How To: Optimize Your Press Releases for SEO

SEO

The role of press releases has evolved over the years as the media itself has been shifting from offline to online. Today, press releases remain a powerful tool for communicating news about your company to media contacts and generating media coverage for your business, but now you can also publish your own business press releases directly online. This makes press releases an important SEO tool since you can optimize the content for your own website and for syndication services that publish it on other sites. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips for writing and optimizing your press releases for SEO.

Identify & Share News About Your Business
If your business has never published a press release, you might be wondering exactly what you would write one about. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Announcing a new product, service, promotion, or event
  • Sharing a customer testimonial or success story
  • Announcing a new hire
  • Promoting an owner or employee achievement such as a certification, promotion, or honor
  • Sharing how your business or employees are giving back to the community

Use Keywords
In order to optimize your press releases for SEO, it’s important to first identify the right target keywords. By doing keyword research with a tool such as the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool, you can find out what keywords (or keyword phrases) have the right balance of search volume and keyword competition. Start with a short list of keywords and phrases that are relevant to your content and then research them to make sure that people are searching for those keywords but that they won’t be too competitive. Select 1-2 keywords to target in your press release. Often, using keyword phrases or long-tail keywords that include 2-3 terms may provide a better return than trying to optimize for one highly-competitive word.

Optimize the Content
In order to help your press releases show up in search results, you have to optimize your content for SEO, just like you would the content on your website or blog posts. Here are a few components  to keep in mind:

  • Headline: Include your primary keyword in the headline of your press release, near the beginning of the headline if possible.
  • Keywords: Include your primary keyword and closely-related synonyms for it a few times throughout the copy of your press release.
  • Strategic Links: Include a few (three to four) links to relevant, related information on your business website. When possible, hyperlink these to related terms in the copy of your press release. For example, if you link to a page on your website about widgets, hyperlink that to the word “widgets” in the copy of the press release. Also, make sure to include the “http://” portion of all links to make sure they are hyperlinked on sites that syndicate your press releases.
  • Company Description: Include a company description, or boiler plate, at the end of your press release, containing relevant information about your business as well as a link to your website. You may also want to include links to product or service pages or important social media profiles.

Publish Your Press Releases
You should include your press releases on a dedicated section of your own website, like a press or news room page. This is also a good place for you to link to positive news stories and mentions of your brand across the Web. In addition, you should send your press releases to local news sites and publications. Consider also syndicating your press releases through online syndication sites, which can help better spread your news to media sources, generate more exposure of your messages, and help provide more valuable inbound links to your website. You can choose from a range of options, from free to paid distribution sites.

Socialize Your Press Releases
Social signals are growing more important when it comes to SEO, so make sure you are sharing your press releases on social media sites. Posting links to your press releases – and to the published news stories that may result from them – is an important way to let fans and followers know about what’s new in your company, and it can build credibility for your brand when consumers see it mentioned in the news. Plus, when your employees, fans, followers, and customers share links to your press releases and media coverage, it can signal to search engines that this information is popular and important, potentially boosting the SEO impact of your press releases.

Does your small business use press releases to share news about your company or as an SEO strategy? Share your experience in a comment!

Tiffany Monhollon

Tiffany Monhollon is an award-winning content, community, and social media marketing strategist who is passionate about helping businesses and professionals succeed online, currently serving as Director of Content Marketing at ReachLocal. She develops integrated strategies from the ground up, incorporating content, community, and social tactics to deliver online marketing, search optimization, social engagement, and reputation management results. She speaks and writes about online marketing and social media for sites like Entrepreneuer, MarketingProfs, Small Business Trends, Media Post, Social Media Today, Business 2 Community, and the ReachLocal Online Marketing blog.

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