Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you
probably already know something about the importance of search engine
What you may not know is that practicing good SEO is just as essential for
your press releases as it is for the rest of your online communications.
Consider that the number of readers who were referred to our site directly
from Google has nearly doubled since the start of 2017. In other words, neglect SEO at your own risk.
While that may sound ominous, the good news is that practicing good SEO
with your press releases is virtually free and, when done right, can
immediately add value to communications you were going to issue anyway.
Here are five quick tips that you can use to help improve the search engine
performance of your press releases right away:
1. Keep content relevant, readable and newsworthy.
While SEO is an excellent tool for enhancing the visibility of online
material, the hard truth is that even the best SEO won’t get readers to
engage with content that’s not very interesting. It is therefore imperative
that you create content with your reader in mind from the outset.
Before you’ve started to write, ask yourself: What is it about this
announcement that my readers will find compelling? What question is this
press release answering?
This might seem like an essential point, but it is central to modern SEO.
Google and other search engines have developed algorithms to more highly
rank content which best answers user queries. On top of this, content which
inspires real engagement (measured in click-throughs, shares, tweets, etc.)
gets a significant boost on the search engine results page.
2. Pick your keywords carefully.
If you’re looking to optimize content of any kind, keyword selection is
To start, ask yourself what some of the main topics that your release
discusses are. Next, put yourself in the shoes of someone searching for
your release. What terms will they use to find it?
If you need help, there are plenty of online resources that will help you
find the right keywords. You might also
build a keyword library.
3. Create sharable headlines.
From an SEO perspective, the headline is the most essential part of a
successful press release. Not only is it the first thing readers will see,
but, in a digital age where attention itself is a commodity, it might be
the only thing your reader bothers to read at all.
Your headline should be informative and written in natural language that is
free of jargon —unless you’re writing your press release for a niche
audience familiar with that style. This will maximize the number of readers
able to engage with your material.
It should also:
· Include your most crucial keywords.
· Be shareable across social platforms. Keep in mind with Twitter moving to
280 characters that many legacy users will keep to 140.
· Include the heart of the story, and your most important keywords, in the
first 55-70 characters, for clarity in search engine results pages.
· Contain a number (if appropriate), as headlines containing numbers have
been shown to do better than those that don’t.
If necessary, feel free to use a subheadline to provide additional
information or keywords.
4. Include a call to action (and go easy on the links).
A common mistake is failing to provide a way for readers to follow up on
the material that they’ve just read. Immediately after finishing your
release is moment when readers are most familiar with your news, and you
need to capitalize on this moment with a call to action (CTA).
In a press release, this is typically done by placing a hyperlink on some
good anchor text. This
text should be something other than the words “click here,” preferably a
relevant keyword. This provides search engines an indicator as to what the
linked page will be about.
The more logical the placement of this CTA the more success you’ll have,
but as a principle, it’s also typically a good idea to include a link in
your first paragraph.
A quick word on links
On the topic of links, it’s also worth mentioning that too many links will
not only overwhelm your readers, but can actually harm your SEO. Link
spamming is considered a “Black Hat” SEO practice and can result in Google
penalizing a site, or a press release, and bumping it off a results page.
To avoid this, aim for no more than four logical and well-placed links
5. Include multimedia and don’t forget social platforms.
To push the SEO performance of your press release over the top, include
multimedia. Sending images and videos along with your press release is a
fantastic way to increase visibility as it will mean that your press
release will also be indexed by media search services like Google Images.
Perhaps most importantly, including videos or other visuals increases the
likelihood that your press release will end up being shared on social
media. With so many people getting their news from Facebook, Twitter and
LinkedIn, this is not an area you want to ignore.
Peter Mathewson is a writer, editor and SEO specialist at Cision. A version
of this article originally appeared on the