What Are PR Backlinks? Overview & How To Get From Journalists

What Are PR Backlinks? Overview & How To Get From Journalists

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Almost every website owner and/or digital marketer is on the lookout for high-quality backlinks for search engine optimization (SEO). 

Enter press release (PR) backlinks. These links are the holy grail in the SEO realm that almost every site owner or digital marketer hopes to land. 

Think, authoritative sites like BBC, Business Insider, Forbes, and others. These sites can offer much more valuable links to your website that can kick your SEO up a notch!

Not only do they give you a significant boost in search engine ranking, but they also help you gain online traction and establish your digital presence. 

However, there is more to building PR links than meets the eye.

In this blog, we’ll give you a bird’s-eye view of press release backlinks. Specifically, we’ll cover the following:

  • What are PR backlinks, how they work, and why they’re more important than regular SEO links
  • Top 5 benefits you gain building PR backlinks from journalist and media websites
  • How to start building PR links 

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

What Are PR Backlinks And How Do They Work, Exactly?

Press release backlinks are any links from big-name authoritative media or journalistic sites pointing to your website. 

They come from the sites of media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and other online publications. 

Examples of PR backlinks include sites like:

  • BBC.
  • CNN.
  • Business Insider.
  • New York Times.
  • Wall Street Journal.
  • The Economist.
  • Forbes.
  • Sports Illustrated.
  • Entertainment Weekly.
  • Reader’s Digest.

Now, how do PR backlinks work? 

Typically, you get them by initially submitting official statements to the press and getting your content published on their websites.

Take note, however: Press releases won’t give you backlinks right away!

Why’s that? 

Google has long considered links in press releases as no-follow links, which means they don’t have an impact on SEO. 

This is because many websites used to abuse them just for the sake of acquiring backlinks. 

Now, you should aspire to get do-follow links, which can positively affect your SEO ranking—more so if they come from authoritative sites.

How do you know if a PR link is do-follow or no-follow?


  1. Right click on your browser and click “View page source”. Or select the link, right click, and “Inspect”.
  2. Look for the specific link in the HTML of the page.
  3. If you see “rel=”nofollow”” attribute, that link is no-follow. Otherwise, it’s do-follow.
Webpage snippet showing a Forbes article footer with author's bio and social links, alongside HTML code.

Now, here’s the thing: 

Newspapers, magazines, and other online publications might notice your business through your press releases. 

If you’re lucky enough, they’ll mention your brand, quote your statements, and link to your website. 

And voila, you’ll earn high-quality PR backlinks!

To recap so far:

  • If you submit press releases to online publications, and they link back to your website through their news stories, you get PR backlinks!
  • If you receive do-follow links from online publications through their magazine articles, you win PR backlinks that boost your overall SEO.
  • If your business site gets mentioned, quoted, and linked to by journalists on their blogs, you acquire PR backlinks!

Here’s an example of a PR backlink.

 Example of a PR backlink. BuzzFeed

As you can see, Buzzfeed gave By Me & Crew the media coverage it needs. 

This online publication features its manicure products, aptly called GEWEL Gel Nail stickers, with a link to the product page. This example is exactly how PR linking works!

And Buzzfeed has a domain rating of 91. Meaning, a link from there would help you out a lot.

To find out a website’s authority, you can use any SEO tool like Ahrefs or Semrush, or simply use MOZ’s free domain authority checker.

Moz Authority Checker

However, there is more to PR linking than simply getting backlinks from high-authority websites.

Press releases can be a key part of your SEO strategy and digital PR rolled into one. 

  • SEO can help you rank high on search engine results pages (SERP) and drive traffic to your website.
  • Meanwhile, digital PR can enhance your brand awareness, website authority, online engagement, as well as lead generation and sales conversion.

This is why investing in PR linking to acquire high-quality backlinks makes so much sense. 

Learn why PR backlinks are better than regular links in the next section.

Why are PR backlinks more important than regular backlinks?

It’s crucial to understand how quality backlinks pointing to your website affect your SEO.

The more they come from authoritative sites, the higher you rank on the search engine results pages (SERP).

Media outlets can give you high-quality backlinks because they usually have high domain authority (DA) scores. 

This way, press release links from media sites tell search engines that your website is credible, trustworthy, and authoritative as well. After all, they don’t link to just anyone.

Here’s what you need to know about these benefits.

Top 5 Benefits Of Building Press Release Backlinks From Journalists

Now that you have an idea of why PR backlinks are better than “regular” ones, let’s take a look at some benefits you gain from investing in press releases.

A lot will depend on the specific website or journalistic source, but typically, the benefits are as follows:

  • High-quality SEO backlinks.
  • Establishing EEAT.
  • Boost in website domain authority.
  • Increase in organic traffic.
  • Increase in brand awareness and social proof.

1. High-quality, do-follow SEO backlinks

Press releases won’t let you earn backlinks almost immediately.

However, news organizations and other online publications might see your published statements and notice your business. 

Now, journalists and media outlets can make news stories from your press releases. They will eventually mention your brand, quote your statements, and link back to your website. 

Enter editorial links, the linking powerhouse. 

They come from media news outlets pointing to your website as good citations or credible sources for their news stories. 

Editorial links possess the do-follow attribute, which translates to high-quality backlinks since they come from truly authoritative sites.

Through quality backlinks, you gain something called “link juice“, which refers to the value or equity passed from one page or site to another. In other words, if a high-quality, authoritative media site links to you, Google thinks you’re trustworthy as well.

Diagram showing link juice flow from four external sites to Page A and B

2. Established E.E.A.T. (Experience, expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness)

Press releases let you take space in the much-coveted media channels. The fact that online publications or media outlets accept your official statements means your brand is worthy of recognition.

Sure, press releases might not give you a lot of link juice if the sites tag them as no-follow links.

However, they can still help establish your experience, expertise, authority, and trust (EEAT).  

The acronym EEAT is NOT a ranking factor of Google’s search algorithm, but a component of their “Quality Raters” when assessing the expertise of content.

E-E-A-T with a Venn diagram emphasizing Trust

Published press releases on media sites make your business trustworthy in the eyes of search engines and audiences. 

Likewise, they make your brand credible sources for media outlets that might eventually link to you in their new stories—this time, with do-follow links!

3. Boost in website authority

Domain authority (DA) is a metric used in SEO to measure overall website authority. 

This SEO link metric looks at numerous factors such as linking root domains, total number of links, and overall ranking strength.

Keep in mind, DA is NOT a Google ranking factor. However, Ahrefs has found that pages with more referring domains typically rank for more keywords.

While correlation doesn’t mean causation, you’ll find that it’s almost impossible to rank for competitive keywords without backlinks.

Graph showing correlation between the number of referring domains and keyword rankings; pages with more domains rank for more keywords

Press releases associate your website with truly authoritative sites. 

They tell Google and your audiences that your brand is authoritative as well. This is because your press releases are published on media websites with high DA scores. With many media websites having a DA score of 75-90+

When other media outlets mention your brand and link to your website, you’ll then get editorial links. 

In other words, if websites with high authority scores link to you, your DA score will also go up, which can lead to an increase in traffic.

4. Improved organic traffic

Your press releases can come a long way as part of your digital PR/SEO campaign. Getting your brand statements published in media outlets can do ‘magic’ in your campaign long-term.

When news organizations and online publications start linking to your web pages, you’ll also gain referral traffic to your website. 

This means that more and more people will be visiting your website to consume your content, making it more likely for some of them to convert or get on your newsletter.

Further, earned editorial links tell Google your brand deserves a high spot on SERP. 

If that happens and you start ranking higher, you’ll also get to enjoy an improvement in organic traffic from the SERPs (search engine result pages).

5. Increased brand awareness and social proof

Press releases put your brand in the spotlight in the eyes of the media and their audiences. 

More and more people will come to know your business and what you have to offer, whether products or services.

Newspapers, magazines, journalists, and other media outlets will also take notice of your brand. They’ll write stories, mention your brand, quote you, and link to your website, thus boosting your overall brand awareness and online presence.

In addition to the above SEO benefits of PR backlinks, you start to become a recognized, authority figure.

If authority media sites like Forbes, Business Insider, and others have quoted you, you can proudly display that as part of your social proof marketing on your website.

For example, this is what our own social proof display looks like on our homepage.

Our Clients Are Featured In: Logos of Forbes, Bustle, Business Insider, HuffPost, Honeybook, and BigCommerce

How To Start Building PR And Journalist Backlinks

Now, all that said, how do you start building backlinks, exactly?

As mentioned above, getting press release links is a white hat link-building technique that can work wonders for your SEO. 

But getting PR links from sites like Forbes won’t be easy. 

You can’t just reach out to their writers and hope they’ll link to you in their latest article for free.

Instead, you should look at it from the perspective of how you can help them and add value.

Apart from submitting press releases outrightly, we recommend:

  • Pitching to journalists.
  • Using HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to respond to journalist queries and add value.
  • Submitting guest posts.
  • Working with a proven digital PR agency with a ton of case studies.

At the same time, you should keep in mind just about everyone wants to be featured in Forbes. So, journalists get a TON of pitches every day, which means standing out can be hard.

Here at Jolly SEO, we offer journalist outreach and white hat link-building services. We simply connect with journalists looking for quotes and pitch on your behalf. If they find it relevant, they publish the quote and mention you and your website.

We are proud to say that our clients have been featured in top online publications, like Forbes, Business Insider, Business Daily, and more. Our latest wins don’t lie:

SEO metrics (DR and Organic Traffic numbers)

Ready to start building quality PR backlinks on autopilot?

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

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