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Digital PR are online marketing strategies that companies can benefit from in order to increase their online presence, allowing them to intercept new target audiences. In this article we will start with an overview of Digital PR, and then we will investigate the similarities and differences with Link Building campaigns. Then we will cap off with a focus on Link Earning.

What is Digital PR

Digital PR is a set of activities aimed at promoting an online brand, through content distribution on blogs and social media, and forums. The ultimate goal of this type of campaign is to increase a brand’s online visibility and credibility.

How to do Digital PR

Many methods and strategies can be used in an effort to structure a successful Digital PR campaign that reaches the desired expectations. Let's see what are the starting key points that we cannot ignore:
  • At relational level, it is of utmost importance to develop relationships with:
  • journalists
  • bloggers
  • influencers
  • In terms of content, we can work on:
  • writing articles and press releases
  • the creation of infographics, eBooks and videos
  • sharing content on social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest etc.)
  • the creation of comments and reviews on forums
All this can spontaneously generate an increase in the number of mentions and backlinks to the customer’s website for whom you are following the campaign. At this point, there is a clear reference to Link Building campaigns.

What is Link Building

When we talk about Link Building, we refer to all those techniques aimed at artificially creating backlinks. The ultimate goal of this type of campaign is to improve the ranking of a website on search engines.

How to do Link Building

Link building techniques can be divided into two categories:
  • "Black hat": in this approach, the goal of improving the organic positioning of a site is pursued with unfair practices or "spam" such as:
  • backlink exchange between two websites
  • backlink from directory
  • backlinks from duplicate content
  • backlinks from low quality content: short texts or with many typos and syntax errors, high keyword density or high bounce rate, and short duration of the visit
  • backlinks from Private Blog Network (PBN) or from low-quality sites, or rather. from all those domains that are created only for advertising purposes and which are consequently recognizable due to the high number of outgoing backlinks
  • purchase of expired domains for the mechanical creation of backlinks
All such practices can lead to heavy penalization of the sites by the two algorithms of Google Penguin and Panda.
  • White hat”: approach based on content quality from which we can receive backlinks.
In this case, we refer to:
    • Guest Post: writing and publishing articles in newspapers or vertical blogs with a link to the website for which we are running the campaign
    • Infographics
    • Video
    • E-book
The main difference with Black Hat practices is that the creation stage of these types of White Hat content definitely requires much more time and work by the authors.

Digital PR and Link Building: similarities and differences

  • Affinity: one of the very first similarities is in their methods of implementation, that is the online content distribution.
Difference: while in Digital PR campaigns the content creation on social networks and forums is often used to influence the public in a positive way, and strengthen the reputation of the brand, the part related to social and reviews is not strictly necessary for a successful Link building campaign. This is because all the backlinks coming from social networks or forums are of the "no follow" type, and hence irrelevant for ranking purposes. When you add this type of feature, you are telling the search engine not to follow that particular backlink, and that it will not bring any benefit, in terms of trustworthiness. And this specifically prevents it from easily manipulating the ranking of a website.
  • Affinity: Another contact element is the increase in organic and referral traffic. Both campaigns could lead to an increase in visits, but the reason behind the achievement of this result is different.
Difference: in a Link Building campaign, this increase must be compared to the increase in the keywords middle ranking, for which you want to position the web, and on which this type of activity directly brings benefits. For Digital PR campaigns, on the other hand, it should be correlated to the quality of the content published on authoritative blogs and influential social profiles that strengthen the credibility and awareness of the brand.
  • Affinity: both types of campaigns can lead to the acquisition of new backlinks.
Difference: if it is true that Digital PR leads to the acquisition of backlinks, even in a completely spontaneous way (without money exchange), it is also true that there is less control over:
  • the type of backlinks (dofollow/nofollow)
  • the pages you want your backlinks to point at
  • the keywords to be used as anchor text
Very often in PR campaigns, backlinks present brands anchor text and links to the home page, and are in any case useful for increasing the authority of a domain and its organic performance. But a targeted action is necessary if you want to grow certain areas of a website for keywords in target with the products and services offered.

Focus on the importance of backlinks and the use of anchor texts

So far, we have talked about the importance of backlinks in reference to anchor text, as well. This is because Google, like other search engines, currently considers backlinks as one of the main ranking factors. What is the logic behind it? The greater the number of backlinks, and the references a domain receives, the more popular it becomes in the eyes of Google, which will therefore prefer to show it in SERPs for certain queries compared to its competitors. This is one of the reasons that explains the large investments that companies make for this type of campaign, given the return in terms of visibility. Furthermore, it becomes necessary in competitive sectors, especially for recently-built websites. But when it comes to determining the ranking of a website, the search engine examines not only the quantity of backlinks, but also the quality of the same. The benefits of a backlink will be greater if the source that mentions it is . more authoritative  But it is really much more than that. The Google algorithm also examines the type of backlinks: a reference is considered relevant the more authoritative the website that is talking about us is, but also the more authoritative it is in a specific sector. If we are a fashion brand with the same authority, a link from Vanity Fair rather than Giallo Zafferano will have a greater impact on our ranking. Another element that is examined by the search engine is the anchor text, that is the portion of clickable text that is used for the link. Google uses anchor text to understand for which keywords the linked page is relevant, and for which it improves its ranking in the SERP. Using target keywords with the products/services offered by Google is certainly the fastest way to climb the SERPs, but the excessive use of this type of anchor can lead to a penalization of the website by Penguin, that is the Google algorithm that penalizes websites that receive a suspicious number of backlinks from low-quality websites with targeted anchor texts. In fact, Google disapproves the buying and selling of backlinks, as an activity aimed at unnaturally changing its SERPs: Downside of this, we can say, is that while Digital PR is always and in any case a good choice in a wide sense, Link Building campaigns require careful planning to avoid the risk of penalization. There is no absolutely valid strategy to protect yourself from this, but it is always necessary to start from a study of the competitive sector, in order to understand the right number of backlinks to be acquired, the quality, the type of publishers and the percentages relating to the various types of anchor text to use.

Digital PR, Link Building and Link Earning

If Link building is not done exclusively with the aim of climbing rankings (by using Black Hat practices), but with the goal of promoting a website thanks to the dissemination of relevant information, it ceases to be a penalizing activity and its purposes are once again aligned with those of the search engine, which is to want to help websites get traffic thanks to the interest they provide due to the content offered. Rather than Link Building, in this case we are talking about Link Earning: this term refers to a more ethical and less artificial way of creating backlinks, in which they are not simply "purchased" but "earned", thanks to the quality of the content posted online, obtaining the same benefits, in terms of ranking and organic traffic, typical of a Link Building campaign, just as is the case of Digital PR campaigns.
Article updated on: 09 August 2023
Talent Garden
Written by
Talent Garden, Digital Skills Academy

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