To link or not to link

3 min read 18 April 2019

It can be argued the impact that good PR can have on your SEO performance being much more significant than all of the other channels above combined. Mobas PR Account Manager Stefana discusses how PR and SEO can work together to amplify brand awareness.

Having worked in PR and communications for nearly five years, my goal in my day-to-day job is clear: increase brand awareness for my clients. What that entails however, is an ever-shifting concept depending on client priorities, market trends and new tools becoming widely available. One question that always seems to come up is around the value of print versus online press coverage: should we aim for a print newspaper or magazine that has a small but engaged audience? Or is it preferable to venture into the great world of online, where audiences are wide and content is sharable? And if we do get online coverage, how do we get that all-important link to drive traffic to the client’s website?

All of these questions were top of mind when I went to an event organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) East Anglia Group. The event was held following a journalist rant on social media over the number of PR practitioners requesting hyperlinks within the editorial copy. As The Times’ correspondent Deirdre Hipwell tweeted, it should be enough that the company achieves a mention, “without trying to wangle free advertising too”.

Here are a few of my takeaways.

PR and SEO are natural allies

The media landscape is slowly shifting towards online, as more and more publications change their priorities from print to websites, e-editions and news apps – Glamour, Shortlist and NME are the most recent examples. Consequently, this moves PR activities closer to the online sphere and aligns its aims with those of SEO. Not only does online coverage generated through PR help with overall brand awareness, the resulting link works towards increasing the organic search ranking of a brand, further developing the number of touch points where company and customer can interact.

Quality linking is reader-focused linking

When it comes to link building, there is a balance between PR, SEO, and media outlet aims that needs to be struck and the point of convergence is the reader. Often, PR professionals will be met with resistance when asking for links to clients’ websites or social media channels to be included in online coverage, as media outlets can have strict ‘no-link’ policies. Reasons can include the publication’s own SEO strategy to maintain authority or the perception that linking to a company equals free promotion.

A good way to understand links is by looking at them as if they were citations in an academic paper. If you were a reader reviewing an article about a company, would a link to that brand help improve your user experience by offering a direct connection to the source of that information? Or would you find it too much of a distraction? These questions are what quality linking boils down to and whether you’re a PR, SEO or media outlet, the reader’s journey needs to be top of mind when answering them.

At Mobas, our PR and SEO teams work together to offer a strategic and targeted approach to link building which connects the right brands with the right audiences at the right time. Get in touch with us if you want to find out more using the contact details below.