Reply To: Q: How effective is digital PR at driving link building?

Forum White Hat SEO Q: How effective is digital PR at driving link building? Reply To: Q: How effective is digital PR at driving link building?


Great question. I used to head up SEO for one of the major digital PR firms out there.

Most digital PR companies have little to no knowledge of the SEO value their output produces. Before I was hired by the PR firm I worked at, they were clueless about this, and they were getting serious results in terms of quantity and quality of referring domains linking to their clients’ sites.

To give you some data points, upper level clients paid around $2.5k a month to the agency, and when I analysed media wins and the backlinks these clients earned from this, during a 12 month period some clients were bagging 50-70 referring domains, with DAs in the range of 60 to 95.

The media winds were a mix of guest posts (and I mean legit thought leadership articles published on sites like Entrepreneur, not hacky spun content on crappy sites), company/product profiles, interviews, “expert comments” (where a client provides his/her two cents to a journo for a story), research releases, and press release write ups.

One final point, and I get soooo frustrated by people in SEO saying this, so I’ll clarify here: yes issuing a press release via PRnewswire or similar service and getting it syndicated on a load of nonsense sites has little to no SEO value, but this is not the correct way to manage press release distribution for SEO.

You need to build a list of news sites in your client’s niche (on average maybe 20-30 trade journals), then send the presser direct to each site via email (some will even provide a specific email address for pressers). Some charge a small fee, but most of these links are follow and will move the needle: the sites are super relevant to your clients niche, after all.

PRnewswire is more for big brands that will be of interest to the mainstream press. So, for example, if your client is an online travel insurance broker who have just signed a new underwriter (a real world example of mine), ain’t NOBODY gonna care about that through a PR wire service, but those boring insurance industry news journals will: they need to fill up column inches.

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