THE BLOG
07/30/2014 05:42 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2014

A 5-Step Guide to Switch from SEO to PR and Vice Versa

Are you ready for a career change and you're considering making the switch from SEO to PR or vice versa? If you are, do you find yourself wondering if you'll find success in making the switch because they're similar yet entirely different fields?

How can two things that share so many similarities be so different at the same time?

Distinguishing the Two

Enter the occasionally blurred lines of SEO and PR. These are two entirely different fields centered on the development of content, but what distinguishes the two is the "intent" of the content and masterful SEO. The goal of PR is to manage public perception and generate brand awareness through narratives, while the goal of SEO is to drive organic traffic to a company's website through website optimization.

And here's where the lines begin to get a little blurred. When masterful SEO has been combined with crafty content marketing you have a recipe for building a brand's reputation and gaining more brand recognition. As you already know, SEO has had to make many changes to the quality of content in order to rank well within the search engines due to algorithm updates. Gone are the days of hoping that keywords alone will land you at the top of page one in Google.

I talked with Scott Langdon, Managing Partner of SEO Agency HigherVisibility, who explained that keeping up with SEO changes and applying that to content creation is only getting harder. He said:

Oftentimes a writer and an SEO, or someone who optimizes content for search, are two different people, which can make this tricky. It's important you make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands that because Google is constantly making changes to the way websites are ranked, content needs to change as well. We can't be plugging in links and keywords -- it's a joint effort.

Quality Content Takes Center Stage

With the spotlight on the quality of content versus former masterful SEO techniques to rank well within the search engines, this has opened the door back up for PR staff to contribute their expertise to the value of content. And with that said, you can't have quality content that ranks well without skillful SEO.

These two ingredients to successful organic web traffic, ranking well within the search engines, and building brand awareness go hand-in-hand. They're a team. While these two fields share many similarities, they also share many differences.

Making the Switch Successfully

Here are 5 tips to find success when switching from SEO to PR or vice versa:

  1. SEO is More Than Keywords: SEO is more than skillfully and masterfully weaving in an occasional keyword for additional search engine optimization. It's about science and numbers. It's about getting search engines to recognize the language of your content when it's crawled, making it easily accessible and search engine friendly.
  2. Understanding Non-Branded Organic Traffic: What? Non-branded organic traffic? What's that? I thought the point of quality SEO was to gain brand recognition? Non-branded organic traffic is traffic that was led to a website through a query within the search engine and this traffic could lead to new customers and clients -- visitors who have never even heard of your brand before.
  3. It's all about the relationship: If you work in PR, then you know it's all about building successful offline relationships, which is entirely different than SEO. It's making that connection offline and keeping that connection strong. If you're planning on leaving SEO, you'll want to embrace making that connection offline.
  4. Building Brands Through Emotion: Connecting to people through emotion is a priority when it comes to building brand reputation in PR. This is a key strategic component to successful brand building and anyone leaving the SEO field to enter the PR field should embrace this tactic to the fullest.
  5. Embrace Your Expertise: Embracing the qualities of both fields that you're already highly-skilled in as you learn new skills will help you along the way and take you far in your endeavors.

You don't know how well you'll do at something unless you try. There is good reason to believe that whether you're leaving SEO for PR or leaving PR for SEO, you're bound to find success. This is because, again, you can't have one without the other, so if you master both - you're golden.