Is it OK to ask reporters to include backlinks in articles?

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As PR pros, it’s our job to promote our clients or employers. Published articles that include links back to their websites are SEO gold. That said, should we ever insist a journalist include a backlink in an article?

Digiday Reporter Lara O’Reilly (@larakiara) recently tweeted about a PR pro who refused to let her interview a client because she wouldn’t include a backlink to the company’s website in the article.

“There are some contexts where a link might make sense (like if you’re referring to a specific page on the company website, for example.) But I don’t see it as a news outlet’s job to boost another company’s SEO,” she wrote.

Lara’s not alone in her opinion. PR Daily Editor Ted Kitterman (@tedkitkat) wrote, “Here at PR Daily, we get emails every day asking us to add a resource to an article already published on our site—sometimes for content that was published years ago. That’s not PR; that’s being lazy.”

I agree with Lara and Ted. While backlinks are an important part of building domain authority, if your client or company can be easily found by search engines, there is no reason to pester the journalist for a link.

However, if you’re including research or information that’s difficult to find online, including a link to the source is a service to the reader. If this source happens to be a press release in your online newsroom, you’ve accomplished your objective.

The most important thing to remember is that while a backlink is SEO gold, your relationship with the journalist is priceless. If they decide not to include a link, respect their editorial decision. That’s what we practice @c3PR.

Do you agree?