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Deciding Between PR and SEO Services? Think Again


seo-prIn December I attended the search conference BlueGlassX, where some of the top minds in search marketing, social media, content marketing and public relations gathered to share their experiences and insight for the upcoming year. One of the key topics that stuck out was how Google’s latest algorithm changes have led the way for two industries to stop stepping on each other’s toes and finally work together – search engine optimization (SEO) and public relations (PR).

Historically, these two fields have been torn by territorial boundaries and a communication gap that causes problems, including reaching out to the same sources in a short time frame, campaigns that don’t compliment the end user and inaccuracies in tracking the impact of the team’s efforts.

If this sounds all too familiar to you, then listen up, because it’s time to tear down the wall and work together.

Where it All Began

PR revolves around managing the flow of information between an organization and the public, usually through press releases, newspaper articles or interviews. Traditional PR reps have one thing in mind, and that is getting a positive mention in the press for their client or employer.

On the other hand, SEOs are tasked with increasing the visibility of a brand or website in organic search results, which, after recent algorithm updates, is accomplished by generating a flow of high quality, original content, gaining valuable links to that content (not directory, irrelevant, spam or purchased links), and actually building a name around the brand – locally or nationally.

Sound similar huh? Both are tasked with building a brand, producing content, and, most of all, producing an end result that benefits the user or customer.

The Convergence Point

We all have Google to thank for this convergence. Google’s Panda update wanted high quality, unique content; the Penguin update wanted strong, trusted links; and the recent push for authorship, which is still at the tip of the iceberg, gives a boost to more than the site, but the person behind the content.

So, from an SEO’s perspective, when the expert behind the content gets some PR love from an online or external news source, it makes it exceptionally easier for that person to leverage their qualifications for editorial links and mentions in online news publications.

Meaning, when the SEO and PR teams work together, you have the ability to showcase your experts, online and off, which increases the awareness and authority of your business or client, simply by using their own credentials.

The Learning Curve

The shift from traditional to online media is responsible for placing PRs back in a powerful position, leading to the latest challenge of identifying the most influential sites with the most relevant reader base. Now don’t let this scare you, because even though the media is relatively new for a traditional PR, the focus remains the same – amplify your client or business’ message.

This shift opens another door for the SEO/PR relationship by causing direct interaction between teams with the focus of producing and distributing socially sharable content on the most influential platforms available.

Social Media and the Change in Consumer Behavior

This shift to social media and user-generated content has resulted in an immediate change in purchase behavior where customers are generally searching for the experiences of other users before making their final purchase decision.

The idea of a customer searching the internet for feedback is not a groundbreaking idea. This has been happening for years, urging businesses to create pages that showcase their reviews; however, the kicker here is that it has grown exponentially.

In 2008, a study by BusinessWeek revealed that 70 percent of US consumers consulted internet reviews before purchasing; however, today, that number is about to eclipse 90 percent, according to Reevoo in a similar 2012 study.

With stats like these, it’s time we wake up and embrace this platform change, work together, and focus on building and communicating authority and trust online through enhancing the user’s overall experience.

[Img credit: PRWeb]