This article first appeared as Anthony Bullick’s column in the Daily Post on 26 September.

Move your PR activity beyond traditional media relations to boost your visibility in search results.

There is a science behind why search engines rank websites in a certain order in their results. Although the exact workings of Google’s (and Bing’s!) algorithm is not made public, they have confirmed some of the key ranking factors, which point straight to the outcomes of digital PR activity.

The biggest connection between PR and search engine optimisation (SEO) is links. Links from other websites to yours acts as a thumbs up to Google to say ‘this site is a reliable source’.

PR activity, including press releases, thought leadership, and expert commentary can lead to online coverage. A website that is relevant to your industry or is highly trusted by the search engine giant, eg a news outlet such as the BBC, that uses the content and links to you will significantly boost your results.

Digital PR also includes video for PR. A journalistic-style interview filmed, edited, and submitted along with the press release can increase the chances of online coverage, with the media keen to use video to boost engagement on their platforms.

Publishing the content on your own blog or news page will also benefit your digital marketing because Google rewards sites with fresh, relevant content. In addition, a PR person will naturally include in the copy key phrases you are trying to rank for, which is important because Google penalises websites that shoehorn such phrases in in an attempt to manipulate the search results.

Integrated PR also adds social media into the mix. Used effectively, the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram can extend the reach of your content and place it in front of new audiences. This can lead to further online coverage and links.

In addition, the added exposure on social media, along with other activity such as securing coverage as editorial in newspapers and magazines and sending e-newsletters, could cause an increase in brand-related searches.

This increase in visitors, along with an increase in engagement on your website, is spotted by Google. In a nutshell, it thinks ‘if all these people are searching for this brand for a particular type of product, service, or content, then it must be a valuable source’. Which ultimately means Google putting more weight behind your site in the search results.