7 Smart Ways to Get Quality SEO Backlinks from PR
Public relations (PR) is playing an increasingly critical role in influencing SEO and demonstrating value with metrics to drive a company’s communications strategy. That’s in large part due to its unique ability to generate high-quality, earned content and obtain valuable backlinks from authoritative outlets.
In today’s socially connected world, brand awareness driven by public relations, content marketing, and social media is more important to businesses than ever before. In fact, according to Hubspot, Improving SEO/organic presence is a priority with 66% of marketers noting SEO growth as their top goal for 2017.
What is a Backlink?
A backlink is when a third-party shares a link to your website, social sites, content, or your brand. How good, or great these links depend on both how they are structured and the domain authority of the referring site.
Generating traffic to your beautifully crafted website is the most important hurdle to overcome. This is where backlinks come into play. Simply put, backlinks are inbound hyperlinks from one website to another website.
You may be thinking, “How is this relevant to my business?” Well, every backlink to your website increases your site’s popularity and pushes it higher in SEO rankings for your industry or niche; they improve your credibility and authority within the marketplace.”—Stanford University
See the link to the Stanford University site in the quote box just above? That is a backlink for the Stanford website. When the digital marketing team is looking through their analytics, they will recognize that link from this 3 Media Web page to their page as a backlink.
FURTHER READING: Can Social Media Really Help With My Company Website’s SEO Rankings?
Quality Backlinks Are The #1 Factor in SEO
Google views backlinks as a measure for votes and popularity. As such, they give priority in search results to companies with the greatest number of backlinks.
But, there’s a catch…
Not just any backlink will get Google’s attention. They have to be high-quality, relevant backlinks. Let me explain…
Not All Backlinks Are Good Backlinks
Backlinks must be from reputable, credible media sources that rank high in Google’s algorithm. While that sounds like an easy obstacle to clear, don’t think you can just go buy up a bunch of backlinks from any old website. Thankfully, updates to Google’s search engine algorithm in recent years sought an end to black-hat SEO techniques and placed a premium on legitimate backlinks from authoritative sources.
Yes, that does make it more difficult to become an authoritative site, but all-in-all it makes the internet a better place for everyone with higher quality content.
What is black-hat SEO? Black hat SEO is a practice against search engine guidelines, used to get a site ranking higher in search results. These unethical tactics don’t solve for the searcher and often end in a penalty from search engines. Black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, cloaking, and using private link networks.—Hubspot
Nofollow vs Dofollow Backlinks
Now, there’s something else you should know about backlinks. There are two major backlink types that you can acquire:
Dofollow links are the ones you want. A dofollow backlink is an inbound link that passes authority from one page to another and builds its rankings in search engine results pages (SERP).
When a site gives a Dofollow link, it is essentially them saying, “I endorse this website.”
When using Dofollow links on your website, you want to make sure they are going to credible, high-authority sites. This helps the Google search algorithm see your site as credible as well.
A nofollow link doesn’t have much influence on building a page’s authority in search.
Essentially, a Nofollow link tells a search engine to ignore the link. Nofollow links are typically used when referencing a problematic website or in the comments section of a blog where users are allowed to post their own links.
For example, WordPress automatically marks backlinks left in the comments section as “Nofollow” to restrict businesses from spamming the comments with links to build their own domain authority.
FURTHER READING: SEO For Humans
7 Smart Strategies to Get SEO Backlinks from PR:
Now, as we’ve established, a Dofollow backlink from a highly-trafficked and respected website can move the needle when it comes to search.
But how do you go about earning quality backlinks from authoritative sites?
In my work as a PR specialist at Red Javelin, I’ve picked up quite a few skills when it comes to earning good backlinks. With that in mind, here are seven tactics PR professionals use to get backlinks:
1. First And Foremost: Create Relevant, Quality Content.
SEO in today’s digital world is about earning links naturally. This is done by creating quality content that target audiences will find useful using targeted keywords.
Use keyword research as a guide for coming up with new topics to write about and creating content. Educate yourself on the hottest issues facing your industry and write about them. Produce helpful, newsworthy, and relevant content that touches on your target market’s pain points and solves real problems for them.
A smart digital marketer will know to repurpose content to fit different audiences using blog posts, infographics, SlideShare, videos, and other engaging formats. Longer content (at least 1,500 words or more) is better than a short article for creating backlinks, including eBooks which are very shareable and linkable.
2. Outreach To Secure Earned Media Coverage And Ask For A Backlink
PR is about pitching to the people who can help you get media placements and backlinks. That’s especially helpful in boosting search results in addition to increasing referral traffic.
Being first to the market garners a lot of backlinks. Coverage may include links to your site via mentions of your company, or an opportunity to guest post on another site.
Without outreach, you’re just pushing out content and hoping someone will bite. And we all know that doesn’t work. Always ask for a backlink.
When your content reach is validated with backlinks from authoritative websites and influencers in your space, you are proving your thought leadership campaigns are working. After that happens, website traffic will likely increase, boosting your PR campaign’s effectiveness.
3. Secure Product Reviews
At this point, you might be noticing a theme, but the old adage, you never get what you don’t ask for is ringing loudly and as true as ever.
Don’t just wait for a publication to notice your product and review it. Seek them out. Just make sure you’re reaching out to the right people. Research the publication and make sure their audience is a good fit for your product.
Find out whether or not the publication even prints reviews–if they don’t, move on to one that does. Secondly, is their website in the same niche as your product? It should be if you want your product review to be well received and drive traffic to your product page.
After reviewing a product, it is rare that a publication will not include a link to the product. However, it’s always smart to reach out to the publication to ensure they will include a backlink to your site or product page.
4. Guest Posting
Guest posting remains one of the best ways to earn valuable links. The key is to contribute to high ranking sites or lesser-known blogs that still have a significant targeted audience.
Focus on the credibility and relevance of the site you are pursuing, as it will always win tenfold.
Don’t use the same content and push to multiple sites as this is seen as spam and you could incur a Google penalty. Remember: get the host to agree on including a dofollow backlink ahead of time.
5. Increase Social Shares With Visual Content
Most SEO experts agree that pages with the highest number total backlinks tended to rank best in Google. More social shares can lead to more incoming links and are important for raising domain authority and page authority.
Create viral, visually appealing content and interesting stories to drive interest and engagement. Infographics receive 3x as many likes and shares on social media as any other type of content. With that in mind, it’s clear that creating assets such as infographics is an excellent way to earn backlinks from other reputable sites on the web
6. Q&A Interviews
Securing interviews is an excellent way to accumulate backlinks to your site. If you have a good rapport with any bloggers or writers, pitch an idea to interview you on their website, podcast, or social media stream.
Additionally, you can interview other industry thought leaders on your site as a method to gain high-quality backlinks. Create round-up interview posts on hot industry topics. Once the interview is posted on your blog, you can then ask your interview subjects to provide a link back to your post on their website.
Oftentimes, they will send out a social media post letting their audience know they’ve been interviewed as well.
7. Speak at Events
Participating in events is a great way to build your reputation as an authority. When you are scheduled to talk, make sure you are listed on the event’s website and that there is a link to your site.
Voila, an easy backlink!
Track Your Results!
At Red Javelin, we provide metrics to our clients so they have a complete picture of the digital impact their PR campaign is resulting in. These metrics include sites that are driving web traffic to theirs, as well as how it is influencing search engine rankings.
Although it’s no easy task, we recommend you do the same for each of your campaigns. That way, you can monitor which types of content is performing best for your website and adjust your content calendar so you’re creating more of the content that drives the most traffic to your website and earns you the most backlinks.
How To Track ROI On PR Campaigns
As PRDaily suggests, there are four big things you can do to track how well your campaigns are going. Although is a complex art to master, I wanted to give you at least a baseline approach to tracking your results, so, let’s go over those briefly now.
How do people interact with your pitch email? Use tools and analytics inside Mailchimp or your email server to track the open rate, response rate, link click-through, as well as how many forwarded the email on to others.
Keep these metrics in a spreadsheet and do periodic analysis to determine what’s working and what’s not.
What was the social media, web, and print outreach of your campaign? PRDaily recommends asking the following questions in relation to how much coverage your
- What is the total amount of people that are talking about your news and giving you a backlink?
- Who are these people, and how much influence and social clout do they have?
- Where is your news performing best? On social media? Web? Or elsewhere?
Determine ROI. Once you’ve established your KPI’s (like how many backlinks and social mentions your campaign acquired), you can use the metrics from above to establish the value of your campaign. Then you can readjust and optimize your strategy based on those findings.
What was long-term coverage like? And, last but not least, don’t stop tracking your results once the initial buzz has faded. Continue to track which backlinks are performing best for your site, then reach out to that site manager to explore others ways you can collaborate and get more backlinks from them.
The Cost Of DIY Digital Marketing & PR
Similar to web design and development, a lot of companies are under the assumption they can do PR themselves. However, without a talented in-house PR division, those companies often encounter less than desirable results from their DIY efforts.
And, in many cases, end up spending more money trying to fix their errors than it would have cost them to work with a professional in the first place.
Earned media, or media coverage that we as PR professionals secure every day continues to be the most powerful element of today’s data-driven SEO marketing strategies.
PR is one of the best ways to generate backlinks and can significantly move the needle for search rank optimization and increase the volume of traffic coming from search.
Forward-looking marketing professionals are optimizing their PR strategy to accomplish SEO goals. By aligning with SEO on keywords and content, shaping a pitch list around SEO impact, and hustling for valuable backlinks, they’re able to demonstrate tremendous business impact and bring smart and valuable tactics into play for a competitive advantage.