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Backlinks and Beyond, Part 2: Digital PR as a Holistic Approach to Authority-Building

06 Jul 2022 Danielle Lachance-Butler

in SEO

Welcome to Part 2 of our guide to holistic website authority-building! In Part 1, we discovered the benefits of backlink-building and the most successful strategies for boosting off-page SEO. Part 2 will focus on looking at authority through a wider lens. We’ll discuss the intersection of SEO and PR, exploring how off-page signals (even unlinked mentions!) can affect brand perception and impact a site’s search engine visibility.

Taking a Holistic Approach to Authority-Building

Too often, SEOs get tunnel vision, thinking only within the confines of the Google algorithm. Ironically, that’s exactly what Google tends to penalize—optimizing a site for a machine instead of its human users. A search engine’s purpose is to serve people; Google studies and learns human search patterns, aggregating data from across the web, including social media platforms and customer reviews.

To determine semantic connections, Google doesn’t just look at hyperlinks but also reads unlinked text, searching for contextual clues and analyzing sentiment—human emotion. Links are a direct ranking factor, but on a broader scale, even unlinked mentions of your brand can have a ripple effect on organic search performance. That’s why digital marketers need to look at off-page SEO in a more holistic way. Enter Digital PR.

What Is Digital PR and How Does It Impact Authority?

The primary objective of Digital PR is simple: increase brand awareness.

Brand awareness, of course, has close ties to organic search performance. Google makes recommendations in response to real people’s search queries. If your brand’s target audience doesn’t know about your brand, they can’t search for your brand. They may discover your brand’s site based on relevant non-branded queries, but you’re less likely to outrank your competition for these queries if your brand is virtually unknown.

Digital PR approaches brand awareness in a way that goes beyond backlinks and other search engine optimization ranking factors. It zooms way out, broadening its frame to include what we might consider more “traditional” marketing methods—tried, true, and essential, even in the digital space.

Digital PR Strategies

A Digital PR strategy is not concerned with backlinks, though a nofollow or sponsored link to your site may be a fringe benefit. As discussed in Part 1, this type of link provides no direct SEO value; however, there is a time and a place for nofollow or sponsored links—this is that time and place. While “authority” or “equity” is not passed through these links, traffic may be.

Instead of focusing on building links for SEO purposes, we’ll work toward getting your brand name in front of your target audience by featuring your business on the sites they visit, online news outlets they read, and social media accounts they follow.


Digital PR Outreach Strategy Examples

Like outreach for backlink-building, the ideal strategy for Digital PR will depend on your brand’s unique goals, audience, and newsworthy content. However, some of the most common methods include outreach for:

    • Reviews: Encourage real users to leave honest reviews of your brand on social media, review sites, and more.
    • Press Releases: Identify and connect with online publications to spread the word about brand news and updates.
    • Collaborations & Partnerships: Build meaningful relationships with other authorities and influencers in your industry to expand your reach and brand visibility.

Ultimately, your Digital PR strategy should work in tandem with your traditional PR campaigns, bringing your unique brand voice and messaging to online platforms that your audience is engaging with.

A successful Digital PR campaign will impact SEO by boosting brand awareness, effectively increasing direct website traffic and encouraging branded Google searches that lead to greater organic traffic.

Unite SEO & PR With Stella Rising’s Authority-Building Service

Stella Rising’s Authority-Building service unites SEO and Digital PR to boost brand awareness, website traffic, and reputation. Maybe your brand already has an established PR team, but you’re looking for ways to integrate SEO for maximum impact. Or perhaps you need additional resources to perform time-consuming outreach, or you simply don’t know where to start. We’ve got you covered. Tell us your goals, and our team will craft a custom authority-building strategy to get you there.


With our proprietary and third-party tools, Stella Rising’s award-winning SEO team has what it takes to build your brand’s authority through off-page SEO and Digital PR. Contact us today to learn more about our Authority-Building and SEO services.