What Are PR Links for SEO? (+ Do You Need Them?)
PR links, also known as press links, are a type of backlink that typically comes from a magazine, newspaper, or journalist.
Backlinks are essential to a robust SEO strategy, but some backlinks are worth considerably more than others. PR links are among the most coveted, highly valuable backlinks out there, and securing them can provide a huge boost to your rankings.
Let’s get into what exactly constitutes a PR link, why they’re so special, and what you can do start getting them for your website.
What Are PR Links?
Back in the pre-internet days, the purpose of a PR campaign was to get as many positive media mentions of a person, product, or service as possible. The more reputable and widely circulated the publication, the better. If a publication was widely read, it meant lots of eyeballs on a PR story. While traditional PR still has an important role to play in the media and marketing landscape, digital PR has emerged as a modern version that aims to get those same juicy mentions online.
Today, a mention from a top publication is worth more than just the fresh eyes you can get on your product or service. As valuable as that can be, there is also the benefit of a significant potential boost to your SEO rankings.
Not unlike traditional press mentions, PR links are often the product of a fantastic pitch, story, or piece of content, and they have an editorial component. In other words, an editorial decision must be made to include a PR link. It isn’t the product of a financial transaction, but rather the product of a choice on the part of a journalist, editor or publication to include a link because they see it as strengthening their story.
PR Links and SEO
The best PR links are SEO gold mines.
Because top publications tend to be very high in domain authority.
While domain authority isn’t an internal metric or ranking factor at Google, it’s a very good indicator of how well a website is likely to perform in Google’s search algorithm. The closer a website’s DA is to 100, the likelier it is to be seen as highly authoritative and reputable by Google. In turn, it is likelier to appear at the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Alright, so all of this sounds great for the top publications, but does any of this matter for the websites they provide PR links to? As it turns out, it matters quite a lot.
Backlinks provide something called link juice, or page rank, to the pages they point to. They might provide a little bit, or they might provide a lot. The higher the link juice, the higher the number of positive reputational points that are being shared from the linking site to the recipient of the link.
High-DA sites provide a large amount of link juice to the pages they link to. In other words, Google considers PR links from top publications to be very good indicators that your website is worthy of appearing higher in search results. The resulting boost to your SEO performance from a few high-quality PR links can be significant
4 Benefits of PR Links
One of the primary reasons to focus on securing PR links as part of your overall link-building strategy is the large potential SEO payoff if you succeed in securing links from high-DA publications. But that’s not the only reason you should be paying attention to PR links.
Here are some other benefits that make this type of link worth the effort to secure.
1. E-A-T boost
Unfortunately, we’re not talking about what you’re going to have for dinner tonight. E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and it’s an increasingly important concept in SEO.
While E-A-T may not be a direct score that Google assigns and uses as a ranking factor, they do algorithmically assess if a website demonstrates high E-A-T. A website with high expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness is seen by Google as a good search result to show users when they conduct a relevant search.
Links from authoritative sites such as large magazines or publications are one of the most important indicators of high E-A-T. If a publication with rigorous standards sees your site as worth sharing with its audience, Google has a good reason to view your site as authoritative and trustworthy.
2. Audience trust
Setting aside SEO for a moment, a positive mention on the website of a reputable publication also gives consumers a reliable reason to trust what is being said about your business.
For example, consider product reviews. If a website has lots of positive reviews on its site, but negative reviews on a third-party page such as Yelp, consumers will be skeptical because they’ll weigh the third-party source more heavily.
Similarly, a positive mention in a third-party publication can be weighed more significantly in the minds of your target customers than reviews and testimonials on your own site.
3. More clicks
Unfortunately, many links on smaller websites don’t get that many clicks. They may still be helpful from an SEO perspective, but they won’t necessarily drive tons of traffic to your site directly.
That’s not the case with PR links. Particularly if the website linking to you is very relevant to your niche, you can enjoy a significant bump in traffic just from the link, before the SEO benefits even kick in.
It’s normal in the world of SEO to find yourself running around in circles with your competitors: you research one another’s backlink profiles and reach out to the same websites for backlinks.
PR links are less prone to this kind of activity because they’re not easy to replicate. Competitors have to come up with their own pitches and their own original spin on a story; they can’t just hijack yours.
7 PR Links Best Practices
We’ve established that PR links should be a part of your link-building strategy since they are uniquely able to deliver significant SEO and marketing benefits.
- Find HARO link opportunities
- Use press releases
- Quality is more important than quantity
- Site relevancy matters
- PR links to landing pages are better
- Use descriptive text
- Create linkable content
Now, we’ll go over how you can secure these mighty backlinks for yourself.
1. Find HARO link opportunities
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out, and these opportunities can be found by registering yourself as a HARO source.
Reporters frequently require blurbs or insights from experts, and if they use you as their resource, you’ll earn a link in the process.
2. Use press releases
Lots of traditional PR activities now take place digitally, but the press release isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The key to a successful press release is making it as easy as possible for a journalist to write a story using the information you have provided.
Let them know what the story is around your news, rather than just providing an update about your company.
3. Quality is more important than quantity
It can be tempting to send your press release to websites that are more or less dedicated to reposting them, but this can do more harm than good.
Those PR links won’t deliver any of the benefits we’ve been discussing in this article, and on the contrary, they can look like the product of shady, black-hat SEO practices.
Google tends to punish these practices, so focus instead on identifying publications and journalists in your niche who can provide real value by including a PR link to your website in their work.
4. Site relevancy matters
It isn’t just press release mills you need to avoid; even reputable publications won’t help you much from an SEO perspective if their content is completely irrelevant to your niche.
A link to your article about how to change a tire wouldn’t get much page juice from a mention on a food blog, even if it receives tons of traffic.
5. PR links to landing pages are better
A link to your website homepage won’t hurt, but it’s even better if a PR link points to a relevant landing page.
For example, this might be a product page or a blog post. This seems more authentic and useful to Google since it suggests there is something specifically important or relevant on that page.
While some PR links to your homepage are okay, encourage publications to link to a variety of pages.
6. Use descriptive text
Just as it’s better for a website to link to a variety of landing pages, it’s better for the hyperlinked text to be varied as well.
Rather than always using your brand or business name as the link text, encourage publications to use other text that describes the content they’re linking to. This provides more information to Google, and to readers.
For example, “click here” doesn’t tell Google or site visitors much. “These luxurious sheets” tells both bots and users that they’re likely to be taken to a product page for some high-end sheets.
7. Create linkable content
Creating fantastic content that others, including journalists and magazines, will be eager to share is as close to a secret magic technique as you’ll find in SEO.
If you’ve created a useful resource, entertaining post, informative infographic, or anything else similarly shareable, those you pitch to are likely to see the value in sharing it with their own audiences.
PR links from high-authority websites are an SEO jackpot, but winning them doesn’t have to be a lottery. You can take action to secure more of these links through HARO, well-crafted press releases, valuable content, and targeted outreach.
Plus, you don’t have to do it alone. With a little help from your help at Loganix, you can get your backlink profile in tip-top shape. From a full SEO audit to a little help with press releases, we can help you reach your SEO goals.