As publicists and #girlbosses we are constantly engaged in a dance to balance our clients’ long-term goals (brand building) with their short-term needs. Specifically, most clients need to see results quickly in order to inspire confidence in the larger campaign. While it often takes many weeks to prepare, pitch, and secure the sort of features placements many clients dream of, here at VPR, we pursue expert input pieces that publish on shorter deadlines across the web to help us deliver results quicker.

There are many reasons we love digital placements – we know our clients love seeing their name in (digital) print, they help to build credibility and brand awareness, and we love working with those editors. So we were thrilled when one of the most impressive marketing minds we know got down and dirty with us on exactly why this kind of exposure is so valuable from a search engine optimization perspective.

Read on to hear how Katie Bourke, partner at New Jersey-based healthcare marketing agency Points Group(and VPR partner), explains the many ways PR can lead to exciting and valuable results.

Victory PR: How can PR services contribute to the performance of a website?

Katie Bourke, Points Group: PR helps with the performance of a website in many different ways. Some key ways are:

  • Promoting media placements on your website provides a trust signal to prospective consumers or patients. When media talks about you, they are providing valuable third-party credibility. The value of an unrelated person talking about you and/or using you as an industry expert far surpasses the value of a one-off paid advertisement.
  • Promoting media placements on your website also creates fresh content.

VPR: When it comes to search engine optimization, how would you qualify the value of the links we provide?

KB: Having another website link to yours is important on many levels!

  • If someone’s reading an article that links to yours, it drives relevant traffic to your site since it’s a safe assumption that if the reader was interested in an article where your expertise was valued, they are most likely among your target audience as well.
  • Google looks at links pointing to your website as a major ranking factor.  These links show that other people respect your expertise and demonstrate to Google that you are speaking from authority. However, not all links are created equal and some have more value than others. The most damaging misunderstanding of the importance of link building is practices like purchasing links. PR (earned media) is one of the best ways to build your link profile.
  • Another way clients benefit from this kind of exposure is when the article uses a keyword to hyperlink to their website. For example, an orthopedic surgeon might lend her expertise to a story about nerve pain in which the words minimally invasive spine surgery are linked back to her website (this is called anchor text). Not only does she get credit for that link, but it tells Google that her website has something to do with minimally invasive spine surgery and helps it rank for that particular keyword.
  • It’s not uncommon for other sites to republish articles and when that happens it creates even more quality links.

VPR: How long would you say it takes to see the benefit of these sort of links and how long does the benefit last?

KB: You can see immediate benefits from link building when readers click the link and navigate to your website. It can take a couple of months to see the benefit of improved organic ranking on Google but be patient – it will come!

VPR: We’ve loved working with Points Group! Why do you think it’s important for marketing and PR agencies to work together on initiatives like SEO?

KB: Marketing agencies and PR agencies each bring different, important pieces to the SEO puzzle. While PR is a great way to build valuable links, it’s just one piece of the pie. There is also keyword research to create the content your audience is searching for, website user experience, the mechanics of your website, on-site optimization, directory list management, and even more to consider. The best results are seen when marketing agencies and PR agencies work together for a strong SEO campaign.

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