Is There a Difference Between SEO and Online PR?

February 17th, 2015 in SEO 2 minute read

The definition of PR according to the PRSA is: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and the public.” So PR is about building relationships and exposing brands. It’s about having someone in place to ‘boast’ about your brand so you don’t have to. This definition also applies perfectly to our SEO and Organic Promotion offering here at Zeal, so the question is: what’s the difference between SEO and online PR?

Modern off-page SEO or Outreach, or Organic Promotion as we call it at Zeal, involves reaching out to influential people online to set up collaborations. These collaborations could come in the shape of guest posts, links, or brand reinforcements. Traditional PR focuses on brand exposure mostly in print so how and why have SEO and online PR become happily married?

Google is continuously trying to improve their service to show the most relevant results to a keyword search. However, it’s more than just showing a page that is relevant to that keyword search. Google is now focusing on the customer experience, thereby favouring results of brands who have optimised their site for the customer, and not just for Google. Also, with the Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird updates focusing on removing ‘old school SEO’ web spam and focusing on useful and quality content, SEO had to change. The result is a more ‘honest’ off-page SEO approach, generating brand mentions, social media shares, and links from people who are genuinely interested in the brand or product. Very similar to what online PR entails.

There are still differences between SEO and online PR. One such difference is in outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing. Generally speaking, SEO is inbound marketing that serves the purpose of fulfilling existing demands, and PR is outbound marketing; it creates new demand for products or services to generate awareness and interest in them. This doesn’t mean there isn’t an overlap, and there is an opportunity to combine the two into a more powerful marketing approach.

That approach starts with content. A content calendar based on the brand message and goals is a must. It creates a space where SEO and PR can plan activity based on seasonal events and other company specific events or promotions. For SEO it is something to plan the off-page strategy around, and for PR it creates a place to plan events and topical press opportunities that fit into the overall content strategy.

Here at Zeal we work with an integrated Content Marketing, SEO, Social, and PR approach where our client specific content calendars help set the overall strategy. This overall strategy enables us to keep brand consistency over the different channels, and work towards the same goals.

Even though there might only be a slight difference between SEO and online PR, the key objective is to use the two channels towards the same end goal. An integrated marketing strategy with a combination of inbound and outbound marketing is an effective way of reaching your targets in a long-lasting and efficient way. We can do this for you with our Organic Promotion and online PR offering. Get in touch if you want to find out more.

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