SEO is the Future of PR: Here’s Why

A wise professor once told me, “Your network is your net worth” and “to be effective in publicity, consider PR to stand for personal relationships.” Any PR hopeful worth their salt knows that public relations is a relationship game. That’s why we go out of our way to join organizations like PRSSA/PRSA; we don’t just value the learning experiences; we value the network that it builds us in our industry.

Photo Courtesy of George Morina via Pexels

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), on the other hand, has always been seen as a tech, behind-the-scenes, alone-with-a-laptop  type practice. It’s all about utilizing links and keywords to increase a website’s domain authority in order to ensure that it ranks higher than competitors on search engines, such as Google. However, in our ever-evolving digital world, SEO and PR are becoming more and more integral to each other. When it comes down to it, here’s why SEO is a relationship game too:

Link Building

One of the most impactful ways to increase the rankings of a website is by getting other sites to link back to it; a strategy known as link building. This is basically the equivalent of the author of the website recommending the content of the link to readers. 

There are multiple ways to do this, but the best way is through outreach and relationship-building. A professional can write a new piece of content and pitch it to the site’s owner, or they can look at existing content and see where their link might fit in. Links earned from media through story placement are some of the most impactful links SEO could hope to collect. Either way, pitching a link requires great communication skills and a desire to form a genuine connection with the recipient– both skills that PR professionals typically have in spades.

Social Media Marketing

Nothing happens in a vacuum. Although I could go on and on about the association between PR and SEO, one of the most significant considerations is the relationship between social media and search engine optimization. 

John Merris, CEO of Solo Stove, recently shared some unique insights. He noted that their company saw a direct correlation between what they were spending on Facebook marketing with the number of times their name was searched on Google. 

Why? Repetition is the key to learning. They see the name enough times and they begin to think about it, and eventually search for it. And when they do, it’s an SEO’s job to make sure that they find the best information.

Learn to Play the Game

SEO, at its core, is important to PR practitioners because it helps provide measurable impact of publicity and provides additional ROI metrics that have not traditionally been available with PR. It is crucial in our hyper-digital world and will only continue to become more valuable as time goes on.

We can certainly expect to see SEO become a much bigger part of PR and vice versa. Now is the time to embrace all the good that SEO can do for you and learn to play the digital relationship game.


Kendall McCarthy is a strategic communications and French major at Texas Christian University, as well as a content creator for Magnus Opus. She also serves as founding president of TCU’s chapter of Her Campus, the number-one media portfolio for college women.

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