Sarah Skerik, VP Distribution Services,
Sarah Skerik is the vice president of distribution services for PR Newswire. In this role, she is respon-
sible for managing the core wire product, content syndication, media relations, customer reporting,
and targeted distribution products. PR Newswire Association LLC (
provides electronic distribution, targeting, measurement, and broadcast/multimedia services on behalf
of tens of thousands of corporate, government, association, labor, non-profit, and other customers
PR Newswire provides electronic distribution, targeting, measurement, translation, and broadcast
services on behalf of tens of thousands of corporate, government, association, labor, non-profit, and
other customers worldwide. Using PR Newswire, these organizations reach a variety of critical audi-
ences including the news media, the investment community, government decision-makers, and the
general public with up-to-the-minute, full-text news developments. Established in 1954, PR News-
wire has offices in 11 countries and routinely sends its customers’ news to outlets in 135 countries
and in 40 languages.
Jerri: What are some of the misconceptions about public relations from an SEO perspective?
First, let me put a finer point on my perspective. Public relations is not separate from SEO,
it is a component of SEO. I’m thinking about all of PR Newswire’s clients, which range from large
to tiny. The large companies do SEO really well, and the small companies do SEO really well. Where
the missed opportunity lies is in those mid-range companies that are large enough to have silos
between the marketing and public relations departments.
Today, companies are spending a lot of time optimizing their sites. And in doing that, there are so
many opportunities to really leverage press releases. But it requires a little shift in thinking. For
example, about a month ago I was talking to a customer about SEO, and I was trying to under-
stand their different departments and services. And what I found is that each person focuses on
a different aspect of the company, but no one owned or took responsibility for the public.
Traditionally, press releases have been focused on delivering a message, not on how that message can
be connected to search as part of their marketing campaign. And for that to take place what really
needs to happen is for organizations to develop an understanding of SEO across the organization.
What keywords are relevant? What landing pages are relevant? All of this should be applied to press
These are more involved than just what sits in the marketing department, because at the end of the
day, the message is across the organization. Search engines put a lot of emphasis on content. So it’s
important to look at press releases not just as press releases, but as content.
For most organizations, content is a problem. That’s one of the reasons that social media has become
so popular. Blogs are a power indicator that there’s fresh content here. And if a search engine sees
that you’ve got regularly updated, fresh content, then they’ll return to index your site more often.
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