PR ON THE GO October 28, 2022

Quality Link Building Through PR Activities

Why do SEO teams love PR for link building?

We asked our PR and growth experts to advise business founders on the role of link building in (digital) PR campaigns. What is link building, and how is quality link building organically a part of PR activities?

Find out here why SEO teams love PR for link building.

Raise Importance Of Your Website

CJ Xia, VP of Marketing & Sales at Boster Biological Technology

"Simply explained, link building is the process of obtaining backlinks from other websites to your own. Building links should be a goal for all marketers and business owners who want to enhance referral traffic and the authority of their websites.
To put it another way, link building is an SEO tactic that raises your search engine ranking. One of the main ways search engine algorithms assess the importance of a page is through links. A website's content is useful if it attracts a lot of links, or backlinks.

One of the most crucial components of SEO is digital PR because it helps your website develop links and authority that is why SEO teams love PR for link building. A solid digital PR plan may increase your website's exposure in search engine results pages (SERPs) and provide more targeted visitors to your site."

Web Publications

Kellis Landrum, Cofounder at True North Social

"PR and SEO are separate disciplines. But like chips and salsa, they're just better together. Link building is a critical part of SEO. It's typically the most important factor Google looks at when deciding to rank one website over another.
Most press has some form of web publication. When a PR team gets press coverage for a client, this will usually result in new links back to a client's website. Because these links tend to be from reputable publications or news outlets, they tend to be very high quality and can have a big impact on website rankings."

Natural Backlinks

Leszek Dudkiewicz, Head of Marketing at Passport Photo Online

"Link building is the full exploit of PR campaigns. In the virtual world, PR campaigns not only elevate brand awareness but also, by chance, boost SEO results. That happens because journalists include the link to the company’s website whenever they speak about the company in the media. So, links flow naturally with every brand mention.

SEO specialists love this strategy for one main reason: it brings natural backlinks. Natural links are those that occur organically instead of being placed by a company.. They are much more powerful and look better in the eyes of Google, so acquiring them is invaluable for SEO experts."

High-Quality Placement Opportunities

Zachary Colman, CEO of Creatitive

"The goal of digital PR is to improve your online presence by focusing on public relations and SEO efforts on internet-based platforms. One of these efforts is link building which is a crucial component of a successful digital PR SEO strategy. Public relations is different from blogging and is about developing healthy relations, which results in high-quality opportunities for the place of content. You also have to identify the themes and topics of your brand or services. In other words, start with research, find out what is working for other brands, and find the similarities."

High-Quality Links

Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs

"Link building helps increase your brand's awareness because it can drive referral traffic. If a major online publisher references your business and links to your homepage, this is great PR that improves both web traffic and branding.

As an example, Illuminate Labs has a team of medical experts. Our medical experts (doctors, registered dietitians, etc) build legitimate relationships with journalists, who then quote them in articles and link to our website. This is a win-win relationship that costs nothing and builds high-quality links.

Quality link building is naturally part of PR activities, because getting links to your website from major publishers online is the best way to establish a digital brand presence.

SEO teams love PR for link building because it's arguably the most legitimate way to build links to a website, and is in accordance with Google's guidelines. Purchasing links (which some SEO teams advocate for) is explicitly disallowed by Google and other major search engines."

Relevancy Of The Site

Shad Elia, CEO of New England Home Buyers

"This component won't have as much of an effect on SEO value as domain authority and follow links, but it will raise the calibre of traffic you receive from the referring website. Relevancy is unquestionably a crucial piece of the SEO puzzle because the objective is to enhance total revenue generated from the SEO value, not only increase traffic."

PR's Relevance And Authority

James Angel, Co-Founder of DYL

"Relevance and authority are two ranking elements that should be considered in every well-executed SEO PR outreach campaign. A skilled Digital PR expert will research the best journalists and publications to contact on your behalf using a media database like Muckrack or Cision. For the purpose of doing the research before pitching a journalist, these sites regularly update contact information, coverage regions, and even a list of the journalist's most recent stories. To avoid the "pray and spray" approach, in which a list of journalists and bloggers is spammed with a generic press release in the hopes that someone picks it up and creates a backlink, a clever PR specialist will instead qualify the outlet and the writer in advance."

Brand Trust Through Google Ranking

Emily Reynolds Bergh, Founder of R Public Relations Firm

"A quality link building PR campaign helps your clients get above the rest on google and search platforms. It helps brand trust too, basically PR and SEO are best buddies these days due to Google's way of measuring searches. The more quality links and traffic your website and brand is associated with the better!"

Social Proof

Holly Cooper, Content Manager & Planner at LUCAS PRODUCTS & SERVICES

"To consumers, social validation is crucial. They put a lot of faith in trust signals when deciding which products to buy and which brands to support. The more frequently they encounter a brand in trustworthy settings, the more credible that brand becomes in their eyes. Sponsoring a charitable event is one example of public relations activity that can help build consumer trust in a company. It could also be something like a reporter writing about your brand, a blog post praising your product, a partnership with a reputable company, a celebrity endorsing your product, an op-ed piece written under your byline, or a rousing social discussion about your company. The brand benefits greatly from all of this PR work.

On the search engine optimization side of things, social proof is equally vital. SEO signals outside of your website itself, such as shares, backlinks, and mentions, show Google that your business is credible and authoritative. Public relations and search engine optimization both have the potential to have significant effects on social proof and its indicators in this way."

Referrals And Brand Mentions

Tia Campbell, Director of Marketing at Practice Reasoning Tests

"There are numerous approaches to digital PR. We particularly enjoy publishing original research that is destined to be referenced frequently on authoritative platforms. When articles are relevant to current events, they are more likely to be linked to and syndicated. Websites' backlink profiles, Domain Authority, and keyword visibility all improve as a result.

Websites with naturally expanding backlink profiles, whose content is useful and relevant, and which earns high-quality links, tend to rank higher in Google's search results. Authority for a brand can also be built through digital PR. It's more likely that a brand will be cited and referenced elsewhere if it produces relevant, newsworthy content or provides authoritative quotes and commentary on certain topics. Google takes notice of how often authoritative sites link to your work, people, or brand. You can expect an increase in exposure thanks to both inbound referral links and unlinked brand mentions. Conversely, increasing your brand's visibility increases your name's recognition among consumers. Customers are more likely to trust a business or product when they see positive mentions of it in credible online or print media."

Managing The Image Of A Brand

Adam Garcia, Owner of The Stock Dork

"Professionals in public relations work hard to shape the public opinion of their clients by crafting messages and communications. In the event that people are having a negative experience with your brand in the search engine results page (SERP), you can use both public relations and search engine optimization strategies to increase the amount of positive content that appears in the SERPs. This tactic (also referred to as "online reputation management") helps to even out the information landscape and push down unfavorable results."

Authority Proof

Alison Ver Halen, Founder & CEO of AV Writing Services, LLC

"Linkbuilding is the process of getting other websites to provide a link back to your website. It's a great way to drive traffic to your website while improving your website's SEO (search engine optimization) because when Google sees that other people are using your reference as a referral source, it will be more likely to rank your website for relevant searches.

PR is ideal for linkbuilding because the process involves establishing yourself as an authority in your industry by providing your expertise for another platform, and it almost always comes with a link to your website. The combination is ideal for proving to both Google and humans that you're an authority in your industry."

Quality Link-Building Starts With Good Content

Marcio Delgado, Tech & Business Journalist at Euronewsweek

"Having worked in PR and content for large corporations, after graduating in journalism, I then switched back to news and it is amazing how businesses get it wrong when it comes to using PR for link building.

Many companies or SEO agencies often send explicit requests about how to get an article published in order to get a link back to their website. Truth is: for news outlets, their reader’s needs come way before your need as an enterprise looking for links or mentions. If there is no compelling story to genuinely engage readers, chances are media outlets will turn down your press release. Even if a company manages to negotiate an advertorial or guestpost (and several media outlets will work closely with clients if there is abudget in place), content that isn’t created with an eye on SEO best practices and storytelling, as its main core, will not perform well.

The bottom line is: quality link-building starts with good content, offered for free or through paid partnerships, that can attract the interest of journalists and readers, not the other way around."

Key Component Unique Stories

Leslie Gilmour, Founder & CEO of BeFound

"Digital PR is the most effective method of link building. It provides you with the best links with the greatest SEO impact and the type of links that competitors cannot replicate in a matter of days.

A key component is researching and creating unique content and stories, which you then pitch to journalists. If your topic and insight are useful, the journalist may write entirely about it or use data points from it.

Depending on the industry, it can sometimes be combined effectively with other strategies such as interviews with various department heads, which is also PR.

Furthermore, for any serious brand, digital PR is the only link building activity that can be done without risking a Google penalty."

3rd Party Endorsements

Amanda Green, Corporate Content Manager at Orca Communications Unlimited, LLC

"PR and SEO have always gone hand-in-hand, but their connection is even stronger with the new Helpful Content Update that Google rolled out this month. In fact, you could say that public relations is Google’s love language.

The search engine crawls the internet looking for the best answers to people's search queries. It decides which websites to put at the top of its search results based on the site’s credibility, which it determines based on a number of factors including how many other websites link to that site. With this latest update, it is looking for websites written by humans, not bots programmed to load pages with keywords.

This is where PR comes into play and why I say that it is Google's love language. PR builds a brand's authority by raising awareness and creating credibility through 3rd party endorsements. Those endorsements are published in media outlets and by influencers. That's always been the case, but now those press placements often come with backlinks.

The more mentions (links) you get from credible sources (media outlets), the better your SEO ranking.

This means top-tier media placements have way more weight than just the "bragging rights" of yesteryear. And it explains why SEO teams love PR for link building.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about. THIS media mention for our client, Discotech, was posted on It includes a backlink to the client's website. MSN is considered a high authority source online. It is an example of a backlink that can have a positive impact on SEO."

Creating A Competitive Edge

Ewan Duthie, Managing Director at Web Integrations Ltd

"Google still relies heavily on backlinks for ranking. Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites to your own. The goal of this is to improve the visibility and search engine ranking of your website. It's no secret that Google's spokespeople have always criticized link-building methods like guest blogging. John Mueller has, however, endorsed digital PR as a link-building tactic.

Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to get free backlinks from quality websites. To earn links from authority websites, we need to create link-worthy content. This is where digital PR comes into play. A digital PR campaign is a cost-effective way to build quality backlinks at scale.

The reason PR is so popular for link building among SEOs is obvious. The power of digital PR lies in its ability to build editorially-placed backlinks from highly relevant and authoritative websites that no other strategy can provide. By earning a link from a top-tier website, Google is more likely to trust our website, and it will significantly impact our rankings. Furthermore, these links are very difficult for our competitors to emulate since they cannot just buy links from these websites. The use of digital PR can also contribute to high-quality referral traffic that can lead to conversions."

High-Profile PR Placement Create The Greatest Impact

Scott Baradells, CEO & Founder of Idea Grove

"John Mueller, Google’s chief search advocate, said last year that when ranking websites, a single, high-value link from a major news website like USA Today or The Wall Street Journal carries more weight than “millions” of low-quality links.

Think about that. It means that a single high-profile PR placement could have a greater impact on your search presence than all the efforts of your SEO firm over the past five years.

Google has made clear that combining PR and SEO is the most effective-and least spammy—search strategy of all. This discipline has become known as Digital PR.

PR and SEO have effectively merged in recent years. Not taking an integrated approach to these disciplines is a significant missed opportunity for agencies and brands."

Creating Publicity Is The Essence Of Link-Building

Adam Busch, VP, Growth at JCT Growth

"Linkbuilding is becoming more and more of an antiquated term used to describe getting your website's URL listed or mentioned on other websites.
Link builders have historically had several ways of doing this:

A) Outreach asking business owners and webmasters to list their website as a resource somewhere on their website

B) Create guest blogs to be featured on other websites

C) List their website in business directories

D) Create content that is designed to attract links such as studies or reports

E) Outreach with newsworthy company updates or events

After more than a decade of websites being asked repeatedly to link to other websites, tactics A & B are becoming less successful and essentially look more like spam messaging than anything else.

C, D & E are still valid however, C is ultimately limited.

D & E is where PR can really come into play and where link building has been heading over the last few years. This is because the essence of link-building is creating publicity around a brand online. PR is the natural step for a business to build links and is more in line with organic brand building."


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