Scott L. Baradell, President of Idea Grove, gave a very timely presentation at the PRSA Counselors Academy on the forced marriage of public relations and search engine optimization – a marriage many PR professionals are struggling with.
Like most marriages, no matter how different you may be, you share some similarities. PR and SEO share some common ground – outreach, placements, influences, content – to name a few. To sum up the relationship between SEO and PR, we can use the age-old phrase, “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” Take a look:
SEO is from Mars
PR is from Venus
Historically, SEO wasn’t strategic: it was about the numbers, link building, keyword stuffing, etc. SEO companies never really understood their client and their unique needs. Rather, it was there to serve one purpose: increase the bottom line. Several years later, Google went on a rampage with SEO companies who were practicing “black hat” SEO, stemming from the infamous JCPenney scandal. Google made one change after the other, putting an end to the SEO we used to know.
Scott also shared some enlightening comments from a survey he conducted:
What do PR people say about SEO?
It’s unethical, tactical, is dead or will be soon, we tried it and it didn’t work.
One funny comment: “I was under the impression there would be no math in PR.”
What do SEO people say about PR people?
They are spokespeople and schmoozers, releases are not valued by Google anymore, PR doesn’t drive web traffic, they don’t understand the numbers.
One funny comment: “Does PR stand for page rank or press release?”
So, can this marriage be saved? Scott said if marriages can be saved by going to marriage counseling, then maybe that’s what PR and SEO need to do: seek counseling. We’ve outlined some of his points below.
In conclusion, the only path to success is one that’s fully shared. This means integrating processes in ways most of us haven’t considered yet.