The Secret Potion of SEO: Dos and Don’ts of Writing SEO Press Releases

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Since I work for a Search Engine Marketing Company, people are always asking me what it takes to get a website ranking on Google. A successful SEO campaign is not made up of one or two things. I like to look at it like a chemistry project where different elements are added together at certain times, in various quantities in order to create the secret SEO potion.

Press releases are an important ingredient to add to the mix because they can help you build high quality backlinks from reputable news websites and blogs and potentially help you gain media coverage.

Here are some dos and don’ts about how to write press releases for SEO purposes:

Creating Story ideas

Don’t send out a press release if you don’t have anything to announce. It sounds simple enough but so many times, SEO campaigns follow time guidelines and send out releases that aren’t timely, news worthy or high-quality. This will actually work against your campaign. Creating an idea for a great press release isn’t as hard as it sounds. Here are topic ideas for timely and newsworthy press releases:

  • Grand opening of a business
  • New product, service or website and how it fills void in industry
  • Market research, statics, polls and results pertaining to your industry or business
  • Tips or ideas for an upcoming holiday or event
  • Announcement for winning a prestigious Award
  • Celebration of a company milestone
  • How your business is “Green”
  • Charity work, scholarship programs, community outreach programs or charitable contribution
  • Stock offerings or financial updates
  • What bigger companies are doing in your industry and how your services compare

SEO Friendly Titles

Do use Keywords in your title. The title of your press release should ideally contain one or more of your keywords and the name of your company. Thousands of headline impressions that run RSS feeds will publish your release. Because your title becomes the title tag, it’s a very important part of what helps a website rank for your keyword. Your title should also be fun and “clickable.” A clickable title is informative, witty, interesting and hopefully all three.

Using Keyword Rich Anchor Text

Do use strategic keyword rich anchor text. The best practice to follow is not to use more than two keyword links per press release and place the most important link in the first sentence. Read, 5 Steps to Killer Keyword Research, to learn more about keywords and phrases you should target. The linked keywords that you choose to use in a press release depend on the campaign. Most of the time, you should use bigger keywords that are showing great movement and keep the momentum building. Other times, it might be necessary to give keywords that have grown stale a boost by adding them into the release in a relevant way. If a company is not ranking for any keywords going after low hanging fruit early in a campaign can help ROI immediately. Branded keywords work well in press releases, especially compared to using them in other link building strategies, such as blog posts. You can fit keywords in naturally by writing your release first, and then adding the links so your links don’t feel forced.

Quotes and Bragging Rights

Do use compelling quotes. Incorporating quotes into press releases is an easy way to toot your own horn. You should never call your company or product the greatest, best or most unique. When you are using quotes it’s okay to brag a little bit as long as you can back it up. Having a quotation come directly from the authorities within the company will help your release get picked up, and bloggers and writers will appreciate that they can pull the quotes directly from your release to use in their story.

Example of a bad quote:

We’re excited that our seat belts will be available to lot of people,” said SeatBelt Company CEO. “Our seatbelts are the safest in the World.

Example of a good quote:

With the release of the SafeBelt system, Seatbelt Company will be able to help decrease the impact that a human takes during a car crash,” said SeatBelt Company CEO. “Our ultimate goal is to help save lives. We will continue to do research in order to engineer the safest seatbelts in the world.

Optimizing your Content

Do think like Public a Relations Professional. Press releases are news announcements, regardless of whether they are for SEO purposes or not. By writing high quality, rich content that directly relates to your business your release will be naturally optimized. All releases should include the name of your organization, geographical information, a contact e-mail address and phone number. Don’t forget you are writing for the web so keep your release at 400-600 words and include a boilerplate at the end of your release. You’re allowed to use fun language but avoid colloquialisms and dragged out sentences at all costs. Press releases typically receive the most impressions and reads if they are sent out first thing on Monday or Tuesday. However it’s most important to send your release out in a time that makes sense to the topic that you’re writing about.

Adding Multimedia

Don’t forget about logos, photos, embedded videos and infographics. By including multimedia, the likelihood that a news source or blog will take your whole press release package and publish it on their site (gaining you high quality links) will increase. Including logos and photos in your press release is also a great way to get your company ranked in Google Images. When doing this, make sure that your file name contains a concise clear description of the image and a keyword. Youtube videos have a great social following, and they will help increase the reach of your video and press release.

Completing the Circle

Don’t think that after you submit your release that you’re done. Press Releases, social media and other SEO strategies should all come together on a unified front. You should take the time to publish your press releases on your twitter feed, Facebook and other social platforms. After at least two weeks, do an analysis of your release and see the reach it achieved. PRWeb has a great analytical report you can download. If the press release site you use doesn’t have those statistics, an easy way to track your reach is to place quotes around the title and search it in Google. Pay attention to where your release ranks in search engines for certain keywords and your company name. Track how well it drives traffic and sales to your company’s website and how many views it receives. The goal is to get it picked up by as many reputable news organizations as possible so that your linked keywords point back to your page and boosts your SEO. Your press release will also have a chance of ranking in Google and Yahoo News for your keywords.

Don’t waste your time and money on sending out a release that is filled with jargon that no one wants to read; what you’ll get a few links from the same root domains, unnatural linking patterns and no social attributes.  If you follow these press release ideas you’ll be adding a special link building element to your SEO potion.

I’d love to hear about other tips and ideas that you use when writing press releases and some success stories where press releases have helped your SEO campaign. Please leave your comments below.

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15 Comments

    • Rebecca Babicz says

      Hi Dawn,
      Sure you can make a copy and share it with your students. Let me know if you have any other questions that I might be able to help you with pertaining to the topic. Thanks for reading!
      Best,
      Rebecca

  1. Tom Tucker says

    This might be a stupid question, but where do you submit these press releases? Just on your blog? Or are there Press Release websites that send it to lots of places?

    • Rebecca Babicz says

      Hi Tom,
      That’s a very good question that I should have addressed more thoroughly in the article. There are press release websites that deliver your release by e-mail to lots of different news websites. It’s up to the website whether or not they chose to run the release on their site or not. Here are a few places you can submit your press release to for distribution:

      (Premier services)
      PRNewswire, Vocus (PRWeb), Business Wire, Cision, TransWorld News

      (Less Expensive Services)
      Free Press Index, PR.com, PitchEngine, Free Press Release

      At SEO.com we use PRWeb and TransWorld News to distribute our releases depending on the release. I really like PRWeb because of the analytics that they provide and I’ve had great success getting a few of my releases picked up by some pretty big sites like YahooNews, USAToday, and About.com. In addition to utilizing press release sites, you can also directly send your press releases to websites that are specific to your industry and ask them to post the release on their site. For example if I am a snowboard company I might send my release directly to ESPN- Snowboarding, Transworld Snowboarding and SnowboarderMag. And yes, you should also push your press release out on your own website/blog and social outlets.

      I hope that helps! Thanks for reading.
      Rebecca

  2. SmartReleases says

    Great Article. Very insightful, quick and easy to read and I will bookmark this site to come back for more.

    Thanks!

  3. Brendan says

    I never normally do press releases when i do SEO but after reading this i think i am going to start. Good job!

  4. Mark Simchock says

    Thanks Rebecca, you reminded me that adding press releases to the toolbox was on my to-do list for 2012. Cheers.
    The only other thing I’d like to add is that when it’s possible and practicable be sure to uniquely tag your links as well. For example, if you’re sending your release to two different outlets, then the links for each should have unique tags. This will help with tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns. Granted, I realize some press release outlets are merely “de-aggregators” but none the less a tagged link is better than an untagged link.
    I don’t mean to link-drop but for those not familiar with (Google Analytics’) Google URL Builder, my blog post on the topic might be of interest to you:
    http://www.alchemyunited.com/2012/01/13/social-media-roi-alchemy-united-vs-google-url-builder-part-1/
     

  5. Shed says

    Search engine optimization is the best way to increase traffic on the website.There are many different sites are avaialble.Thanx to share with us this different kind of steps.

  6. Matias Coo says

    Writing a good press release is similar to SEO. Writing good content is key for both. A lot of people are looking for short cuts because coming up with good content is difficult. 

  7. Mike says

    Great blog regarding releasing quality press release. Thinking of using PRweb but they’re a bit expensive. But you mentioned about analytical report they have and I will give it a try , may be a bit basic package.

  8. Marie D. Michael says

    Such a very informative and useful post! Thanks a lot for sharing some tips and good points about SEO press releases. Very much apprecited!

    Regards,
    Marie 

  9. Naaf Chow says

    Thank you very much  Rebecca for this excellent writing.I am a not so old in the world of SEO. This article is really different than hundred of articles I have read.Special thanks for the idea of ”press release” which is completely new to me.

  10. says

    Very helpful Post regarding Press Releases. Excellent approach on writing such valuable information by SEO.com writer. I realy want to say Great Thanx Only..

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