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SESNY: 5 Tips To Optimize Press Releases For Search

Posted on Mar 24th, 2010
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    TopRank Online Marketing has been working with PRWeb providing SEO consulting services starting in 2008. PRWeb was founded in 1997 to help small businesses and communications professionals leverage the web to share their news directly with the public. As part of this process PRWeb lead the way for the “direct-to-consumer” press release, enabling companies to communicate their news directly to customers, prospects, analysts and the media.

    During the past decade, PRWeb has reshaped the traditional press release and changed how companies large and small distribute news. Innovations of PRWeb over the years include:

    • Search engine optimization (SEO) for press releases to increase the visibility of news in search engines like Google and Yahoo!
    • Social bookmarking tools like trackbacks and bookmark links to take advantage of the explosion in social networking
    • Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to increase the distribution potential of news and built the industry’s largest RSS network
    • Allowing customers to include podcasts along with their news to increase the impact of their news release
    • The “Feature Video” allowing customers to leverage the video content from popular sites like YouTube to bring their news to life

    Meg Walker, Director of Online Marketing for PRWeb lead a session discussing how to optimize press releases to gain the strongest visibility in both search engines and media.

    1.  Meet audience demand

    Prior to drafting a release, you need to understand what your audience is demanding.  Meeting audience demand is integral to accomplishing your press release visibility objectives.

    There are many times you don’t realize there may be a hook in to reach your target, and understanding audience demand allows you to tap into it.

    The steps to meet audience demand include:

    Knowing your audience – what is it potential prospects and media are interested in?  In what tone should they be spoken to?  Do they appreciate a certain angle over another?  Understanding is key and should drive the strategy behind the release.

    Be relevant – more than just understanding your audience, give them content that is both relevant and timely.  By doing this, you’ll create the highest propensity your news gets picked up, shared and passed on.

    Satisfy customer demand – to know what the demand is, first research popular trends in search engines and stay on the pulse of your industry.  By creating content that is related to hot topics you can create far more visibility for your releases.  Staying up to date, informed and on the pulse of your customers is vital to connect with them through press releases.

    2.  Stay focused

    By keeping your keywords and topics focused, your release can rank better in search engines and resonate more with media.  As you are writing releases, remember you are writing about one topic per release.  By segmenting the message or trying to say too much at once, you dilute your key points and take a risk prospects and media will walk away without taking next steps or remembering the point.  Keep it simple, focused and impactful.

    3.  Use images for search

    Images can increase the click through rate on releases in both regular and news search by 15 – 25%.  It’s a simple step, but can’t be stressed enough.    Additionally, using images creates more traction in media – journalists and bloggers both love images as it helps them tell their story.

    At PRWeb, we have seen releases that used 3 images generate more than 50 articles.  We also find that many people are discovering images via image search, which then draws them back not only to the release, but to the customer web sites.  Because PRWeb hosts press releases forever, your images can continue to receive both organic and image search traffic indefinitely.

    4.  Use videos to engage visitors

    By using video in news releases, we have seen up to a 500% increase in time on pages.  As the web shifts to a rich media experience, bloggers, media and end users are becoming more accustomed to video.  In the future, it may be common that video is included with releases.  But since today it is not as frequently used, it’s a chance to make your news stand out.

    5.  Optimize your release

    Anchor text links – use 3

    • One to homepage – direct visitors directly to your company website.
    • One to product page – send media and consumers directly to the product they are reading about.
    • One to blog post – this presents an opportunity to speak to readers in a less formal fashion.  With social web users and digital influencers continually expecting social content, a press release presents a great opportunity to spark interest in your social content.

    Alt-tag – an alt tag helps your images get discovered in search engines – all release images should be tagged appropriately.

    URL Keyword – top keywords can be used as part of the URL string, so be sure and include those during the release selection process.  PRWeb allows you to customize this.

    Description Tag – add a keyword rich and compelling description tag (on PRWeb, that will become the meta tag).

    Title of release – the title of the release will become the title tag of the page, which is a vital element of your on-page optimization.  If you have a target phrase, ensure your phrase leads the title of release.