Don’t Neglect your most important Press Release audience – Search Engines

 December 1, 2011
In the emerging age of Social Media, Press release writers seem to have so many more audiences to serve than previously. Not only fans, followers and connections but journalists, bloggers, writers and other interested readers. 

The internet is the biggest release distribution system, either through dedicated PR release websites or Google News or on a companies own website that can be searched using a search engine like Google.

Google has recently had another algorithm overhaul from its software engineers so SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is even more critical for the Press Release writer and their releases than ever before.

The first thing to remember when optimizing a release is that SEO is still only a guide, not the main reason for a press release.  You are still telling a story or making an announcement and it should read as naturally as possible.

Some points to bear in mind:-

Keywords – Keywords are the anchors of any release for a search engine. They are what it picks up and delivers to its audiences so some thought should go into which ones you wish to use.  Think of searching for your release as a reader – what would you type in to find it?

You can also use keyword research tools like Google Insights for Search or Google AdWords Keywords to give you an idea of the most popular words and how you can refine your strategy further. It might also give you some new ideas that you hadn’t previously considered.

Also, check out what the competition is doing. not just your competitors releases but also similar industry releases to see how they are setting their SEO strategy.  You can also use Google Trends to research individual keywords and see which are the most popular in Google News.

Content Optimization – You have some keywords identified but they have to be built organically into a Press Release rather than being shoehorned in for tracking purposes. Here are some ways to manage it successfully.

i – In the title/headline
Include the main keyword in the title, as close to the start as you can.  Reduce unnecessary words to improve the keyword ‘weight’ and remember to put the most important information first.

ii – Subheading / summary
Include the main keyword phrase or variation of it;

iii – First Paragraph
Include the main phrase in the first paragraph, ideally as part of the first sentence.

iv – Main body of text
Include the main phrase approx. once every 100 words. This is more of a guideline than a rule but it will blend the keyword into the main text. Try to write as naturally as possible and avoid jargon and marketing terms. Try to avoid abbreviations or other shortening.

v – Images and Video
Don’t forget to optimize and tag images and video or other multimedia content with SEO keywords

Links – Remember to link directly to specific pages within the release, not just the home page. Make sure to use keywords as the anchor text within the link but keep links to a maximum of three to four per release.

Press Releases on your own website – Don’t forget to optimize the page’s title, URL and Meta descriptive tags.

By remembering and referring to these guidelines then you will find your releases will place higher on search engines, will achieve more readers and will become more readable as a result.

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