SEO and media relations have more in common than you think

Not that long ago, PR pros made their name on their ability to get a client in the newspaper or on TV – The Hodges Partnership especially. Heck, most people thought media relations and public relations were synonymous. But then newsroom attrition started making pitching significantly more difficult, all the while social and digital media rose in favor, giving PR practitioners a new sandbox to play in.

As a result, many have decried media relations to be dead (it’s not), and to instead focus on improving your SEO so your business is more easily found on search engines. Improving SEO is a great strategy, but with the changing rules governing SEO, media relations can actually be one of the most effective ways to boost your SEO.


A good SEO strategy used to mean stuffing your website copy with the right keywords – sometimes at the sake of your message. Today though, sites like Google know when companies are cheating the system, and actually devalues their ranking for doing so. What does improve your ranking is the quality of your content, but also who’s talking about you – you know, kind of like media relations.

The current SEO algorithms rely upon positive attention, so contrary to the old adage, there really is such a thing as bad publicity. So if a reputable news outlet like the Wall Street Journal or the TODAY Show posts an online story about your company that links back to your site, Google is going to factor that into your search ranking in a big way.

People have always been skeptical of self-endorsing marketing language, which is why media relations has been so important. People trust your messaging more when it’s been vetted and covered by an impartial news outlet. So in addition to having your website appear high on a Google search, the more news coverage in your organization someone can find online is going to help establish your credibility with potential clients.

Sure, earned media might be harder these days, and tempting to abandon in favor of owned and paid media strategies, but as the shifting SEO algorithms have shown, the days of needing other people to talk about your company are far from over.

Free download: 5 reasons your media relations strategy is failing

Greg Surber

Greg Surber, APR, is a public relations strategist through and through. He works on a variety of accounts, leading research projects and content strategies, but he also has extensive experience with more traditional PR efforts including national and trade media relations campaigns.

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