How digital PR and SEO go hand-in-hand to optimise sales

a laptop on a table with google open

Call us nerds, but at Honest we love learning! We’re always looking for ways to expand our knowledge and improve our skills, so our learning and development programme is a key part of our company culture. We offer several initiatives to help the team upskill, including two days per employee reserved for CPD time each month, monthly knowledge shares, and our newest initiative – regular external guest speakers.

Recently we invited friends of Honest and SEO agency, Gravity Digital, for a deep dive into how we can evolve our digital PR activity for clients, to ensure we’re ticking as many SEO boxes as possible….

We’re living in a digital world

It’s stating the obvious to say that digital activity is an essential part of any business’s marketing approach. As PR specialists we know too well that nowadays it’s not enough for companies to focus purely on traditional means of communication – brands must ensure their digital presence is strong to reach the right consumers.

So how can digital PR help?

Digital PR should be a vital part of any strategy. Not only can it help increase brand visibility, reach target audiences and increase social proof, but it also goes hand in hand with SEO to increase search engine ranking and ultimately, drive traffic.

It’s estimated that the top three spots on Google search results get 52% of all clicks, and only 0.6% of users click through to the second page of search results – so if you’re not in those top few results, you simply won’t be seen! It therefore pays to pay attention to digital PR and SEO – literally!

Here’s a whistle-stop tour of our discussion with Gravity about how Digital PR can boost your brand’s SEO…

Keywords are just that – key!

Keywords or phrases act as beacons of light for search engines – they guide algorithms to understand the context and relevance of a webpage, thereby attracting your target audience, driving traffic and boosting conversions. Digital PR can strategically incorporate relevant phrases into articles, significantly enhancing the chances of those pieces appearing more prominently in search engine results pages and in turn, boosting SEO.

The more specific the keywords, the better. Generic phrases can be too competitive, and therefore fruitless. Instead, get specific – “thorn-proof gardening gloves” is likely to be much more successful than simply “gardening gloves.”

Build trusted backlinks

Links between websites and pages act as navigational pathways to guide visitors, enhance user experience, and vitally, provide search engine crawlers with a “roadmap” to explore and index your website.

Digital PR can help generate those all-important backlinks from media platforms, which act as a digital endorsement for the credibility, relevance and trustworthiness of your site. Each website is given a so-called Domain Authority score by search engines, and the higher this number out of 100 the better. Quality over quantity is key – it’s better to have a few strong links from trusted sites with a high Domain Authority that are relevant to your brand or service, rather than several from a toxic website. In fact, links from a toxic site can negatively impact your score!

It is worth noting that many publications have realised there’s money to be made in backlinks, and often charge brands to include a backlink. Luckily, many journalists are happy to include them for PR specialists they have strong relationships with – which is where we can help!

A woman pointing to a screen presenting a session about digital PR and SEO

Eye-catching visuals are key

High-quality imagery has always been important in PR, but when it comes to digital product placements, eye-catching visuals are even more key. The right imagery used in the right way can boost SEO significantly.

It’s not as simple as selecting a pretty picture – it must be the right size (below 1MB) to prevent slowing down a webpage, it must be captioned correctly using keywords, and should always include alt text. This provides search engines with valuable context about the content of a webpage, helping understand its relevance to user queries.

Don’t forget demographic

Of course, it’s not all about DA score and keywords. We know that content must be engaging and informative, or people simply won’t read it, and we understand the importance of getting brands featured on the right websites.

It’s all well and good littering a press release with buzzwords, but too much reliance on key phrases can make a piece illegible and uninteresting. Likewise, securing a backlink from a website with a high Domain Authority is great, but if those readers aren’t the right demographic, then the likelihood to purchase is low and chance of conversion is minimal.

It’s a fine balancing act between pleasing the search engine algorithm while reaching the right people – and luckily it’s something that we’ve got down to a fine art!

Our key takeaways

Dani – “It’s more than just producing quality and informative writing – you have to please the robot powers that be, too, and use relevant, specific keywords throughout to flag their attention.”

Kerry – “Backlinks are intrinsic to boosting SEO, but it’s just as important to pay attention to the bad domain authority scores as it is the good – too many inbound links from toxic websites can damage your DA score!
Holly – “As PR people, it’s easy for us to get carried away with words! But with the fight for attention getting more difficult, it’s so important for us not to overlook the importance of creating eye-catching, engaging visuals to get our information across too. And then remember to optimise them for the best performance in terms of image size, load speed and file names.”

Beth – “Digital PR is a fine balancing act between telling a brand’s story in an engaging way to the target audience while ticking those all-important SEO boxes – while keywords and DA scores are important, you’ve always got to keep the reader in mind!”

Sophie – “As I am relatively new to the world of PR, I didn’t fully appreciate how intrinsically SEO and Digital PR are linked. It’s vital to update and optimise content regularly to maintain SEO relevancy.”

And finally, remember that the digital world is always evolving, and it’s all about keeping abreast of the latest trends and changes. As Fay wisely said – “There’s a science and a process to improving SEO ranking, with a number of elements that contribute to it – it’s about playing the game, and staying up to date with what the rules of the game are!”

If you’d like help boosting your online presence through digital PR, get in touch with us!