Are online PR specialists becoming SEO practitioners by default?

I attended an SEO conference last week because I wanted to do some initial research and listen to how SEO practitioners are presenting social media as part of the online marketing mix.

I have always known that what I do for my clients, as a social media specialist and public relations practitioner, is (hopefully) writing good content and providing strategic communications counsel. If you write good quality online content a useful by-product of that is its search engine benefits as people (e.g.your site’s readers) should want to read and share that content.

However, what I found most interesting at this conference was that almost 90% of what I have been doing for my clients over the last few years, working as a PR person, is now also classed as search engine optimisation. Don’t get me wrong, professionals working in the SEO industry certainly have a different skill set to those working in public relations. For instance, I wouldn’t pretend to be a trained link builder or claim to be a specialist in pulling together high level online advertising campaigns but I do know how to analyse, propose, plan and initiate a communications campaign whether it is online, offline or even better both.

Digital marketers, PR professionals and SEO practitioners are all looking at this space carefully because it is growing so rapidly and there are profits to be made. I recently heard that the biggest employer of PR graduates is digital marketing agencies. Whether this is the right strategy is another debate. Personally, I would always recommend that people choose their specialists carefully, sometimes (not always) a jack of all trades can turn out to be a master of none.

Do you agree? Are you finding that the edges of SEO and digital public relations blurring?

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