Marketing and public relations (PR) have traditionally been separate disciplines and departments within a business. Marketing is typically focused on communicating with potential customers and generating leads and sales through websites, direct email, social media and advertising. PR is focused on building thought leadership by getting mentioned by influencers in a company’s target market.
To learn more about digital marketing, check out the 2017 Guide to Lead Generation.
Search Marketing Rules
But the disciplines have been on a trajectory to merge, especially with the explosion of inbound and search-oriented marketing. Because the vast majority of buyers now research online before selecting a supplier, businesses are in fierce competition to get found first during the buyer’s search process. This involves creating content that is optimized around the search terms people use when looking for solutions, and ranking among the search results when those keywords are entered.
The Battle for Search Ranking
Search engine optimization (SEO) has become the chief battlefield in this competition. Getting ranked in top search engine results requires understanding how search engines decide what pages to deliver to searchers. Search marketing company SEMrush recently published a study of the most influential ranking factors and top among them are backlinks–links to your website from other reputable websites.
“Backlink factors are extremely important for rankings,” the study said. “All backlink factors impact one another.”
PR and Backlinks
It turns out the PR in the digital age is one of the most powerful ways to generate quality backlinks as trade, business, and news sites are highly reputable and can carry a great deal of weight with search engines.
Because most news is now published online, getting covered by quality news outlets usually involves including a link to your company’s website in the story. Boom! A backlink. The quality of a backlink can be measured by a score developed by another search company, SEO Moz, that that measures a site’s domain authority. A high domain authority means that a site has been deemed highly credible and popular in for the site’s area of focus. Links back to your websites from other sites with high domain authority will boost your SEO cred in the eyes of search engines.
SEO Moz calculates domain authority using a number of factors including the quality of links to and from a website, the amount of content shared on social media, and the quality of a site’s on-page SEO (keywords, titles, tags, etc.). You can get a free toolbar (Mozbar) from SEO Moz that will show you the domain authority of any website, including your own, within your browser.
PR, Lead Generation, and Sales
Because media backlinks can be so valuable, they can play a large role in your sites search rankings, and lead more people to your site. This means your traffic will increase and with it, the potential for increased leads and sales. In addition to having strong domain authority, backlinks must also be from sites that are relevant to your business. “Search engines want to provide relevance in their search results,” says Steve Napier of UK SEO company SEO Mark, “and so it’s logical that relevance is a consideration when they evaluate backlinks, which are the primary factor affecting where sites rank in their results.”
Marketing Best Practices
Digital marketing best practices include optimizing your website to capture leads with content offers, forms, and email nurturing programs. PR can make marketing more successful by improving search rankings and attracting more traffic to your site. Marketing can make PR more successful by helping generate leads and sales as well as through leadership and brand recognition.