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Moving on Up! Using PR to Drive SEO Rankings

Drawing people to your website and keeping them engaged is key to ranking higher in search engines, and your public relations (PR) messages and media outreach have a big impact on your firm’s searchability. Search engine optimization (SEO), a marketing discipline focused on improving search engine rankings to drive traffic to your website, is no longer strictly the result of a technically proficient website. There are PR strategies that can improve your SEO ranking.

The benefit of a high SEO ranking means that when a potential client searches on the company name or a relevant topic, your firm is more likely to appear at the top of the search results. Landing at the top of an online search helps to:

  • Increase visibility of your company and recognition of the brand
  • Communicate thought leadership as an industry leader
  • Highlight competitive differentiators and technical expertise
  • Help business development by turning cold calls into warm calls
  • Attract and engage potential clients with valuable insights.

Today, SEO is boosted by distributing high-quality, relevant content and having credible websites link to your content to drive traffic to you. How do you achieve those? Through the steady flow of content created by a thoughtful PR strategy.

The role of PR in SEO

Media coverage can help a company demonstrate technical expertise, raise visibility with target audiences, and showcase thought leadership in a vertical market. Press releases, byline articles, blog entries, and case studies – strategically designed to support a company’s business and marketing plans – should be widely distributed to gain coverage across a variety of media sources. When a media organization posts your content online with a link to your website, it drives more people to your website and raises your SEO.

To establish and maintain good SEO, it is essential to create fresh and consistent content, and post it to your firm’s website, on a regular basis. Content can be used to showcase your firm’s culture and personality, and promote conversation to engage a target audience. The longer a visitor stays on your website to browse or read an article, the higher your SEO ranking. Even older blog posts can be repurposed with timely updates to share again and maintain website traffic.

While search engines provide higher rankings to data-rich content that address audience needs, the strategic use of relevant keywords should be included to further boost your PR messages. A good rule to follow is seven keywords per 1,000 words of content, which is easily achieved by adding a keyword to the title, the opening, and five times throughout the body of a press release, blog, or article. Any more than this and search engines consider it “keyword stuffing,” which could actually decrease your SEO ranking.

When selecting keywords, add variety through the use of related words and phrases. (Hint: Search your focus keyword in Google and similar keywords will appear at the bottom of the page.) The use of long-tail keywords, or three- or four-word phrases, helps clients that search on more specific and detailed terms to find your website.

Additional PR Methods to Improve SEO


A blog is an excellent method to deliver news, expertise, or thoughts on market trends to your target audience. Enlist your team to help brainstorm topics, share writing responsibilities, and edit for spelling and grammatical errors as well as technical details. Each blog post should focus on one keyword. With two million blog posts published daily, and many bloggers posting two to six times per week, it is important to make your blog stand apart from the rest. While most people aim for 500 to 700 words for a blog post, challenge yourself to create longer entries as blog posts of 1,500 to 2,000 words boost SEO rankings.

Social Media

Social media platforms provide a simple and fast way to distribute your PR content while building your brand and engaging with your audience. Social media also has the power to influence SEO ranking position, as search engines examine social signals and put weight on the quantity of your postings, how many people interact with you, and how often your content is shared. By tagging relevant firms, publications, and thought leaders in your social media posts, you also gain access to their social media audiences and expand your reach.

Facebook continues to rank as the highest weighted platform across multiple industries, with Pinterest, Twitter, and Google Plus also top sites. Identify the best platforms for your industry and work to build a solid base of followers. Social media content should be relevant and engaging to encourage interaction and sharing, and linked to your website to drive traffic there. Don’t be shy about boosting your posts to promote your content. A small fee can place your posts in view of your main competitor’s social media visitors.

Press Release Distribution Services

Another way for your content to gain powerful exposure from earned media is with the use of wire distribution services such as PR Newswire. Your press release will be distributed to thousands of websites along with traditional media in your targeted regional area, industry trade publications, and the wire service’s website. This wide-net release distribution can reverberate across market sectors and geographies – and again help with SEO.

The digital flow of news today offers a wealth of opportunities to provide your target audience with insightful content, and it’s your role as a marketer to harness that visibility to boost SEO. By working with your firm’s experts to create a culture of content development, you can leverage PR to drive people to your website – and improve your SEO ranking.


Susan Shelby, FSMPS, CPSM, is the president and CEO of Rhino Public Relations, a full-service PR and marketing agency focused on meeting the unique needs of professional services firms. Rhino PR offers customized services based on each individual client’s goals and budget. Susan received the 2016 SMPS Boston Marketing Professional of the Year Award, which honors marketing excellence in the A/E/C industry. Follow her @RhinoPRBoston or visit for more information about how Rhino PR can help you take charge of your PR.

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