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There is a glitch in the B2B marketing matrix, which is to say there is an opportunity for companies that fix it.

Securing high-quality backlinks is one of the two most important SEO factors for ranking on Page One of search results.

Unfortunately, most companies fail at link-building. Why? Well, do you hire a dentist to do your taxes?

Then why on earth are you hiring a marketing expert to pitch stories to the media? Last time I checked, this is what PR experts do.

How the Lunacy Began

In 2016, Google said publicly that backlinks were paramount for achieving higher rankings.

Marketing and SEO agencies began "acquiring" backlinks by any means necessary. That included black hat tactics such as inorganic link stuffing and paid posts.

Initially, it worked... until Google got hip to the scheme and shut it down.

The Google Algorithm Is Smarter Than Us

The Google algorithm knows when a link is natural and organic—or not.

When a real reporter from a top-tier media outlet writes a story that links back to your website, Google rewards your website big time! It is pure gold.

Companies using black hat tactics, on the other hand, receive harsh penalties. Ask anyone who's been penalized by Google. It is hard to ever bounce back.

SEO Link-Building Has Fully Morphed Into a PR Job

Getting high-quality backlinks from DA 90+ websites, like USA Today and CNBC, can be difficult even for the best PR experts in the world—you know, the people who do this for a living.

Unfortunately, when most PR people hear the term "domain authority," they think you are speaking French.

That is why marketers should look to hire a digital PR agency that knows how to secure backlinks to drive SEO.

Six Reasons to Hire a Digital PR Agency for SEO Link-Building

1. Relationships With Reporters

The old adage "It is not what you know, but who you know," is true for SEO link-building.

Reporters receive hundreds of pitches every day, so having a personal relationship with them is invaluable. Lifelong PR experts have collaborated with reporters—and wined and dined them—for decades. That gives them a significant advantage over someone trying cold outreach.

Even if a PR expert's long-time contacts at USA Today say they are not the right person for a story, they may refer you to a better reporter. Whereas, if the reporters do not know you, they are likely to not respond at all.

2. 90% of Content Gets Zero Traffic

Unfortunately, 90.6% of content gets zero traffic, according to Ahrefs. That's because SEO-writing and PR-pitching are two vastly different propositions.

PR people know how to craft newsworthy content for an audience of reporters that will maximize backlinks. SEO writers have a different objective: cramming keywords into the content. It is fine to do that in most blog posts, but not for content that will be pitched to media, as it will ring repetitive and unprofessional—and will be destined for the trash bin.

3. Understanding What Is Newsworthy

Another growing trend in B2B content marketing and SEO circles is to create "evergreen" content that media can use anytime, so links flow in passively year-round. Although good in theory, PR experts know that the most newsworthy pitches are timely.

Accounting firms should pitch around tax day, diamond ring companies around Valentine's Day, and green companies around Earth Day. In the 24-hour news cycle, the key is to strike while the iron is hot and create an annual content calendar that makes everything timely.

4. Avoid Google Penalties

Beware of SEO experts offering a "menu" of sites with prices to "purchase" backlinks. The Google algorithm is no fool, and it will penalize for "acquiring" links this way in 2024. Once Google penalizes a website for black hat SEO, the site may never recover.

Links from a trusted digital PR agency are written by real reporters from top-tier outlets. They are not paid posts or guest posts; they are of the highest quality and above reproach. That ensures your search engine rankings will soar without the fear of penalties associated with manipulative link acquisition.

5. Media Training for Executives

Great content gets picked up by media outlets as is, but often a reporter will want to interview an executive. If the content has loads of third-party data, the executive who did not write the content and is not close to the data may wish to decline, which would lose you the backlink.

A PR person can train the executive to deftly handle interviews to secure the link. And you end up with an additional benefit: positive traditional PR coverage for the executive and the brand.

6. Newsjacking

A savvy way to get links from national outlets is to capitalize on big breaking news. If your company serves as a business consultancy, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a report that the five-year survival rate for entrepreneurs reached a record high, it is an enormous opportunity for DA 90+ backlinks.

A PR pitch offering an interview with an executive should go out immediately to explain why entrepreneurs are succeeding like never before. In such instances, time is of the essence, and if you meander you will miss the boat.

PR people are trained to monitor the news and spring into action immediately when news drops.

* * *

Getting on Page One of Google can make or break your business. Getting backlinks from high-authority sites is the gasoline on top of your SEO fire to make that happen.

Too often, SEO link-building is still farmed out to digital marketers, when in fact times have changed and that is no longer appropriate.

In 2024, SEO link-building is 100% a job for a digital PR agency. If you want to wave at your competitors as you blow past them in Google rankings, be ahead of this curve. It is the best kept secret in SEO.

More Resources on Link-Building

How to Use a High-Quality Backlink Strategy to Invigorate Your SEO and Lead Generation

Effective Link-Building for B2B Marketers

Underrated Link-Building Tactics That Work Surprisingly Well [Infographic]

The Future of Link-Building: Linkless Mentions for SEO

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Fix the Glitch: Why SEO Link-Building Is Now a PR Job

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image of Rick Pendrick

Rick Pendrick is the founder and CEO of Prism Digital PR, a New York- and Miami-based public relations agency that specializes in high-quality SEO link-building. He launched the agency after 20 years of working as a PR executive for the NBA, NASCAR, and Rubenstein Associates.

LinkedIn: Rick Pendrick