Many digital marketers know how important high-quality links are for a website’s SEO — they tell Google that a site is authoritative, trustworthy and credible. Links are also an important factor Google uses to assess the quality of content.
But how do we gain high-quality links? A range of link-building techniques have been developed over the years, but today, perhaps the most popular and effective method is Digital PR.
What is Digital PR?
Digital PR, short for Digital Public Relations, is a marketing strategy that aims to increase a brand’s online presence by driving brand awareness, links and traffic to a website, therefore increasing visibility and boosting organic rankings.
Digital PR supports the SEO of a website (more on this later), but it is also part of many businesses’ wider marketing strategy. As well as being a great link-building tool, Digital PR is also a key way to get content seen by a wider audience and find new customers, as well as present a business as an expert and create more interest in company news.
Link building is still important and widely practised — Digital PR is not only just an aid for this, it also considers the brand and audience, and supports SEO efforts.
How is Digital PR different to traditional PR?
Digital PR has become more popular in recent years, but traditional PR methods have been practised for a long time. While both can cross over with the aims of increasing brand awareness, the main differences are the methods and communication.
Traditional PR tends to focus on more traditional media channels, including billboard advertisements, print publications, and broadcasting, whereas Digital PR focuses on online media channels, like online publications and social media. Digital PR also comes with the benefit of directly improving a brand’s website visibility via links and traffic.
How does Digital PR work?
There are a range of tactics involved in Digital PR, such as sharing data, promoting content and stories, and distributing expert quotes. Another key aspect of Digital PR is creating and sharing linkable assets, such as blog posts, data-led campaigns, press releases, and/or infographics, in the hope that relevant publications will cover the campaign on their website with a link.
Reactive campaigns are another technique often used within Digital PR — content that reacts to a topical news story or trend. This tactic could entail sharing new relevant data, providing a suitable expert comment, or simply offering journalists alternative angles on the trending topic.
These campaigns are much more difficult to plan as they heavily depend on the news cycle and, because current events change quickly, the stories require a quick turnaround. Reactives are a risky technique, but can massively pay off.
Digital PR and SEO
Not only is Digital PR beneficial to a website on its own, but it can also make SEO shine! Digital PR is often referred to as a “white hat” form of link building. While it is a type of link-building, it is a stand-alone marketing strategy that should be done alongside SEO — Google expert John Mueler even considered it more important than other SEO aspects, such as technical SEO.
In the past, people often approached link building with a quantity-over-quality mindset, focusing on acquiring as many links as possible, with a lack of consideration for the relevance or credibility of these links. However, these tactics are no longer effective.
Organic search has become much more competitive, and these old practices struggle to produce any substantial results. Google has become considerably smarter and now determines links by quality — ensuring a referral link is authoritative, relevant, and useful.
These gained links, alongside solid technical SEO and on-site content, can boost search visibility for non-branded key terms, too. SEO is the channel that gets the sales and traffic, and Digital PR is an essential contributing element.
Benefits of Digital PR
We have already touched on some advantages that come with Digital PR as a link-building tool — below are some further details on how Digital PR can support your brand, and SEO more broadly.
Improve brand authority
Digital PR can build a brand’s online presence by gaining exposure. Achieving coverage in relevant, quality publications can ensure your brand name is seen by hundreds of thousands of people, potentially millions, who are interested in your business. Google is also increasingly able to identify brand mentions and factor these into its algorithms when trying to understand a brand’s credibility.
An authoritative brand with a recognisable name can help a business stand out from the competition. According to a study, consumers are 2.5 times more likely to choose a brand they recognise over a lesser-known competitor.
Expand backlink profile
As discussed, the linkable assets and content created for Digital PR are pitched with the aim of securing valuable backlinks from respected publications and websites.
Campaigns that are picked up and linked to will improve the site’s backlink profile, which helps to improve domain authority and ranking positions, as well as driving traffic. Also, any coverage on relevant websites can convert to sales if it’s reaching a brand’s target audience.
As well as gaining links via campaigns, these linkable assets can help to gain even more natural links over time, improving the backlink profile further.
Improve overall Google rankings
Usually, links to a website come off the back of high-quality content, which complements SEO efforts by improving the experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of a brand (E-E-A-T). These relevant, authoritative links signify to Google that the website is a trusted, authoritative source and a credible expert within the niche, which will help to improve a site’s Google ranking.
A trusted domain with a strong backlink profile will make it easier for individual pages and keywords to rank, even if those pages don’t have direct links to them. This happens as Google will look at an overall domain, so some of the ‘link juice’ gained from those pages that have links will spread across the whole site.
Increase referral traffic
As well as improving overall search visibility, the links gained from Digital PR assets will contribute to further referral traffic, thanks to users who read about your brand on other sites, and then click through to find out more.
Often, a piece of PR content can naturally gain links over time via citations, which shows your brand is an authoritative voice on the subject. With these natural links comes further organic referral traffic from relevant websites – benefitting your SEO, brand awareness, and backlink profile.
Increase visibility for specific keywords
SEO and Digital PR work hand-in-hand, and the two can cross over and support one another. The content produced in Digital PR can often tie to the relevant keywords and topics being focused on within SEO.
Sometimes, content written for SEO may have an angle that works for Digital PR and is worth pitching in the hope of gaining links. Both of these tactics can help build visibility for target keywords.
Sales and leads
Digital PR can get your business, service, or product in front of the right audience. Gaining links or coverage in a publication that has the same target audience as your company can massively increase the possibility of converting customers, compared to gaining coverage on sites that have no relevancy. This could bring an influx of qualified, relevant leads.
As well as reaching a more relevant audience with a higher chance of becoming customers, Digital PR can influence your business sales by increasing your brand awareness and trust.
Ultimately, Digital PR is one of the most powerful link-building tools available to businesses today — it can take time, as most link-building tactics can, but the payoff can be significant! The benefits discussed above – such as a quality backlink profile, increasing visibility and rankings, and improving brand authority – can enormously increase both your organic visibility and brand value. If you are interested in Digital PR for your company, whether it is to increase links, brand awareness, or support SEO, get in touch!
Mikaila is the Digital PR team leader with an educational and professional background in Digital PR.