Meet your SEO: Dave Harrison
Today I am interviewing Dave Harrison. Dave is not only one of our smashing Senior Off Page Executives, but he's also our in house PR specialist. Actually, I am on the train with Dave right now going to do an online PR training session with one of the UK's most famous luxury brands. Here at Search Labs we all know that Dave likes his luxury fashion, but apart from his passion for fashion, he's also got a real passion for everything 'PR'....
What do you enjoy most about SEO?
"Personally, I really enjoy the fact it enables me and the great people I work with to think both strategically and creative. On the creative side of things, coming up with awesome content that people will want to link to naturally is great. However, it's also important to plan how and why websites will want to link to it. SEO is a long term investment, and this is why it's important to be able to think strategically and also not only keep up with latest industry developments, but be at the cutting edge of them".
"Most websites already have a wealth of information that can be used for securing links, it's just a case of really knowing your client, their industry and of course their website".
Can you explain why it's so important to link SEO and PR?
"PR is basically SEO on steroids. The skill set between a good SEO and a good PR will have a lot of overlap, and the goal of creating content to get coverage is the same. PR is all about managing brand reputation, and this is most commonly done by securing favourable news coverage. From a PR point of view, a good news story on, say the BBC is brilliant. It'll get seen by a large audience, and hopefully make people think of your brand or product more favourably. From an SEO point of view, a link from the BBC is pretty much the Golden Egg and will do some serious improvement to your rankings".
"If you, your PR agency or agency get a story on the BBC or any of the major news publications then it's silly not to use that as a source of a high quality, authoritative link, particularly following the Penguin update. Nobody knows what Google et al. are going to do next, but they will look favourably at those sites which are linked to from sites such as the BBC, The Guardian, or even a local weekly newspaper or a specialist publication such as Computer Weekly".
What do we need to do to successfully link PR and SEO?
"As someone who has worked in both camps, it's easy to see that there is a lot of scepticism and distrust on both sides. SEO is not some dark art, not at Search Labs anyway. Similarly, PR is not all about quaffing champagne at parties and 'spin'. In my experience, the best results for clients have always come when there is great communication between those responsible for SEO and those responsible for PR".
"As an SEO, I'm not going to tell a PRO how to write a press release, but I might suggest a few tweaks here and there. This is not to undermine you, or take credit for someone else's work, but to include a few keywords that the client wants to rank for. Also, if you have a great PR campaign or news story planned, then why not share it with the SEO agency. Surely you want maximum exposure for your work and your client? We can harness your great idea to increase the amount of coverage and boost your client's rankings in the SERPs. Blogger relations are what SEO is about, not something to be tagged on to a campaign once attempts at wooing the mainstream press has failed.
And finally, our top tips for using online PR for SEO:
1 | Ask for existing relationships with journalists, influencers, magazines.
2 | Ask about PR calendar and release dates.
3 | Receive PR publications to chase them up for a link.
4 | Know your client and the industry niche to recommend PR topics to the client.
5 | Don't separate PR from SEO – they have to be one strong collaborative unit!