The optimization of a press release is crucial in order to gain news coverage and spread awareness. It should be about a single topic using keywords that interest your target audience so it will be found, read and shared via social networks. It is important to understand what Google and other search engines take into account when calculating SEO.
Understanding the Google Algorithm
Google’s Search Algorithm
is the equation Google uses to produce results to accurately match a user’s search. The latest update of Google’s Search Algorithm is Panda 4.2. Google recognizes content as most important, so in order to have a high position in results, a press release should be concise, relevant and appealing to your audience.
What Will Show Up in Search Engine Results Page (SERP)?
The title and first couple lines (meta title and description) of a press release are typically displayed on the SERP
- The title (meta title) is primarily used by search engines to determine ranking and should be as direct as possible. Engines often truncate titles at about 60 characters, so the most crucial information should always be at the beginning.
- The first 1-2 sentences (or meta description) should contain the pertinent information in a “hook” form, so that when viewing the results page, a reader will want to know more and click the link.
Are Keywords Important in a Press Release?
Google evaluates keyword use
in order to determine whether or not it is important to the content within a press release. Therefore, it’s best to focus on high quality content for readership rather than for SEO purposes. Keywords specific to the topic will optimize it, but repetitive use will result in SERP penalties.
How Do I Optimize a Press Release?
Imagine you are a vegan food restaurant specializing in dietary needs and have published a press release for your grand opening. You want to make the statement rich in content by explaining your history, the importance of healthy food, your values, preparation techniques, menu, etc. You primarily want to target adults that are interested in a vegetarian or vegan diet. You also want to acknowledge the trends of going green, being active, and eating natural food.
Your press release should be informational, relatable, and contain keywords in the appropriate places. For the above example, you should optimize the title and first paragraph of your press release for the words “vegan,” “restaurant,” “natural food,” “local,” the city name, and any other applicable combination.
Once you’ve come up with a great title and informational first paragraph, you’ll want to focus on the “meat” of the press release and maintain a human element. Use a variety of words—search engines recognize synonyms—to give your content a natural feel and make it more relatable. Be useful, interesting and conversational, and don’t repeat keywords or write in SEO style.
Typically, users search for specific questions or information. Someone may search: “Where can I eat that has vegan options near me?” Because of this, Google tends to favor long tail search as opposed to vague short tail search. This means that actual content is far more important than keyword dense copy.
Another key is to use links
to direct your audience to additional content: Backgrounders and FAQs for reporters and analysts, product purchase pages and reviews for customers and so on. If possible, link to pages that are optimized for the same keywords as the release itself. Links in press release issued via Business Wire employ “no follow” tags per search engine guidelines. So while the links in your press release may not enhance SEO, they improve user experience; when used in third party coverage and mentions, they do provide earned media SEO benefit.
Additions That Make a Difference
- Use text formatting for emphasis, and to break up information into easily digestible bits.
- Include multimedia to make your content more compelling. Using multimedia and other visual elements can increase visibility.
- Include your logo (likely the first image people will see when searching for your brand).
- Provide social media profiles and current contact information.
- Share the content socially. Search engines assume content with social network interaction is valuable, which can sometimes lead to a boost on the results page.
- Subtitles elaborate on the theme of your press release and create an accurate SERP rank.
Crafting an optimized press release
with engaging and compelling content is vital to brand exposure, referral traffic, and—if done well—will convert readers into leads.