Many may believe search engine optimization (SEO) is only necessary when creating blog content. However, it’s important to consider SEO when developing a press release, as well. This will be shared on hundreds of websites, including your own, so you want it to be working as hard as possible to promote your brand.
SEO best practices can significantly improve the performance of your press release, and ensuring adherence is essentially free. It does require some additional research and review, however.
Here are six SEO best practices proven to optimize your press release:
Target the Right Keywords
When developing a press release, you may want to dive into writing. But, there are several steps that come before putting pen to paper or hands to keyboard. Once you understand the major elements—the who, what, when, where, and why—it’s time to research keywords. The main focus of your release will determine both your short- and long-tail keywords. For instance, if you’re writing a press release announcing the creation of a new line of organic shampoo, you’ll want to research keywords such as “organic shampoo,” “natural shampoo,” “organic shampoo for hair loss,” or “best organic shampoo.”
Short-Tail vs. Long-Tail Keywords
Short-tail keywords are made up of no more than three words and cover broad topics. Using the example from above, the short-tail keywords include “organic shampoo” or “natural shampoo.” These words get higher search volume, typically in the thousands. This means if your company ranks for a short-tail keyword, it’s likely your brand is getting noticed by many.
Long-tail keywords typically contain four or more words that get very detailed about the topic you’re trying to hone in on. From the example above, the long-tail keyword is “organic shampoo for hair loss.” Although long-tail keywords have lower search volume, they’re incredibly niche, meaning you’re more likely to close a deal from their dozens of visitors than the thousands attracted by a short-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords account for 70 percent of all web searches, plus they’re more targeted and easier to rank for.
Both short- and long-tail keywords are important for your press release, so ensure it has several of both.
Tools to Use
When conducting keyword research, there are multiple tools you can use.
Include a Subtle Call to Action
Although press releases should never include loud and splashy calls to action (CTA) like landing pages do, they should offer subte CTAs. These CTAs can be simple sentences at the end of your release asking readers—consumers or reporters—to learn more about that specific subject by linking to resources and additional sources, or your website. Such links send consumers to product pages to make a purchase or send reporters to pages with additional information to be used in an article.
Because you’re writing this press release for both consumers and journalists, you want to include a targeted CTA for reporters only. Typically, you should provide your contact information and request they follow up for additional information, hi-res images, or interviews. You can also ask them to download imagery or videos that complement the press release.
Always add multimedia—just make sure it’s SEO-optimized, too! Adding an image, video, or infographic can increase your visibility and shareability. Your press release is more likely to be viewed and shared if it provides relevant multimedia content. Ensure all multimedia is formatted to be shared on social media networks including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
When you add an image or video to your press release, it will be indexed by media search services such as Google Images. That’s why it’s important to follow SEO protocol. Ensure the image is high quality, write alternative (alt) text that describes what’s happening in the image or video, and include keywords in your alt text and titles. It’s also best practice to add a caption and description.
Write a Keyword-Based Headline
Your headline is one of the most important aspects of your press release because it’s the first thing readers—and Google—will see. You want to grab their attention with a catchy, shareable headline, while including a single targeted keyword. When deciding which keyword to use, choose a topic-relevant keyword with the highest search volume.
Additional SEO headline best practices include keeping it short to about eight words and adding numbers—especially odd numbers, which perform better than those without, multiple studies have shown.
Insert Links When Necessary
Adding links to your press release is important. Links enable your readers to take action, view your website, or review a citation. With this said, it's important to use them sparingly. Excessive links can lead to a reduction in click-through rates. Ensure every link you add is useful and serves a purpose. Focus on quality over quantity.
Don’t Write for Google, Write for Humans
Yes, you should include all of these things, but at the end of the day, Google rewards quality content. This means you need to write for the consumers and reporters interested in your press release, not Google’s search algorithm. Think about it like this: You’re trying to answer a question. If you serve up the best answer with the most-detailed information, your answer will be shown above all others. So, when writing your press release, put thought and effort into writing naturally.
Don’t attempt keyword stuffing, which is overusing keywords in places where it feels unnatural. Google will punish this. Just ensure you have several keywords mentioned throughout your press release—especially in headlines and subheads. Don’t add unnatural links or over-link the press release. Only use what’s necessary to get your point across.
Easily optimize your press release directly in News Direct’s Collaborative Content Studio. News Direct makes adding multimedia content to your press release easy. Simply upload your image, video, or infographic to the Content Studio, then add it to the release. With News Direct, you don’t even need to write traditional text-based releases. We are the only wire service with the capability to distribute standalone multimedia with our Digital Asset Direct release, helping to further differentiate your brand and grab attention.