I’ve long been a strong advocate of digital PR, so it was a real pleasure to catch up with Andew Holland, Director of SEO at JBH, a Manchester, UK-based agency, who also views SEO through a digital PR lens. In this interview we discuss the power of digital PR in SEO and its role in future-proofing SEO efforts. (By the way, Andrew will be presenting at the upcoming Brighton SEO conference in San Diego this month (I’ll be there as well)).
Andrew shares his journey from being a police officer (which involved building an internal search engine to help infiltrate criminal groups) to working in digital PR and how his unique experiences have shaped his perspective on effective SEO. We touch on the spectrum of digital PR, including traditional PR, mentions in online publications, content syndication, and more. He emphasizes the importance of goal specificity and correct budget allocation decisions when implementing digital PR strategies.
We discuss the social media value of digital PR assets and how these can deliver multiple benefits, such as brand lift and increased brand awareness. Andrew shares insights on the impact of links from digital PR campaigns and the potential they offer for SEO efforts.
The discussion then turns to the role of AI in digital PR and SEO. Andrew mentions that digital PR teams are beginning to experiment with AI, particularly for ideation and overcoming writer’s block. While AI is being used in the field, it’s a slow process, and it might take some time before AI becomes a standard ideation tool in SEO.
Andrew believes that the SEO profession, in particular, is vulnerable to AI’s impact, as it could change the industry and make it more efficient while also presenting some unprecedented challenges. He points out that younger SEOs might rely too heavily on AI, potentially undermining the value of experience in the field. Despite these challenges, he ultimately sees AI as a positive development in the industry.
The conversation touches on the importance of digital PR and how it can help establish a brand’s expertise and authority. When brands get mentioned in high-authority publications and are referred to as experts, this can significantly impact their reputation and search engine rankings.
The interview concludes with a discussion about the importance of focusing on profit when pitching SEO projects, especially as marketing effectiveness and a focus on profit take precedence in the current business landscape.