Updated: Sep 13
I originally wrote this blog in August17 and what made me want to revisit it is a quotation I spotted on LinkedIn by Rand Fishkin this month re the ROI of digital PR.
In a report called ‘The state of link building 2021‘ by Aira, it asked what techniques we use for link building and Rand said:
“Shocked to see digital PR / influencer outreach so low. The effectiveness of PR for earning the kinds of links that move the needle is, IMO, unmatched. Not that other tactics can’t work, just that few can match the ROI of digital PR.”
The conversation I had with Cathal Melinn at the Digital Marketing Institute in Dublin was about including hyperlinks in my blogs to another person’s (quality) web page, and to know if it would positively affect my page ranking. “Links to other people’s sites won’t massively affect your ranking”, he said, “but it will have a small effect. Linking to low quality sites can also have a small, negative effect on your quality so you should always be aware of who you link to.”
Cathal had written to students in 2017 to say that Google has categorically stated that social media metrics do not influence SEO. His thoughts on this, however, are that social media metrics might not, but social media can influence SEO, albeit indirectly.
I was interested to hear more!
Social media efforts can lead to quality backlinks. Social media marketing is all about sharing your best and creating engagement around that content. The more engaging your content, the more people will share, creating more opportunities for people to find and link to your content on their blogs and articles. And when that happens, you are creating quality backlinks, which is a ranking factor for SEO.
Social media increases the visibility of your website and content.
With lots of referrals coming from social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Etc, your site starts receiving more traffic. The more quality traffic your website receives – and the more that social media platforms are considered as a quality referral – the more the Google algorithm takes notice and helps increase your SEO ranking.
Social media helps build brand awareness. This might look like more of a branding advantage than a SEO advantage, but there is a SEO gain to be had here. Increasing your brand awareness on social media will lead to increased online brand presence.
So far a logical loop.
This increased brand presence and awareness will lead to more brand searches on Google, and the more brand searches your brand receives, the higher it is likely to rank for non-branded keywords. “It’s a bit of a strange relationship but the relationship is there”.
In response to my question about links, Cathal replied that links can be from any site but ideally from similar or relevant content / pages on that site. Excitedly he said that newspaper links are “amazing”, because newspapers or current affairs will have lots of themes – if the link from the newspaper is relevant to you – because ideally you want links from relevant content on sites.
Quality sites are those Google rates highly based on the number of backlinks, traffic, website, brand awareness and freshness of content.
Another question in the Aira report was to know what percentage of overall marketing budget is dedicated to link building, specifically to capture answers from those who use budget but not on external suppliers.
“I think it’s misleading for someone who’s thinking of starting a link building campaign for the first time to think that it’s going to cost almost nothing. The reason why someone links back to a website is that they found something of value there, that’s worth sharing with their friends, readers, followers etc. So there are two things that need to happen for someone to link back to you:
you need to produce something of value
and you need to make sure others see it.
Producing something of value always has a cost. Sometimes that means spending time and calories, not actual budget, but there is a cost. Depending on the existing resources and goals (not all links are equal, it depends what you’re looking to get); sometimes it’s better to keep the activity in-house, or it makes more sense to actually carve out budget and have an agency do the heavy lifting. ” – Irina Nica, Hubspot
If you would like to chat about the effectiveness of PR in helping with Search Engine Optimisation, contact me via the Contact page.