Any good SEO expert will understand the sheer value of backlinks. The more links that point to your website, the more authoritative Google sees your website (that’s in short, by the way, if I started explaining Google ranking factors in their entirety, I think it could take all day). The brunt of it is: link builders are of fundamental importance, but very few seem to master this skill.
Well, it transpires that very few seem to properly get the hang of link building through outreach. If you want to build your earned backlinks, the clue hides in the name. You have to earn them. But this isn’t easy. In fact, it’s very difficult and is probably the core reason why so many SEO executives who just try to pick up link building on a whim fail.
The missing link? Public Relations.
Why Do Link Builders Need Good PR Knowledge?
The reason why many fail, in my opinion, is because the ‘outreaching’ part is the most important aspect of any link building tactic. You can learn and master a tactic all day long, but no amount of tutorials will ever be able to match the education you get in communicating and being creative that a PR background will give you. Some say that those in PR are born into the profession, and while I don’t believe that’s true, there are certain qualities you have to possess in order to be an effective PR person. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- You need to be able to understand the media, and what they look for in a story. While you and your team may get caught up in an idea that you think is great, you should first vet it against what the journalists you’ll be targeting tend to cover. Any good PR person will follow this process.
- PR will also teach you how to communicate. How to tell a great story. You’re going to want to convince journalists that your story is not only one they’ll want to cover, but one they’ll want to link to.
- You’ll have the creative abilities. You’ll be able to think of ideas and take them to the press. You’ll understand newsjacking, utilising different media outlets to tell a story and you’ll need to have the brain to be constantly thinking up new ways to get coverage and new ways to get links.
Can Any PR Pro Be A Link Builder?
This is an interesting question. Because I tend to brand digital PR people as particularly special. This is because not only they understand the value of public relations, but they appreciate the value of links too. This is something that people with traditional PR backgrounds can’t always grasp. Coverage is coverage at the end of the day, unlinked or not. A traditional PR professional will be pleased with a media placement and whether a backlink has been included in that piece or not tends to make no difference. Those hardwired with digital PR and link-building tendencies, however, break a sweat until we’ve secured that sweet backlink in a piece.
How Valuable Is Digital PR To Link Building?
I might be biased but I don’t think there is a better way of link building than through digital PR (so media relations, and occasionally educated guest post placements, too).
Not only do you generate arguably the highest quality of backlinks, but there are also not too many people who work in this remit, making the practice more lucrative and more valuable.
Link building isn’t easy. Many argue it’s the hardest SEO practice to master. I believe that education into PR and communications is the best way to start, before plunging headfirst into being link-driven. Learn how to communicate, and get to know the value of building relationships. Learn what makes a good campaign and how to sell a story. And then, once you’ve learned media relations (as we like to call it), and only then, the time will come to learn link building. Here, you should learn the value of links and how they’ll affect your SEO rankings. Learn how to acquire links and convince publications to link back to your website.
Combine all of that together, and you have a perfect link builder, the kind that are few and far between.
If you don’t get the basics right, then not only do you jeopardise your chances of earning backlinks both now and in the future, but you also risk damaging the reputation of both yourself and your client. All it takes is one tweet to spread like wildfire, and if your outreach tactics aren’t up to scratch, it could be you on the receiving end of that burn.
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