In part one of our conversation with the Co-Founder of Threepipe, Jim Hawker commented that PR people have a huge impact on positive SEO but that this is more by accident than by design. In a new interview, Jim chats to us about how SEO and PR should work together to create content, why PR agencies need to have a more SEO mindset and why they need to invest in more specialist skills.
“Just a couple of months ago Threepipe acquired an SEO agency to complement our existing PR and paid media teams and to continue our digital first strategy in terms of providing clients with the type of thinking and services that they are looking for. We made the decision to acquire an agency rather than retrain people to really accelerate our capability but also because we feel that SEO requires a dedicated resource that we can call upon.
“As more of our programmes move into more of a content led approach there is a real opportunity to deliver a commercial SEO benefit to the clients. Wrapping an SEO understanding around these programmes from the planning to the measurement stage is crucial to demonstrating value, which is obviously of huge benefit to the agency as well as the client.
“Until now SEO has kept quite a distance from the PR programmes with different agencies as well as client side teams, budgets and measurement criteria. This will change rapidly for lots of reasons but mainly because of Google. Google will continue to reward those brands that are not just creating fresh and relevant onsite content but also those brands that continue to receive high domain authority earned media links and this is where PR agencies can have a massive impact.
“PR agencies claim to deliver SEO services but this is more by accident than by design and is often a natural by-product of an online media relations or social content campaign. However, these programmes are rarely constructed with an SEO mindset which makes for a wasted opportunity.
“My advice for other PR agencies would be to bring in more specialist skills and not to simply replace ‘like-for-like’ when people leave. Take the opportunity when people leave to rebalance the skills within the agency, that modern PR programmes require.
“At the simplest level, PR and SEO teams can work together to build content calendars that don’t just fit the media agenda but also reflect growing search trends. Then understanding how SEO can help to distribute and measure the impact of that content will be hugely beneficial to the success of the programme.
“In the meantime though there are lots of blogs and editorial sites that offer practical advice that you can start embedding into plans from today. The total value of the SEO industry is higher than that of PR so why wouldn’t you invest in the opportunity, not just as an agency owner but also as a professional looking to skill oneself up for the future.”