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SEO For PR, and How To Bounce Back From Negative Publicity

June 22, 2020

The purpose of Search Engine Optimisation is to drive traffic to a brand’s website thereby boosting the brand’s visibility. That’s putting it simply. On the other hand, public relations aims to promote the brand and shape public perception about it. Both are important for strategically boosting a brand’s audience base. More so, in their functions, there is an overlap already, and there is a lot that your SEO and PR teams can gain by working together.

For one, both SEO and PR have to do with producing and promoting content that shapes the image of the brand. Also, both sides are involved in media outreach for promotion. In these ways, they can be mutually beneficial for the success of the company.

The Mutual Benefits of SEO and PR

  • Traffic data useful for PR campaigns. Data from SEO analytics tools can give insights into the performance of media campaigns. It is easy to tell what impacts the campaigns had on your audience, and also determine which class of audience remain unreached and must be targeted.
  • PR in SEO helps to boost your adherence to Google’s ranking factors E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness).
    • PR content such as press releases makes good link building opportunities. Collaborating with the SEO team would enable them to come up with high-quality keywords, as well as branded anchor text for backlinks. These would ensure that the PR content attracts higher traffic and gain for the brand more visibility.
    • PR sites are authoritative sites and backlinks from their sites signal third-party endorsement, an important ranking factor. Therefore, PR with SEO is a great way to not only control the narrative but also strengthen your domain authority.
  • Trustworthiness is important for higher search rankings as well. By sustaining online credibility, PR campaigns help build public trust in a brand. For instance, you can create a page on your website dedicated to press releases and important brand mentions. Most sites label this page ‘press’. It gives credence to your site and boosts the visitor’s trust.
  • PR helps to boost brand awareness. SEO experts often underrate the importance of building awareness, choosing rather focus on generating traffic and leads. It is important to understand that, while revenue is important, awareness is too.

Besides, awareness – done right – necessarily leads to increased revenue. Impression-based campaigns are just as important as growing your brand. For an SEO tilted too far towards generating conversions, imbibing a PR strategy ensures a balance.

Reacting to Negative Comments

Every successful business out there has suffered bad press before. Whenever your brand is confronted with such an issue, do your best to respond as quickly as possible. That doesn’t mean typing and posting anything. Instead, it means posting a calm, measured, and professional response. This is usually the job of the PR team.

However, what if you post a response and it gets drowned in the pool of disparaging comments? That is where SEO comes in. When you discuss your response with the SEO team, they can come up with strategic measures to ensure that the response ranks the highest and drowns out the negativities.

Guest Blogging

This is important because of Google’s diversity update, which was introduced last year. It makes it more unlikely for two or more results from one domain to rank for a search query. That means, churning out blogs on your article would likely not work as only one would probably rank. That means you need to vary the spread of your information. Besides PR sites, guest blogging comes to mind.

The relationship that the SEO team must have established with sites on which they regularly guest-blog would prove important when there is a crisis. They can easily put out information to counter whatever negative press the brand might have been suffering. Likewise, the SEO team would have done adequate keyword research focused on countering the negative press.

Have a contingency plan

Bad press can hit from whatever direction and at any time. The least you can do is to be prepared for it. That means your SEO and PR teams working hand-in-hand to craft the most suitable strategy for overcoming the challenge. What you don’t want to have in the amid a PR crisis is two teams from your putting out different (and worse, conflicting) messages. Brand consistency and cohesion must apply to moments of crises too.


It is harder to deal with negative PR than to maintain a positive image. Therefore, your best bet is to prevent it from happening. Ensure this by optimizing your SEO strategy. For instance, what results show up when someone randomly looks up your brand name? The first page should be filled with your site links, links to authoritative sites that have mentioned your brand, etc. Developing a strong SEO outlook helps mitigate the effect of any adverse publicity that may arise, making it easier to deal with. But, first, ensure a working collaboration between your SEO and PR teams.


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