Digital PR report shows 72% of PR agencies now offer SEO

Earlier this month, the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) released their Digital PR Report 2013 which had some very interesting findings, especially for us as a digital agency that offers most of the services discussed.

They have put together this handy Slideshare presentation which includes the methodology behind the research and highlights key results.

46% of organisations only spend 1-10% of their marketing budget on digital/social media

This is surprisingly low considering how much digital/online can contribute to the bottom line of any business, I would expect this is a lot higher for ecommerce companies. However, interestingly, the majority of respondents said that over the last 12 months, the digital part of marketing budgets had increased and that in the next 12 months they are also expected to increase further.

Web design and build is most common expense in digital budget

Areas of digital that budget is spent on

It’s interesting that the majority of people are spending budget on monitoring and listening to customers, yet the same amount aren’t spending money on reaching those customers via social media activity or online PR. This means that companies are listening to what’s being said about them but not always responding.

What is also interesting from this is that SEO is taking quite a big percentage of budgets, however other PR activities such as influencer outreach are showing a much lower percentage. The reason for this could perhaps be that those kind of activities are actually being included in SEO activity. Although our clients may pay a fee for SEO, the campaign we create to achieve SEO objectives will nearly always include large elements of influencer outreach and Digital PR as part of this to make the campaign a success.

72% of PR agencies now offer SEO

72% is a massive increase, especially when compared with the fact that only 19% offered SEO five years ago. This shows how savvy the PR community is becoming to the large budgets that SEO can command.

Digital services from agencies

Overall, from this slide we can see that the trend is very much that traditional PR agencies are starting to become more digitally-savvy and move into areas previously separate from PR.

Biggest client demand is content creation

Biggest client demands reported by agencies

Content marketing has been the buzzword in SEO communities for a long time now and this is also being seen in the PR world as well in the form of client requests.

Clients have less confidence in ROI for Digital than Traditional PR

Confidence in ROI

This for me is the big shock result as I personally think it’s so much easier to track ROI of online PR than traditional PR. There’s all kinds of metrics you can look at for a start including how much traffic is directly sent from a piece of coverage/social media and how much revenue can be attributed to that traffic. This result worries me slightly as it would suggest that these companies are not being properly educated by their agencies (or in-house teams) as to how online ROI can be calculated.


As someone who has worked in both the PR and SEO industries, I have to say it’s very hard to classify which activity should sit with PR and which sits in SEO as they seem to very much be merging into the same thing. What makes a successful SEO campaign is now very similar to what makes a successful PR campaign it’s just the reporting that takes a different track. A lot of the campaigns and activity that I execute for SEO clients would be the same even if they were for a sole PR client, which just shows how much the two industries are merging.

There have always been blurred lines when it comes to marketing activity – where should social media sit, who should have control of the company blog – activities no longer sit easily in one team anymore but need input from all different teams in order to make them a success.

Just as SEOs are starting to realise that online PR activity will bring them the most success in an SEO campaign and keep them in Google’s good books, PRs are waking up to the big budgets that SEO can draw and wanting a slice themselves. It will certainly be interesting to see how both industries look in five years’ time and indeed whether they are separate industries.

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