For PR, link quantity doesn't matter; link relevancy does
The ever-changing media landscape and market due to Covid-19 has required the industry to continually adapt, especially with regard to to links. Beth Nunnington, PR director at Journey Further, explains why this is happening and how to work around it.
Journey Further on how to stay relevant with links in 2022.
I’ve seen several people in the industry say that relevancy will be a huge focus in 2022. At Journey Further this has been our focus for several years now.
In fact, it’s been understood in the industry for many years that the relevance of linking coverage is likely one of the key factors Google looks at when assigning “value” to links. What’s changed is the technology we now have to understand and assign quantifiable metrics to the relevance of linking coverage (or indeed any text-based content). This allows us to be much more data-driven and targeted when developing digital PR, link creation and competitor and marketplace analysis.
The outcome is more focused, effective and measurable digital PR activity, which is better-aligned to SEO objectives and delivers better ROI for clients.
Google’s representative John Mueller said last year that ‘the total number of links’ doesn’t matter at all. This has helped refocus the digital PR industry and re-evaluated what metrics and KPIs we need to be focusing on this year. It’s no longer enough to be ‘popular’; you also need to be relevant. Not just in terms of the publications you are targeting, but the keywords you want to rank for, audience interest and, most importantly, brand alignment to the story you are pitching in.
Google continues to use AI and machine learning to understand the context and intent of searches
Google is continuously looking to become more intelligent through its use of machine learning and natural language understanding. This could impact PR as Google can increasingly understand information in non-text-based content such as images, video and audio.
It's more important than ever to not only create relevant and on-brand content in the written form, but also ensure that supporting assets (video, images, audio) are also relevant to target keywords and a brand's services or products. All PR campaigns should reflect this, and where possible, be multi-faceted, not just relying on a single press release to cut through.
It’s not just about building links en masse, but about a holistic approach to PR. Creating on-brand content and assets that can be utilized across press, social media and their own channels in a range of media will be more important than ever, as brands look to drive not only performance, but brand awareness too.
A combination of campaign and tactical activity delivers better results than campaign-only
It’s getting harder to get results from the 'link bait' campaigns that used to be the go-to approach for building links in large volumes. Instead, brands will look to an ‘always on’ approach, with larger, cross-channel campaign spikes at key points in the year.
With an ever-changing media landscape and market due to Covid-19, the digital PR industry has become reliant upon fluid and fast-moving tactics over the past two years, and I don’t see this changing.
In order to be successful in PR, you need to have a combination of proactive, planned-in campaign activity, as well as building in buffer time to give teams the ability to react to breaking news. Strong media relations is often vital to this approach, and I would expect face-to-face meet-ups between journalists and PRs to resume again as restrictions ease.
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Journey Further is a performance brand agency based in Leeds, Manchester, London and New York.Find out more