Optimize press releases for search engines

Press releases are extraordinary tools for showcasing company news, whether it is a shiny new product/service, community involvement, or company accomplishments. To make the most of them, however, press releases must be strategically optimized for search engines.

Choose a distribution site

First of all, you must choose at least one distribution site for your press release. There are plenty of websites that allow you to submit press releases for free, but those do not always have a very high page rank and can consequently lower your own site’s authority. For that reason, we recommend turning to more qualified distribution sites, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, and Market Wire. Don’t take our word for it, though! Do your research. Quick example: This website claims OnlinePRMedia to be the highest rated PR distribution site. Perhaps it is a favorite among SEOs, but a quick site search in Google News showed us that it hasn’t picked up any articles as of late (click on the image to enlarge). PR Newswire, on the other hand, clearly has much greater success getting picked up by search engines, as you can see in the second image that Google News has more than 15,000 results. While this doesn’t necessarily reflect the holistic success of the distribution site, it is still a good way to gauge how often articles are picked up by search engines. PR distribution fail PR Distribution Site for SEO      

 Use those keywords

When it comes to writing a press release, make sure to have a list of relevant keywords handy. It’s important to optimize the title with a keyword or phrase because the title often becomes the title tag of the page the distribution sites host it on. The following snippet ranks on Googleas first page for the term “SEO audit St. Louis.”

Because the title is optimized with those keywords, anyone searching for a local agency to perform a site audit will stumble upon this press release on Market Watch. If they like what they read, they will head over to the Evolve site and slide right on down the sales funnel. We like that.

But don’t overstuff!

Use keywords naturally. The search engine algorithms place higher value on copy that sounds as if it were written for humans, not search engines. Place one keyword/phrase in the first paragraph (first 80-100 words) but do not cram them in the remaining body copy unless they make sense. Strive to vary the wording.

Link it, but be delicate

Use anchor text links, but do not overuse them. Much like how content should be written for humans, links should also be created for humans. The anchor text should direct the reader to next steps, preferably a landing page on the InteliSpend website or perhaps a case study. There should be at least one but no more than three links.

Write for a human audience

Write so that people will actually want to read it. Asking “why?” before you begin to divulge the news will help you keep the reader in mind while writing. Additionally, search engines prefer this kind of jargon-free, informative readability.

Include a visual

Include an image if possible, as they have been proven to increase click-through rates and interest. Optimize the image by adding a keyword to the file name and in the alt text, which can help it rank in engines’ image searches.

Miscellaneous tips:

If it’s not time sensitive, consider omitting the date from your press release. Not doing this can cause your press release to seem outdated, even if the content remains relevant. Also, upload a slightly altered version (to avoid duplicate content) to your own site so that other domains can link to the article that is housed on your website. Then share the news story via social media profiles. Don’t be afraid to self promote a especially if a major news source picks up your press release.