PR has and always will be about great communication and building effective relations. You want PR to support your sales process, whether you’re a start up or a large established business and that would be through a programme that raises awareness of whatever it is that you do and the great things your product or service does for your customers.

Customers being anything from a mum looking for a treat and up pops your tasty new low calorie granary bar, or businesses looking for a new app or marketing tool to help them run more efficiently. It really doesn’t matter, whilst the target market and the set of media are very different, the PR process and the end result is the same. It about generating media coverage through news stories, articles and the like while managing reputations. PR has been operating like that for a very long time.

Make no mistake this is still a fundamental part of PR but just like every other discipline, it has evolved. It should now deliver much more.

It has become clear that PR can support other aspects of a business’s marketing activities and again it doesn’t matter how big or small that business is. SEO is one area where PR can directly support a company’s marketing efforts.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website more appealing to search engines and people. Making your site more appealing and visible to the likes of Google ensures that when someone searches for your types of product or service your site appears at the top of the rankings. That’s the golden ticket because the likelihood is that if you achieve that then the person searching will buy from you. Properly optimize your site and you’re in lead gen heaven because if you rank highly for a good keyword then over a third of searches will come to you.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? It’s not. Ranking first is tough. Your SEO strategy needs to better than your competitors because they are all fighting to knock you off the top spot. It might sound like hard work but getting to the top is worth investing time and effort.

So how does SEO work?

Search engines like Google send out bots called "spiders" whenever someone types in a search. Google goes away and examines the content of each webpage to tell it what that page is about and then where it ranks. Very little is known about this Google algorithm but choosing the best keywords is crucial. You’ve got to keep the site relevant, active and up to date. Similarly SEO is about generating links from other sites. They play a major part in the ranking algorithm.

So now we get back to PR. You’re probably aware by now that the best way to generate those golden links from other websites – and obviously the ones that carry more weight and are reputable with their readers - is through PR. SEO agencies are great at what they do but in the main they are pretty poor at building those links. Good PR people on the other hand have the experience and the knowledge to get businesses featured in these valued websites. So, get those articles you’re placing into links to your site and you’ll see a big improvement in your site’s rankings. Also, when you’re featured in relevant media and they link to you, you’ll generate referral traffic to your site.

So you can see how the industry has evolved and a good PR person should be contributing to your SEO strategy. Quality coverage is one thing, and great for your business, but the added advantage is it makes that valuable coverage work even harder.

By Andy Brown, Managing Director, Reality PR