Digital PR vs. Manual Link-Building Strategies

Link-building remains one of the most important search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques for improving a website’s authority and Google rankings.

As you may well know, SEO and building an online presence for your company takes time. However, search engines like Google – with its constantly evolving algorithm and recent Helpful Content Update – make it so that meeting users’ needs is more important than ever. Tried-and-tested SEO tactics may not work as effectively, which is why site owners need to be adaptable and flexible as contemporary trends emerge.

However, SEO experts worldwide have waxed lyrical about the continued influence and importance of building high-quality backlinks. As far as ranking factors go, this hasn’t changed and isn’t likely to do so, but rather facets of it have, which means that marketers must approach digital PR and link-building differently to maximise their effectiveness.

Digital PR and link-building remain highly valuable strategies, and they are often intertwined. However, some specific elements remain within each of them that must be tackled with precision if you’re to see tangible benefits. This short post looks to explain those in an easy-to-understand way so you can determine the best approach for you.

What is Digital PR Outreach?

Digital PR revolves around utilising strategic public relations tactics to secure high-quality backlinks that support an SEO strategy. It involves developing compelling assets such as reports, articles, infographics, and videos, and then pitching these to relevant sites and publications.

Relationship-building skills are paramount, as digital PR relies on cultivating connections with site owners, marketers, writers, and other media contacts to achieve authoritative coverage and backlinks from reputable sites.

There is no one-size-fits-all digital PR approach, as each publication seeks unique angles tailored to its audience. Strategies should align with your industry, business goals, target keywords, and

outreach targets.

Potential digital PR tactics include:

  • Original research reports and data studies offering journalists insightful statistics and stories.
  • Creative campaigns that capture attention through bold messaging and calls to action (CTAs).
  • Newsjacking to inject your expertise into trending topics.
  • Commentary and insights to establish your brand as a thought leader.
  • Product PR to highlight offerings through deals, launches and partnerships.

Manual Link Building Strategies

Manual outreach for backlinks remains central to many effective SEO strategies. While links help garner website traffic, their core purpose is boosting authority and relevance for higher rankings.

Backlinks significantly influence a site’s domain authority, so earning quality links from reputable sites is an excellent SEO investment, albeit a challenging one.

Benefits of successful link building include:

  • Increased website credibility.
  • More organic traffic and lower bounce rates.
  • Greater ability to convert visitors into customers.
  • Improved visibility and relationships within your industry.
  • A loyal, engaged audience.

To build links manually, identify where your website could benefit from increased performance and engagement. Reaching out to request high-quality backlinks from relevant authoritative sites and industry directories can exponentially boost search visibility and conversions.

Tactics may involve:

  • Creating unique, link-worthy content like tools, research, and resources.
  • Providing bloggers and journalists with attribution images.
  • Requesting links from vendor partners and affiliates.
  • Securing product reviews from industry influencers.

Overcoming Digital PR and Link-Building Challenges

Digital PR and manual outreach each have unique strengths that together can comprise an integrated link-building strategy. A healthy balance of both maximises the ability to gain high-quality links from diverse sources – from media outlets to specialised blogs – with this natural linking profiling signaling clear authority signals to Google.

However, Google has evolved into a highly semantic search engine. Put simply, the colossal search engine used to feed on links ad infinitum, but now, it’s older, wiser, and more curious about what links it’s consuming. It likes to understand what the site is, why it exists, and the purpose it serves ‌a user, and links are not the only ranking factor. Links never have been solely such a thing, but link-building tactics from years past may be being overlooked in favour of purposeful, engaging content.

For instance, websites with swathes of organic traffic but little authority are often ranking well due to topical relevance. In other words, they’ve convinced Google that they’re experts and authoritative in a single area/niche. However, content – specifically, purposeful, engaging content – is worth its weight in gold, and even with AI tools to augment content writing, human supervision remains crucial. The main problem is that this type of content takes time to create and doesn’t exactly come cheap either.

Resorting to link-building in favour of content generation is not the solution, however. By trying to convince Google that one page is better than the others, we’re no different than the thousands of other sites trying to do the same. Instead, it’s more worthwhile to educate Google and help it understand what the business or brand is and why it should take notice.

Manual, concerted link-building can be seen as trying to initiate votes of confidence, but data-driven digital PR backlinks often present a much more fulfilling and relevant way of earning those votes.

Digital PR backlinks in the form of content that presents data in engaging narratives to educate, inform and entertain audiences, on authoritative sites, get traffic much more quickly. Google not only sees the link, but it considers the relationship between the anchor text, data, commentary, and discourse around it, as well as the brand being linked to. Even John Mueller said that digital PR – often used interchangeably with tried-and-tested spammy link-building tactics – is imperative.

Why A Combined Approach is Best

Manual tactics do have merit for filling gaps not addressed by digital PR; thoughtful personalised outreach can yield niche links that support an overarching SEO strategy. Continually nurturing both existing and prospective relationships with media contacts, sites, and influencers is key. Monitor any new links gained while pruning outdated low-value ones.

An integrated strategy recognises digital PR and manual outreach as complementary disciplines rather than mutually exclusive, siloed options. No site ever must choose one or the other. Each has limitations but together they provide layered relevance signals across both mainstream and niche sources.

The modern search landscape calls for a nuanced perspective on link building. While relationships are now the true currency, manual and digital strategies can work in concert to forge connections that demonstrate expertise and provide value.

If you have questions about our digital PR and link-building strategies, or would like expert assistance with creating high-quality content backed by expert, methodical outreach, the team at Artemis would be delighted to help.


As a leading Sussex-based SEO agency, we stay clued into all emerging and impactful Google updates. We stay ahead of the curve to adapt our services and processes so we can continue delivering strong results for our clients. Get in touch today to discuss your link-building goals and find a strategy that works for you.