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. According to Hubspot, Improving SEO/organic presence is a priority with 66% of marketers noting SEO growth as their top goal for 2017. With its unique ability to generate high-quality, earned content and obtain valuable backlinks from authoritative outlets, PR is playing an increasingly critical role in influencing SEO and demonstrating value with metrics to drive a company’s communications strategy. 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.

What is a Backlink?

A backlink is when there is a link to your website, social sites, or content you’re your brand is mentioned by a third-party. How good, or great these links depend on both how they are structured and the domain authority of the referring site.

Quality Backlinks are #1 Factor in SEO

Google views backlinks as a measure for votes and popularity and gives priority in search to companies with the greatest number of quality, relevant backlinks. PR is one of the best ways to generate these and can significantly move the needle for search rank optimization and increase the volume of traffic coming from search.

Types of Backlinks

Regardless of what you set out to achieve online, there are two major backlink types that you can acquire – the dofollow and nofollow link. 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 SERP. A nofollow link doesn’t have much influence on building a page’s authority in search.

Relevant, Quality Content Matters

SEO in today’s digital world is about earning links naturally 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. Repurpose to 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.

The Quality of the Link Matters

Besides the need to have high-quality content, the links must be from reputable, credible media sources that rank high in Google’s algorithm – ones with high Domain Authority. Google’s updates to its search engine algorithm in recent years sought to end black-hat SEO techniques and place a premium on legitimate backlinks from authoritative sources. One link from a highly trafficked and respected website can move the needle when it comes to search.

PR professionals have already established authoritative relationships with influencers, reporters, bloggers and sites in the industry that companies need to help gain those quality backlinks that are earned. As experts in various sectors of the B2B technology industry, my company Red Javelin is immersed every day in the trends, reading what reporters are writing about and knows what content is newsworthy and meaningful for not only raising brand awareness but also driving SEO results.

So here are 7 Smart Strategies to Get SEO Backlinks from PR:

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  1. Outreach to secure earned media coverage and ask for a backlink – PR is about pitching the people who can help you get media placements and backlinks, especially helpful in boosting search results in addition to increasing referral traffic. Being first to market garners a lot of backlinks. Coverage may include links to your site, mentions about 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 and website traffic will likely increase, boosting your PR campaign’s effectiveness.
  2. Secure Product Reviews – After reviewing a product, it is rare that a publication will not include a link to the product but ask for the link to make sure.
  3. Guest posting – Guest posting remains one of the best ways to earn valuable links when you contribute to high page rank 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. Don’t forget to get the host to agree to include a follow backlink from their blog or website to yours and for you to promote it on social media and link it to your own blog.
  4. Increase social shares with visual content Most SEOs 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. At Red Javelin, we provide metrics that give a complete picture of PR’s digital impact from driving web traffic to influencing search engine ranking.
  5. Visual content drives links – 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 infographics for your site is an excellent way to earn backlinks from other reputable sites on the web
  6. Q&A Interviews – Create round-up interview posts or be interviewed by others on hot industry topics. Ask your interview subjects to provide a link back to your post on their website.
  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!

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.

Want to learn more about SEO? Read our guide:

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