Getting media coverage is just one reason for a press release.
It can serve a host of other purposes, including helping readers find you from behind a paywall and even increasing your site’s search ranking.
However, it isn’t always a straight line between dropping a press release and zooming up those search engine results pages.
According to Search Engine Journal, the links you place directly into a press release aren’t likely to help you in search rankings. Google knows you’re putting those there yourself and basically their discounts; newswire sites usually use no follow links, which don’t benefit your overall SEO.
But press releases can still benefit your overall rankings.
PR Daily’s recent SEO Certificate Course for Communicators covered the how-tos of this topic. Bonus materials for the course included Visably’s Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Strategy.
The entire guide is well worth your time, but let’s zoom in on just one section today. How can you optimize releases for search? We aren’t talking about distribution or backlinking tips and tricks here, but the simple way you put together the release itself.
All tips are based on Visably’s guide.
- Tweak your keywords
The tiniest adjustments to the words you use to describe your product (or any other aspect of the release) can make a big impact. For example, Visibly notes that “portable kayak” has one-third the search volume as “lightweight kayak.” Assuming your kayak is lightweight (because aren’t all kayaks portable?), simply making this small change could give you a big bump.
If you’re not sure how to measure search volume, start with a free, simple tool like Google Trends, which quickly and easily allows you to compare two or more terms. Find a more comprehensive guide to using Google Trends for content here.
- Highlights recognizable quotes
Most press releases include a quote from someone. But if that person has search value in their name alone, you can make SEO gains. Depending on the nature of the release, you might be quoting your CEO, a celebrity spokesperson or an influencer. All of these can help you appear in searches that are tangentially related to your product — but can introduce you to new audiences.
- Add images
Whether it’s an infographic, a graph, an illustration or original photography, the right pictures can help your press release show up higher in search. Make sure you optimize each photo with alt text and a strong description and title. Not only will this boost your overall SEO, it’ll help you show up in image searches, too — another valuable source of traffic.
- Don’t spam
Yes, we have to say this one. We know you’re under pressure to distribute your press release far and wide, but that behavior can actually hurt your overall ranking. Links from spammy sites can cause Google to give you a side eye based on the company you keep and hurt your overall score. So don’t scatter your release to the winds. Be thoughtful and judicious about online distribution, just as you are with media pitching.
This is just the iceberg tip when it comes to SEO and press releases, but keep these simple tips in mind when writing and designing your next press release. Acting consistently over time can yield big results.
Check out more from the Visibly guide here.
Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.