Backlinking and SEO For Public Relations Professionals

By Sara Pudvelis

In the world of SEO, backlinks have been the holy grail for ranking high in search results. The more quality backlinks a website has, the better that site will rank on Google. With the amount of content available today, quality backlinks can help to ensure a client breaks through the clutter and isn’t lost by the most popular search engines. In today’s world, it is important to give clients that page one spot because “less than 10% of people advance to Page 2.”

Public relations professionals see the value in backlinking because most come from earned media. For example, if a publication interviews a client’s CEO for an online article, that’s great, but if they also add in a link to the CEO’s company or a blog post on the CEO’s company website, that’s even better.

In the simplest of terms, a backlink is an incoming link from one website to another. If this link is a dofollow link from a reputable website, it may positively impact the search results positioning of the site being linked to on Google. If the link is a nofollow link, it may not have great SEO value, but it can still drive traffic to a website, social media page, or a piece of branded content. Both types have a way of positively influencing more people to visit a client’s site and, ultimately, can have a positive SEO effect as long as the link is from a legitimate, reputable website.

So, as a public relations professional, when is it the right time to ask for a backlink from journalists or publications? The answer is, there is no right answer, but here are some tips to help:

  • Be Smart: The most important thing about backlinking in public relations is doing some research first. Explore the media outlet, ask questions within your agency, and find out if the outlet is accepting of a backlink in a byline. Some media outlets are becoming accepting of this and using it more often, while others would ignore it. You do not want to lose a placement altogether because you were trying to promote a click to a client’s homepage.
  • Balance: Decide if this backlink would add value or just be a selfish promotion. This is not a paid advertisement that can include a tagline and drive clicks of curiosity to your website. However, if it is a value adding link back to something meaningful then it can be very worthwhile.
  • Think in Links: Is there an infographic or statistic in a blog on your website that is being referenced? If so, this is the perfect opportunity for a backlink. Journalists and publications will use links in referencing and citing sources. If this link is to your client’s content, then you will benefit from it.

At Matter, our public relations team is lucky enough to work alongside our search engine optimization team. To learn more about how our services could impact your page ranking or earned media efforts, contact us here.