Link building and public relations—two sides of the same coin

by | Apr 19, 2022 | Analysis, Public Relations

When we say “link building” and “public relations,” those two things look very different. Although both strategies do different things, we should look at them as separate sides of the same coin. In the modern world of business, there is a belief that every company needs to be a brand. While that is correct, getting to that point is not easy. When we talk about retailers and SaaS providers, getting the right type of traffic is crucial. While both strategies have benefits, it is essential to understand the difference between link building and public relations.

An illustration of people connected with arrows, symbolizing link building and public relations.

Link building and how it works

Link building plays a crucial role in marketing today. Even though traditional marketing strategies still work, digital marketing is much more efficient.

When we talk about the methods of link building, it is crucial to look at the customers. Who is buying products or soliciting services? How are they connecting with the business? The easiest way to get this information is to observe the referral traffic from the website.

A photo of people fist-bumping and the words 'link building' on top of the image

Link building is a potent SEO tool that helps get the website to the first page of a Google search.

If you notice that most customers find the business via Google search, you want to focus on link building heavily. Link building involves creating content relevant to the niche and placing it on other websites. That’s how you make a network of valuable links that bring SEO juice to the website.

Another thing to understand is that niche websites usually don’t have high metrics when it comes to views or social shares. The reason why you want to post there is that they have high domain authority. Google values them and considers them the leader in the niche. If they publish your content, that will mostly be editorial content. That means the website will reference the company in an informative way. It is an important part of the niche, and Google should also treat it as an authority. That’s why it is essential to write about relevant topics and focus on increasing SEO rating through link building.

How is digital PR different from link building?

Digital PR uses an entirely different method, and it is usually used if the client wants to focus more on publicity. We mentioned that Google search plays a crucial role in link building. When it comes to digital PR, you need to look at social media as a form of search. Potential clients are browsing social media pages, and that’s how they discover the business.

An illustration showing a megaphone, mobile phone, and YouTube logo

Digital PR uses social media and other channels to increase brand awareness.

While links for link building aim to increase SEO juice and the rating of the website, PR links are aimed at branded publications. Another crucial difference is that all PR links must be nofollow links. They are not SEO assets but publication advertisements.

The main difference between link building and public relations

When it comes to link building, the goal is to:

  • promote the products and services;
  • increase SEO juice and website’s rating in Google search;
  • increase domain authority;
  • broaden the keyword portfolio;
  • increase referral traffic.

The goal of digital PR is to:

  • promote the business in the eyes of the public;
  • increase traffic from social media platforms and website visits;
  • build trustworthy relationships with clients and partners;
  • boost SEO efforts through publicity;
  • create leads for the business;
  • increase sales through building brand awareness.

Additionally, it is essential to add that digital PR has a vital role in SEO and link building. Even though it is not directly increasing SEO juice, it helps with increasing awareness about the business. This will bring more traffic through various public channels.

An illustration of multi-colored arrows on a white surface, pointing up.

The business will move forward only if link building and SEO work together.

How to know when to use the right strategy?

As we mentioned, the difference between link building and public relations is in what they provide for the business. This should never be an ‘either or’ situation. Both strategies are fundamental, but for different reasons. While link building increases domain authority and SEO rating, digital PR builds the company name and increases brand awareness. The key to using both strategies is to find balance. They should complement each other. That’s the best way to build a strong brand and stay on top of the industry’s market.

Elizabeth Wilkens


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