Press Releases Deserve Search Engine Optimization Too
A press release is often considered a tool used to inform members of the media about an event, update, or new information that would make a useful story for their readers. While this is certainly true, a press release is also content on the internet that can be used to draw people searching for certain keywords and phrases to your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just for the text embedded in a website. All communications, including press releases, can be “tagged” with key words to receive priority placement in organic searches and therefore drive users to your message and content. A press release can be optimized for searches by including key words and phrases and adding relevant links to the text.
Identifying and Including Key Words
Identify a key word or phrase that relates to the product or service the release is promoting. Make the key word one that people actually search for. Research key words most commonly used using tools like Wordtracker.com or Google AdWords. These sites offer valuable insight on which key words and phrases are most searched for via online search engines. For example, some professionals claim that “media release” is preferable phraseology to “press release.” However, statistics on Google AdWords prove that there are over 500,000 more monthly searches for “press release” than there are for the words “media release.”
Once the ideal key words have been identified, integrate them into the press release headline and repeat them three times within the body of the release. Include a subhead that includes the key word or phrase, if the release has more than three paragraphs. It is ideal if the key word is placed more in or around the beginning of the release. Substitute key words and phrases for pronouns like “it” or “its,” when appropriate, to increase their overall frequency in the release. Do not use the word or phrase so much that it becomes redundant or clutters the messaging. Ensure that key words and phrases are used logically and strategically.
Adding Relevant Links
Press releases intended for online distribution absolutely must include relevant links that point back to a target website. Active links will direct media and consumers to more detailed information on the product or service the release is pitching. Additionally, direct links to the website will improve the site’s rankings in search engines. Always include the website link in the boilerplate at the bottom of the release as well.
Use key word-rich anchor text to link target websites that incorporate non-branded keywords. For example it’s best not to use “Caliber Group” as the anchor text for the link to the CaliberGroup.com website. Using “PR and marketing firm” as the anchor text would offer a more searchable option for the link.
Also, to increase its searchability, write out a properly formed URL to the target website (i.e., write “http://www.CaliberGroup.com” rather than “CaliberGroup.com”) within the text of the release.
An optimized release that isn’t out on the Web won’t be found. Place the release in a newsroom on the target website. Ensure the newsroom includes links for users to share the information on social networks. In addition to sending the release to your targeted media list, post it on web services that are designed to distribute the release across many channels. There are some fantastic services out there that range from expensive to free. Some of our favorites are PR Newswire, BusinessWire, dBusinessnews, and iNewswire.
Optimizing a release for search seems like a relatively simple process. However, it is not an intuitive practice. Writing a release that is optimized takes practice and strategic review to ensure that the use of keywords and phrases is effective without diluting the message or confusing readers.