By Mark Pinsent, Managing Director, Hoffman Europe
Public Relations and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) haven’t always been the happiest of bedfellows let alone entertained thoughts about a long-term commitment. There are a number of potential reasons for the lack of chemistry. Perhaps the historical perception of unethical ‘black hat’ SEO and underhand link-building programmes has put the industry off getting involved, or maybe the thought that it is principally a technical exercise needing specialist skills has kept PR professionals away. But times change. More importantly, so do search engine algorithms.
As an agency we’ve been promoting the benefits of SEO to our clients for a decade now, and a key change made by Google to its search algorithm 2013 (as covered in this post from the boss) and a number of further enhancements since, opened the door for the PR industry’s skills and strengths to make a significant difference to our clients’ SEO performance. But for some reason, we’re still largely failing to fully push through it.
An interesting positioning of PR’s angle on SEO is ‘earned search.’ Google’s algorithms are now focused on returning the ‘best’ content against a search enquiry. But how does Google define what ‘best’ looks like? Well, it’s all about E-A-T, Google’s approach to promoting content that demonstrates three things: Expertise, Authority and Trust. These are all words more than familiar to the PR professional, and there’s a wealth of useful online content on how to create content that delivers on all three (believe me, Google it …).
I recently jumped in the podcast studio with friend of the agency, all-round good guy and SEO expert Chris Lee to discuss the current state of the PR industry’s approach to SEO, and the opportunity that exists. You can link to the conversation below.