How Inferred Links Are Bringing SEO and Public Relations Closer Together

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Inferred Links Are Becoming One Of The Most Authentic and Natural Search Ranking Factors

We’ve been teaching the value of holistic digital marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for several years now. Creating great content and understanding how search engines, maps, social networks, and other websites interactive with each other, can help you build an amazing “future proof” foundation for your brand.

This foundation isn’t built on current trends and tricks. Instead, it’s built on a foundation that utilizes all of the best elements of digital marketing to build an outstanding online footprint. A holistic SEO approach sends positive signals to the search engines so that they understand the value of your website’s content and that it deserves to rank highly.

For nearly 25 years, a cornerstone of strong SEO has been your backlink profile. Backlinks coming from other sites were a signal to search engines that you had high quality content worth sharing, and it would help the algorithm to move you up the search results and be shown to a larger audience.

In January, an article by SEO veteran Rand Fishkin explained that direct backlinks may not always be the most important ranking factor. The article states:

There’s good evidence that over the long run, links won’t be all that crucial to Google’s rankings, and will be replaced by lexical references that connect topics and keywords to a brand, website, or page—what I’ll call “inferred links.”

As a human being browsing the web, the inferred link is less convenient (I have to go to Google and search in order to find it), but almost certainly more authentic. A link takes effort to create. Text mentions require much less. Text, especially at web scale, represents how people think about the world. Links, meanwhile, usually represent a motivated, biased version of what someone wants other people to do.

These inferred links are not actual hyperlinks that someone can click to visit your website. These are brand mentions in ordinary conversations and news articles.

In the past is has been very difficult for search engine algorithms to connect the dots and fully understand how to use common text mentions accurately in their search rankings, but in recent years Google has really expanded their artificial intelligence “deep learning” algorithms, and this is now a reality. Reading common communication and understanding the relevance of the content, and the intent of the writer, is a powerful step forward in providing more authentic search results.

This is a more natural way to gain organic exposure. When we are interested in a product or service from a business, we don’t necessarily go out and write a blog article and link to it, but we do mention it on social media, the comment sections of blogs and discussion forums like Reddit. News publications may write about a business’s activities without ever linking directly to them. All of these mentions have tremendous value in measuring what content is worth ranking high in the search results, and tests are now showing that inferred links are making a big impact.

How Public Relations Can Boost Your SEO

Traditional links are still critical to a successful SEO campaign, but as a holistic SEO provider we are looking at ALL ranking factors and would be doing a disservice to not take a close look at our social media and public relations work and maximize it’s help in boosting our SEO.

As Rand mentions in his article:

If you pay an SEO agency to get you 50 “high quality links” a month for $5,000, and refuse to pay a digital PR agency to get you 10 mentions in relevant publications for the same price, I’d argue you’re making a very unwise tradeoff.

Brand mentions, especially relevant ones in publications that actually reach your audience don’t just impact keyword rankings. They drive branded search traffic. They improve brand awareness. They almost always increase conversion rate among the audiences they attract. And much of the time, ironically enough, they indirectly lead to more links than link building!

Apache Interactive works closely with PaigePR for all public relations matters. A strategic PR campaign is rapidly becoming the best investment you can make alongside your traditional SEO work to gain maximum exposure online.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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