How To Boost Search Rankings With a PR SEO Strategy

Learn how to use a PR SEO strategy to achieve higher rankings on critical search engine result pages that matter to your business the most. Written by Jack Hughes

Growing search traffic is a difficult endeavor. Especially, as the world’s biggest search engine, Google, doesn’t disclose exactly what the ranking factors are that help websites appear in search results.

While we still don’t know everything, Google spilled some of the beans in 2016 when Andrey Lipattsev told us that backlinks are among the most important factors in how its algorithm will determine how to rank your site.

However, even the backlink game has been made harder with Google’s Penguin update that penalizes sites that contribute to private blog networks and pay for links on unrelated sites.

So, in a post-penguin world, what is an effective link-building strategy that will grow a website’s search traffic and help it to reach page one on search engine results pages (SERP)?

While you can approach it in many different ways, this article will outline how you can use Public Relations (PR) as a method to secure high-quality, relevant backlinks that will help you reach your search traffic targets.

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Why Is PR Good For SEO?

Publishing high-quality content (content link) that other sites naturally want to link to is difficult, especially when you are starting and your site has low visibility.

According to a study from Ahrefs that looked at two million websites, 66.31% of pages didn’t have a single backlink, and another 26.29% had links from three websites or less. That means only 7.4% of web pages get all of the link juice and most of the search traffic. Here’s how PR can help you to be a part of the 7.4% group.


PR helps you scale link building, earn editorial links, and secure links from high-quality publications relevant to your niche topic.

You will naturally pick up the odd organic link if you publish quality content, but it’s a very slow process. However, if you create newsworthy content and linkable assets and then take it directly to journalists in a format they like, you will accelerate the process and scale your link-building initiatives.

Brand Recognition

As you get published on sites with lots of traffic, your brand recognition will grow because more people will click-through to your website, where they will see your name and logo. This means that people will start to recognize your brand name when they see it in other places like search engine results pages.

82% percent of consumers will select a brand that they know when deciding what to click on in the search results versus an unknown site. So, while brand recognition doesn’t directly improve your SEO, it can improve your click-through rate, which is a ranking signal.

Social Media Shares

Most significant publications will also have thriving social media channels. So, when they publish an article about your business or about the piece of research you have just conducted, it goes out to their audience. 

Then, if you’re lucky, the audience will like and share the post about your article, which exposes it to even more people.

Spreading through social media networks like this will improve your brand recognition which we already know has an indirect effect on your rankings. Furthermore, it will result in more traffic arriving at your site, which is another ranking signal, and some of those people might be writers or journalists who will link to your research or news story.

Learn about social media marketing.

How to find relevant journalists at the right publications

Before we get into sharing how to get PR coverage, you must spend some time figuring out what publications you want to be featured in and finding the journalists that write about your particular topic at those publications.

One journalist from each target publication is sufficient because you don’t want a situation where two journalists pitch the same idea to their editor. It will frustrate the journalists and damage any future relationship that you might have had.

When it comes to finding the right publications start with collecting data on domain authority and average monthly traffic for each target website with tools like Moz’s Domain Analyzer and Similarweb. Quite simply, the higher the numbers, the more link juice your website will receive if you can secure a backlink.

However, you also need to factor in relevance when finding the right publications. A backlink from a site that focuses on the same subject as you or a closely linked topic will be more credible and valuable to your SEO efforts than getting several links from unrelated websites.

When it comes to finding the right journalists, you can hunt them down on Twitter or access a paid media database like Gorkana, Cision, or Prowly. The media databases will have information on most journalists, including phone numbers and email addresses, so you can contact them directly rather than going to a generic inbox. This is essential if you want to improve the efficacy of your outreach because 93% of journalists prefer to be pitched via email.

5 Strategies To Create Newsworthy Press Releases That Gets Coverage And Backlinks

The first step to having a great press release is to approach publications and journalists to create something that bloggers and journalists would naturally want to write about if they saw it.

While it might seem daunting to think of something newsworthy, it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. The aim isn’t to make the front page; the aim is to get your press release picked up by online publications to secure backlinks for your site.

So, as long as you are doing something new and putting that in your press release, you’ll have a good chance of getting published. 

Here are five ways you can do something newsworthy to get coverage and links from your press releases:

New Industry Study or Survey

40% of journalists said that they write about findings from new studies and surveys daily and weekly. So, carrying out an industry study is a brilliant way to get picked up in the media. Again, it doesn’t need to be groundbreaking; it just needs to be something new. Here’s an example of a not very interesting study that got picked up:

Image Credit: PR Newswire

Parks Associates shared the findings from their study on broadband users in a well-written press release, published it on a newswire, and then got links from many sites.

Parks Associate Study Coverage

New Product Launch

Your press release could also focus on a new product that you are launching. Product launch press releases not only gain you a few links, but it’s a great way to gain exposure for your new product.

The more unique, groundbreaking, or engaging your new product is, the more coverage you will get. However, while national publications won’t necessarily be interested in your new product, you will be surprised at how many industry-related publications will be willing to talk about it.

Here’s an example of a great new product launch headline:

New Product Launch - Me Next 3D printed sneakers

Image Credit: PR Newswire

This headline does a great job of impressing the reader with an exciting hook. By highlighting that they are the first to create a 3D printed sneaker, Me Next has highlighted to journalists that this is newsworthy because it has never been done before. Finishing up ‘with aerospace technology’ sprinkles a little bit more magic dust and makes the reader want to know more which will go down well with journalists.


Linking up with another company, celebrity, or influencer for a marketing campaign, new product launch, or a trade agreement are activities worth writing a press release about. Try partnering with a larger company or celebrities and influencers with a big following for the best results because they may already have publications written about them in the past and will do so again.

Whiskey company partners with famous architect & designer for new product launch
Image Credit: PR Newswire

The above example shows how a whiskey company partnered with a world-famous architect to make its new product launch that was arguably already newsworthy even more newsworthy.


Events will always get press because most national publications have whole sections of their websites and print media dedicated to events. So, if your company is hosting, sponsoring, or participating in any event, it’s worth getting it into a press release to get some coverage.

Gaming company opera uses event hook for press release

Image Credit: PR Newswire

The company Opera is leveraging the attention of the world’s largest gaming event by launching a new product at the event and dropping a press release to make sure people know about it. This will lead to a bunch of relevant links from sites within the gaming industry.

Web Design or Rebrand

Admittedly, you won’t always have a new product or upcoming event to talk about. So, what do you do then? Well, writing about something as simple as a website redesign or a rebrand of your packaging can get you coverage in relevant industry news outlets. The key is to write a compelling hook into your headline that makes an otherwise mundane activity newsworthy.

Crypto Currency Merger and Rebrand

Image Credit: Pr Newswire

This example shows a press release talking about a merger and a rebrand. The clever hook comes from using the word unbanked, which is a buzzword among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. So, that word should get relevant industry journalists interested in this merger and rebrand.

Write & Distribute Your Press Release

Hopefully, the strategies we’ve just outlined have given you some ideas on how you can create a newsworthy hook and press release to start acquiring relevant editorial links from websites within your industry. Once you’ve decided on your angle, it’s time to write and distribute your press release.

There are many press release templates on the internet (like these) that you can use to help structure your news story. Ensure to concentrate on the hook to attract the journalist’s attention and triple-check that all the information is accurate. There’s nothing worse than seeing your mistake published on 25 websites!

Finally, the last thing you’ll need to do is distribute your press release, which you can do in two ways.

Target Individual Journalists

This is the best way to make sure that you end up only in the most relevant online publications. It also gives you the chance to personalize your pitch to each title you want to get into. Please find out more about the journalists and read some of their articles to quote them in your pitch email.

93% of journalists like to be pitched with personalized, individual 1:1 emails, and a lack of personalization is the number one reason they reject pitches. So, at minimum, make sure to include their first name and tell them why you’re approaching them specifically with your press release.

As mentioned earlier, use a media database like Gorkana, Cision, or Prowly to find relevant journalists and their contact details.

Send Your Press Release To A Newswire 

Putting your press release on a newswire is excellent for getting your press release in front of the right people, with 37% of journalists checking newswires daily.

Sometimes your press release will be syndicated, which copy and pastes your press release and puts nofollow tags on links and noindex tags on the web pages. So, this type of syndication won’t provide any benefit to your SEO. However, some syndication sites will provide do-follow links, which are valuable.

Your aim for using newswires is to get your press release in front of journalists who use your press release for inspiration, quotes, or statistics for an article they are writing. This way, you will secure organic editorial links with lots of value and relevance.

Ideally, you would target individual journalists and publish to a newswire to maximize your exposure. However, if time is tight, go with a newswire, and if your budget is tight, go with targeting individual journalists.

Develop Your PR SEO Strategy To Start Gaining Quality and Relevant Backlinks That Will Boost Your Website’s Search Rankings

We know that Google values backlinks as one of the most important ranking factors when evaluating your website. A well-thought-out digital PR strategy can help you gain highly relevant links from authoritative sites within your industry. As well as boost your brand recognition and prevalence on social media.

Five effective strategies that you can use to create something newsworthy for your business are:

1. Create a new industry study or survey

2. Talk about a new product launch

3. Partner with other businesses, celebrities, and influencers

4. Host or attend industry events

5. Create interesting hooks about run-of-the-mill things like web redesigns or rebrands.

This will help you create an interesting press release to send out to individual journalists at relevant publications and global newswires for maximum exposure. 

Finally, remember that you don’t have to set any world records; you only have to create exciting hooks around new information relating to your business.

About me

Hi, I’m Jake, and I’m a digital marketing specialist. I’m the head of content marketing at Website Builder Ninja, and I’m also a contributing writer for marketing-focused online publications. Website Builder Ninja reviews the world’s leading DIY website builders to help you find the right platform to grow your online business.