Digital PR – a critical addition to your Performance toolkit

What links Britain's top seaside towns and Google's John Mueller? Our Online Content and PR Manager James Dixon outlines why having a digital PR strategy is essential in 2021.

Digital PR has long been on the SEO scene, but it’s usually been identified as the outsider, the more extravagant younger sibling that many adopt last into a wider strategy. But in the last 12 months there has been a forced change in consumer behaviour and businesses that have been quick to adopt a good SEO strategy have seen some excellent results. Yet, even before the pandemic forced everyone online, fully optimising a company’s digital presence was critical. And enabling digital PR to work alongside SEO clearly maximises results.

Google’s John Mueller set the scene for 2021 and moved the focus firmly to digital PR in a recent tweet. He said: “I love some of the things I see from digital PR, it’s a shame it often gets bucketed with the spammy kind of link building. It’s just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases.”

This incited quite a reaction but Mueller’s key point is that it’s not about replacing technical SEO with digital PR but highlighting the importance of both being used together to achieve a common goal.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a range of award-winning campaigns that have driven incredible SEO results thanks to the digital PR aspect. This success has been down to working closely with the SEO team and coming up with creative ideas that deliver a mixture of high authority and relevant backlinks. Working closely alongside SEO, digital PR can be utilised to increase authority in a brand’s website, improve rankings for target keywords and target specific client’s pages – ultimately leading to conversions and sales. However, it’s crucial to point out that it’s not just about link numbers. They’re not the answer to everything.

Our work on McCarthy Stone for the campaign Top 10 British Seaside Towns is a perfect example of this. This relatively small campaign focused on targeting the keyword group ‘top seaside towns’ and securing links back to the landing page. The results involved 53 links from a range of high authority and relevant sites, delivering more than 159,000 organic sessions and the activity was rerun a few months ago with a 78.53% increase in organic sessions.

This campaign shows how important it is to get the right links, as well as having that SEO input throughout to get the most from your outreach. It also shows the value of having good evergreen content that can be updated and outreached multiple times. In addition, it’s important to ensure that there is an ‘always-on’ strategy that means high authority and relevant links are constantly being pulled through to the domain. And, perhaps most importantly for those looking to adopt digital PR for the first time, these tactics can be incredibly versatile and used to work around any budget.

So, with the incredible results on offer and a variety of flexible ways of achieving them, the question for businesses in 2021 has changed from ‘why should I include digital PR?’ to ‘how much will I miss out on by not doing digital PR?’

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