site higher.

While optimizing what is on your website is relatively easy, it’s much more difficult and time-consuming to generate high-quality backlinks. This need for valuable link-building is where implementing PR becomes critical for success.

The power of PR lies in its ability to secure placements in prestigious online publications. When doing so, the publication will usually include a link to your site. As more and more content is published online, those PR backlinks begin to add up. To Google it just sees more and more kids coming to sit at your table. This provides the needed credibility for Google to move your site higher up the rankings.

However, not all links are created equal. High-authority websites register exponentially better. A high-authority domain website is simply one that Google already knows and trusts. As opposed to some guy blogging in his basement on a low-traffic site. One link on a high-authority website can be the equivalent of 100 or even 1,000 SEO backlinks from other low-authority sites.

Trade publications are almost always high-authority publications.

Black hat SEO

Most companies that specialize in optimizing your search engine do not have established relationships with the media. So they struggle to get PR articles posted on high-authority websites. So, what some SEO firms will do is try to buy links from link farms. They may also build fake web pages that are designed only to include backlinks to your site.

These tricks are often referred to as ‘black hat’ SEO. If Google discovers you are trying to deceive its algorithm, you run the risk of getting blacklisted. You get ousted from the cool kid’s table, and your website will not appear anywhere within the search results.

Furthermore, those press release distribution services that promise they can “send out your press release and you’ll dominate search engines like Yahoo!, Google, and Bing” aren’t going to work either. These types of links generate little-to-no SEO value.

With PR, you can reach your target audience with powerful messaging that can build brand awareness and credibility, shorten sales cycles, and generate qualified leads, but you also get those very valuable SEO backlinks on high-authority websites.

This is why companies that are outsourcing SEO services to drive organic results are also turning to PR agencies that have a history of organic link-building. In doing so, you get the value of great PR, and a big boost towards your goal of landing that coveted, top spot on Google.

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