The old-fashioned PR 1.0 press release had just one job: get a reporter to pick up the phone and call your company (or your client’s company) for an interview, resulting in a feature story on your company. If the reporter didn’t do anything with the news release, it went into “File 13” and was never seen or heard from again.
But now, in the PR and Web 2.0 world, press releases can live forever, thanks to online distribution and posting. That’s why virtually every press release we write is optimized for search engines. We assume the news release will be posted online, either by our client, or by any publication that happens to print it verbatim (and this happens more often than you would think.)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process, not an event. Google, Bing and Yahoo change their search algorithms constantly in an effort to return more relevant and timely searches to users. But as of this writing, here are a few of the most important factors in SEO when it comes to press releases:
- Your keyword(s) should appear in the first nine words of the page title (in most cases, the headline of your release).
- The press release should have a keyword density of about 1% to 3%.
- Keywords should be hyperlinked to point back to relevant pages on your site (not just your home page.)
- Image file names and meta-content contain your keywords.
What does this mean? It means…
- You should understand how a press release website generates its page titles. Are they pulled from the headline, or are they simply the site’s name (which doesn’t help you at all.)
- When it comes to linkbuilding — which is the purpose of most news release distribution online — it’s important that links come from sites with high Pagerank (3 or better). Don’t waste time on press release distribution services with a Pagerank of 2 or lower.
- Social sharing should be easy, too, especially if you expect your press release to go viral. Be sure you can include social sharing features such as Facebook Likes and Google+ to the press release.
- The SEO press release distribution site should allow you to upload images and videos to illustrate your story (and boost your Search results.)
- Your news release should remain live indefinitely on the site, not drop out of existence in a day or two.
- And finally, any site you use to distribute your SEO press release should be picked up by Google News and Yahoo News, plus as many other media wire services or distribution outlets as possible.
Following these guidelines should help you find the best SEO press release distribution services to meet your needs. What are your favorite online news release distribution services? What kind of SEO results have you seen? Please leave us a comment!