There’s an interesting blog conversation going on right now, which grew out of a recent Twitter discussion on the value of PR vs. SEO. UK PR pro Stuart Bruce kicked things off by trying to define just what PR is for, and how SEO alone can’t accomplish PR’s goals. The Holistic Search blog responds with discussion of getting PR and SEO teams to work towards a common goal. Marshall Manson at Edelman Digital then talks about how, ultimately, good PR is good SEO.
Click through and read them all for valuable discussion and great comments. I’d like to particularly point out one of Manson’s comments:
My own view is that SEO, literally defined as an effort to improve performance in organic searches for a defined set of key words is far too often nothing more than an organized attempt to trick search engines. Too many SEO firms are selling solutions that involve solutions like paid “link building” and other dubious tactics . . . On the other hand, good online PR is about helping clients connect with audiences on the basis of a shared interest. A key aspect is ensuring that the content of the conversation is real, meaningful, and interesting. Transparency is also vital.
For Business Wire’s part, Manson is right on here. While we offer a suite of SEO tools, including our Press Release Builder and its keyword analysis and placement functions, all of our tools and advice are in the service of the well-written, properly distributed press release. All the keywords in the world can’t substitute for good content — if they could, press releases would just consist of a list of keywords and a company name! (Not that “black hat” SEO/SEM firms haven’t tried things like this.) Your SEO efforts on press releases need to be part of an engaging story about your company and its news.
And your press releases should be part of an ongoing strategy which includes publishing your news on your own website, properly targeting your news, and building relationships with journalists, bloggers and consumers. All of these things will help, as one commenter puts it, to make sure your name and your brand are in the right place at the right time when people are looking for them.