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Why SEOs are winning the PR war

While I agree with last week’s NMA story which argued that PR agencies are challenging SEO agencies for work,  I think the far bigger trend is in the other direction – mainly because search agencies need to incorporate PR techniques to survive in the long term. 

SEOs are winning the PR war
The main driver for change is obviously Google’s series of algorithm updates.  These have downgraded the rankings of sites with poor and duplicate content and spammy links – while boosting visibility for those with unique, well crafted information and links from high authority sites such as publications (both of which could be argued to be the preserve of PR people).

But while Google’s updates are an opportunity for PR companies to attract new work, for SEO agencies they are a direct attack on what they are doing to support current clients ie their bread and butter.  They need to adapt in order to retain clients’ rankings and survive; which is why they have a much bigger incentive to add PR techniques to their offering.  And probably why I’ve come across a number of search agencies who’ve recruited PR people and copywriters in recent months.

To be clear, many search agencies have always used PR techniques to help with link-building. Now they’re investing more in the area and getting in position to challenge PR firms.

Image credit:  Sean MacEntee via FlickR creative commons