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PR Links Unraveled: A Definitive Guide to Boosting Your Digital Presence

Introduction

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Press releases are an excellent way for brands to inform the public about exciting company news. But they don’t have a direct effort on SEO. However, having a PR link-building strategy is still key to building a robust online presence. There are ways that PR links can turn into PR referral traffic down the line. 

You wouldn’t be wrong if you thought PR links don’t do anything for SEO. PR links don’t have a direct effect on search engine rankings. 

So why are we here?

We’re here to talk about how brands can turn SEO-neutral PR links into a vital part of a traditional link building strategy. 

Modern digital press releases contain nofollow links only, meaning that there is no SEO benefit for them being there. In PR content, top tier backlinks are there to boost your credibility. It shows that your brand is authentic, the news story is accurate, and the domain is not a fraud.

Plus, when used correctly, PR links can give additional press coverage in other high-authority online publications that will provide top tier backlinks that you may not have received otherwise. Effective Digital PR is a key tool within Digital Marketing.

White Hat PR vs. Black Hat PR

There are two kinds of PR links in this world: white-hat PR and black-hat PR. White hat PR links are top tier backlinks that were earned within the guidelines set by Google.

Black hat PR links, on the other hand, are spammy attempts at making a fake business seem real or just an unethical way of “earning” high quality PR backlinks

This guide contains everything you need to know about PR links, including how they work and how to get them. If you’re beginning to create a solid link-building approach or if you need to update your backlink knowledge, you are in the right place. 

Let’s start super basic before taking a deep dive into all the details:

What are “PR Links”?

A PR link is any link from a media news outlet’s website. They are an essential part of digital PR links strategies because they show search engines that the content that your business publishes online is trustworthy and comes from a reputable source.

PR links are one of the key things to get when getting B2B SEO services.

When executed properly, news outlets and press release publications can be the source of powerful backlinks.

Websites of this nature have high domain authority, so earning valuable PR links in their publications is a big deal for SEO. Simply being mentioned on their website tells Google that your brand is a trusted source of information and raises your domain authority in return. 

PR links

While Google has not shared its specific rubric for rating domain authority, there are many online tools and resources that help domain owners understand how authoritative and trustworthy their website is according to what we know about Google’s algorithm. 

No one can definitively say what the effect of backlinks is on domain authority. But we all know the importance of a strong link-building strategy for increasing organic traffic to our websites and proving to search engines that our organizations are legitimate. 

How Important is the Authority of a Domain?

Backlinks are a core fundamental of practicing strategic SEO. Search engines such as Google use backlinks as a proxy for measuring authority, one of four key components (known as E.E.A.T.) to their ranking algorithm: experience, expertise, authority, and trust.

The more knowledgeable, trusted, and reputable a domain is, the higher it will appear in relevant search results. 

These high authority domains will naturally have a larger number of websites that link back to them because of the value their website offers their customers. Becoming an authoritative website goes alongside executing an effective SEO strategy. 

You can check domains authority using SEO tools.

Ahrefs

Before Google updated its algorithm to verify the authoritativeness of a particular website, many companies used unethical methods of stuffing articles with anchored keyword backlinks or buying backlinks without earning them.

Back then, anyone could publish a press release anywhere online without going through the proper vetting process and using it as an advertising platform instead of a news distribution channel. 

The Birth of Nofollow

As you can imagine, this did not go well.

The internet was still the Wild West, and people started writing anything and calling it a press release. However, Google took notice when people started abusing newswires and online publications to generate high quality backlinks to boost their search engine ranking. 

As a result, the search engine began penalizing domains. If they exploited press release websites to grow their backlink profile and turn reputable news websites into link farms, their shape was downgraded. 

Link Farms

To restore balance across the web, Google established that all press links must be tagged as ‘nofollow.’ Links with a nofollow tag are not crawled by search engines and are essentially neutral in terms of SEO. 

If PR links are SEO-neutral, then what’s the point?

While PR links don’t directly affect SEO, they still play an important role in improving a brand’s online reputation. It helps keep investors and customers in the know about exciting company news and can help maintain a positive consumer perception. 

No matter if you have an in-house digital marketing team or are engaging outsourced marketing services when a press release aligns with an overarching marketing strategy, there can be significant SEO benefits. 

How PR Links Work

When a digital PR firm sends a press release to be published on a newswire or other media channel, such as social media, there is no SEO benefit for the organization. And we already discussed the ethical controversy that comes with press releases. So how do PR links work?

After the digital PR firm sends off your press release, their work begins. They use their social media expertise as well as their contacts and business relationships.

Some of the press release links built using enterprise-level SEO strategies won’t affect page rankings of large sites but would generate new leads and traffic in a more direct way.

Through these sources, they can find other journalists and content creators who want to pick up the story and write it as a new story for a different audience. Outreach like this is where the actual value of digital PR link building exists. 

Link bait content

Your PR content can be turned into any number of blog posts, explainer videos, and other pieces of content geared to engage audiences and drive referral traffic to your website.

At this point, the article is no longer considered a press release, and the content will be backlinked to you by the authors and creators who use your story to write their content. 

Additionally, these newly published backlinks are do-follow. The site where the article is published gets an SEO benefit from linking to your authoritative brand, and you get SEO benefits in the form of high PR links and brand awareness.

All of these factors combine to give your link building PR and SEO a significant boost in the end. 

How to Begin a Digital PR Campaign the right way

As you can see, getting PR links is only half the battle. Optimizing your press releases so search engines trust your content is another factor. So how do you ensure that your digital PR linking efforts help your SEO rather than hinder it?

1. Don’t Focus on SEO

That’s right. Press releases are one type of content that you do not want to over-optimize. Press release content should be thought of less as an SEO asset and more as a brand awareness piece.

The goal of PR isn’t to drive traffic to your website; it’s to get the word out about new and exciting things that your brand is getting involved with. 

Digital PR vs Traditional PR

If you focus too much on SEO, crawlers might flag the content, putting your credibility down the drain.

Instead of focusing on SEO when writing PR content, focus on what you say and how it reflects on your organization. Companies that offer professional marketing services know how much SEO is too much SEO.

2. Say Something Meaningful

It takes more than just distributing a PR piece to as many publications as possible. You need a good piece of content that tells a story.

Don’t just write a PR piece to throw your brand into the news cycle. It will quickly get lost in the noise of accurate news-worthy content. 

Instead, your PR content needs to have a purpose.

Say something that has meaning for your audience. Then people will want to share your PR piece, spread brand awareness, and wonder what killer moves your brand will make next. Say something meaningful, and high quality backlinks will follow. 

3. Write Effectively

Writing a PR piece differs from writing an engaging blog post. It’s not meant to generate leads or end up at the top of search engine results. A good PR piece will be structured, and organized and give readers the information in a professional manner. 

  • Compelling Headline and Strong Opening: A captivating headline and a strong opening are essential to grab attention and entice readers to continue engaging with your publication. These elements set the tone and generate initial interest.
  • Clear Objective: Defining a clear purpose and goal for your PR publication is crucial. Understanding what you want to achieve will guide your content and messaging, ensuring it remains focused and impactful.
  • Use of Data and Statistics: Incorporate relevant data, statistics, or case studies to support your claims and add credibility to your message.
  • Key Message and Storytelling: Clearly conveying your main message or story in a compelling and relatable manner is crucial. Storytelling techniques help in making your content more memorable and engaging.
  • Call-to-Action (CTA) and Measurement: Including a clear call-to-action guides readers on what steps to take next after engaging with your content. Additionally, measuring the publication’s effectiveness through google analytics or feedback helps in evaluating its impact and informs future strategies.

Your objective should be clear, with correct grammar and usage, and written for an authoritative target audience. That way, when high authority websites see your content in the future, they will remember your brand and trust that it is a reputable source of information. 

4. Know Your Audience

You’ve heard it a thousand times. Know. Your. Audience.

No matter the content you create, it must be geared toward a specific targeted audience. Otherwise, it’s in danger of falling flat and getting lost with all the other low-grade content in search results.

While a PR article is not meant to make sales or drive traffic, it does have a specific purpose for a specific targeted audience: investors, industry authorities, competitors, and your most loyal brand evangelists. 

Unless your PR content goes viral, it probably will not generate very many new leads. Give the reader another reason to connect with your brand by directing readers to additional information that can be found on your website.

5. Go Easy On Keywords

Anchored links with keywords are not suitable for PR content. Using too many keywords without anchored text is equally harmful to your brand. As we discussed earlier, PR content is not meant to hit the top spot of search engine results. 

Anchor text

PR content should create interest and spread awareness about your brand. Too much keyword optimization can end up penalizing your website. Instead, use general company-related keywords. 

6. Find Quality Distribution Channels

Don’t send a PR piece to every channel you can think of. Choose PR distribution channels with care to ensure that the latest news about your brand reaches the right people and shows search engines that your company has a history of appearing on quality domains. 

Plus, getting your PR content featured can be costly. Many PR news websites require a fee for pictures, hyperlinks, videos, and other media used in the press release, so you’ll need to choose wisely to get the most value. 

7. No Follow All PR Links

Finally, as counter-intuitive as it feels, tag all backlinks in the press release as ‘no-follow.’ This tells search engines that the purpose of the PR content is to share news and not to build links unethically. 

nofollow link example bluetree

Marking your backlinks as no-follow might hurt inside, but it will pay off in the long run. It helps boost your brand’s credibility in the eyes of search engines like Google and ensures that your domain is not penalized for black hat SEO practices. 

We Live and Breathe Digital PR

BlueTree offers expert digital PR services to create unique, linkable content that your customers want to read about.

Our industry authorities and news publications can help your brand get viral backlinks to enhance your brand’s organic search engine traffic and increase growth.

We are a PR link-building agency that helps you build a loyal following that is dying to hear about the latest news from their favorite brand: yours.

Earning PR links that contribute to your SEO goals is an uphill battle. Nofollow policies and ethical standards are important to keep the news free from misinformation, but they make it difficult to find reputable PR links that drive traffic to your website.

BlueTree’s digital PR strategy does more than just get the word out about your brand. We also develop different types of content to help your PR piece get noticed by all the right people. 

BlueTree offers digital PR services that include SEO to boost your rankings with a white hat link-building strategy. The results are long-term, organic, unstoppable growth.

If you would like to skyrocket your business, contact us, and let’s start building an effective PR strategy.

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Sia Mohajer

Get acquainted with Sia Mohajer, the brain behind some of BlueTree's most successful link-building campaigns. Read, learn, and grow.

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