Why your SEO strategy should ALWAYS include your PR team

Written by Lemongrass Marketing on 27th Jul 2021

SEO and PR. How different are they, really?

In terms of planning, execution and required skills – very different.

But their end goals are the same, and they really can work together brilliantly. Let’s explain why the best SEO strategy for travel brands MUST include input from your PR team, plus how the two disciplines can inform each other – and your wider marketing mix.

Is SEO relevant to travel brands?

You might be wondering if putting time and budget into SEO for travel is worth it.

If anything, SEO has never been more important for travel.

The travel market is changing, and challengers are starting to take up more space in search.

After a truly awful year for tourism and travel, digital marketing has become a beacon of hope and in some cases, a lifeline. Those willing to adapt to a new way of marketing their travel business will be in the best position when the world reopens.

Organic search is such a valuable channel for travel brands, because it brings interested customers straight to you. Users type in what they want, and in among the results for their search – they find your website.

Well, that is if you’ve got your research, targeting, technical SEO and content right.

There’s a lot you’ll need to do before you can reap the rewards of organic search marketing. For a start, you’ve got to:

  1. Research what users are searching for (keyword research)
  2. Audit your website to make sure it’s technically proficient (technical SEO)
  3. Update your web copy and on-page elements (on-page SEO)
  4. Create content that attracts the target audience (content marketing)
  5. Build links (digital PR)

This is quite a basic list (to say the least) and each point is a world in itself, which needs expert knowledge.

Getting it right won’t happen overnight. SEO takes time and effort. And even though the clicks are free – it needs a budget.

It boils down to this: you need a technically solid website. You need searchable, user-focused content. And you need links.

When you do get it right, the return on that budget can be astonishing.

Remember, every travel brand has to start somewhere with their SEO. If you don’t put in at least some kind of effort, you’ll never be able to compete. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Even just a little input is enough to tip the needle over time.

But travel PR, and especially digital PR, can rocket-boost your SEO, and get your brand searched, talked about and ranked in Google – even before you launch a digital PR campaign.

Let’s explain how.

How your PR team boosts SEO

Your PR team is uniquely positioned to understand engaging topics and emerging trends, and then give you creative and surprising ways to delight audiences with them.

They’re always looking for a newsjacking opportunity, a search trend or a way of getting the audience’s attention. The data that SEO teams collect as part of their research can be used for campaigns, as PRs pick out the best opportunities.

But it works the other way, too.

For example, even if your travel website is full of content, your PR team can elevate it from “good enough” to the absolute best it can be – because they know what content “sells” to the audience.

That applies to everything; from writing clickable title tags for key pages, to making blog posts a joy to read.

The content, even at the micro-level, becomes exceptional.

Their involvement at the fundamental stages of SEO can tie the overall marketing strategy together: working with the SEO team from the start, a public image can be crafted at the first point of discovery in a search result – even if that’s just the title tag and meta description.

Their knowledge comes from years of pitching, countless instances of trial and error – and a catalogue of success. They know how to get attention, so let them do it with search results.

This is only the start, though.

The big stuff happens when you get creative with data. When SEO and PR teams work together, digital PR campaigns can have a major SEO impact for travel brands.

Glossary of terms: SEO 101

Not sure what we’re talking about? Here’s a little rundown of some common SEO terms, to help you learn the lingo.

Backlink: Backlinks (also known as “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one way links”) are links from one website to a page on another website.

Keyword research: Finding out what users type into search engines, including on average how many users search for those terms each month, and how much competition there is.

Title tag: The title tag is an HTML code tag that allows you to give a web page a title. This is often the clickable text that shows up in search engines.

Meta description: A meta description (sometimes called a meta description attribute or tag) is an HTML element that describes and summarises the contents of your page, for the benefit of users and search engines.

Technical SEO: The practice of ensuring website speed, usability, functionality and security (among many other factors) are optimised, for users firstly and search engines secondly.

On-page SEO: Optimising your web copy and on-page assets (like title tags and meta descriptions), to target your search engine audience more effectively.

How your search visibility is affected by traditional and digital PR

Traditional PR starts conversations about your brand.

It gains exposure in trade and wider press, and it can spill into online conversations – but it doesn’t usually drive links.

It’s still important in the digital age because it drives audiences to search for your brand and can provide that all-important first point of awareness. It can give your brand ownership of search results for its name, and give an overall positive public message.

Digital PR campaigns are more active than passive. They can have longer-lasting effects online, and can help your brand become synonymous with what you do in search – by directly impacting search results through links.

Read more: Traditional vs digital PR: what’s the difference?

That’s because SEO is still largely driven by natural, authoritative backlinks from reputable sources.

And digital PR aims to get links from the most trusted, consumed and widely promoted sources there are: major news outlets.

To do that, digital PRs work across the board with SEO and creative teams, to develop a story that journalists will be dying to cover: one that uses an asset that they’ll have to link to if they want to cover it.

It has to be relevant to the brand, to meet the SEO objective. But to get the coverage in the first place, it has to elicit an emotional response.

That takes a different approach and skill set from SEO. This is where the PR expert shines.

It’s why PR teams need to be involved when you’re outlining an SEO strategy, and why we integrate it into our creative approach to SEO.

Digital PR as part of SEO strategy

The fundamentals of a digital PR campaign are to build exceptionally high quality links (from trusted sources) to key website assets, which then link to other crucial parts of the website – thereby improving the backlink profile of a website, and the organic visibility.

Yes. It’s a bit of a mouthful!

Roughly translated: better links = better search results for your brand. In this way, digital PR gives measurable results that tie into the SEO objective.

It’s got to be part of your SEO strategy.

Beyond rankings, digital PR grows brand exposure on digital platforms, to audiences far and wide. It can spill over into traditional media, getting national or even international coverage.

It becomes a powerful arm of your overall marketing mix – and knowing what content is successful can feed into your social media, your advertising and your email marketing.

With SEO, traditional PR and digital PR, you can own the search results for your brand mentions, and drive the conversation in the media towards your specialism – while appearing in search for the themes and topics you want to target.

Teamwork. It really does make the dream work.

Specialist Travel SEO and Travel PR for the digital age

At Lemongrass Marketing, we create data-driven SEO strategies and digital PR campaigns for travel brands. It’s what we do best – so you can show your customers what you do best. Want to start a project? Call +44 (0)1865 237 990 or send your message to mirjam@lemongrassmarketing.com and let us rocket-boost your travel brand’s SEO.

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We’re Lemongrass Marketing – a specialist digital marketing &  PR agency for travel experiences in the world’s most beautiful destinations. Let’s talk about your next digital campaign. Message Mirjam@lemongrassmarketing.com or call +44 (0)1865 237 990.