Mar 21, 2012

Press Release Optimization in 7 Easy Steps

Rumors are rife in the search world of yet another big shake up of Google’s search algorithms, but whatever happens, one principle remains constant: great content written with a specific audience in mind is good SEO and will increase your chances of being found.  So when you take your seat at the search wheel of fortune, use the seven easy-to-follow steps to improve your press release optimization and increase the chances of your message hitting the jackpot, rather than losing your shirt on a busted flush.

1.  Use these five questions to test and focus your press release’s copy:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the press release about?
  • Where will it have the most effect?
  • When is the best time to distribute it?
  • Why should my audience care?

2.  Once your copy is almost set choose one or two keyword phrases to optimize it for. You can find lots of tips online about keyword research, but to start with just pick the most important phrases that are specifically relevant for the message.   The question “What is it about?” will tell you which these are.

3. Incorporate those phrases in your press release, but don’t repeat them over and over and over, ad infinitum.  Write naturally.  Your readers will thank you, and search engines won’t flag your content as spam. Search engines give more weight to phrases at the beginning of headlines.

4.  Use links to provide a pathway for interested readers to access more information.  Abandon all thoughts of generating keyword-rich backlinks from your press releases.  Instead, focus on delivering qualified traffic to your web site – that act will do more to help your web site’s ranking than almost anything else you can do with a press release, other than ….

5.  Add a photo.  Content that includes multimedia generates better results in terms of online views, and it’s more likely to be surfaced in search results, since you get a second chance at visibility via image search.  Images make your content more compelling.

6.  +1 the release on Google+. Google is the 800 lb gorilla of search and they show activity from people’s Google+ networks in their search results. If your audience is on Google+ your content needs to be too. If you’re not sure, +1 it anyway.

7.  Use your social network to promote your business. Tweet a link to the release using the primary phrase and share the release on Facebook.  All the major search engines value links from real people so retweets, shares and posts from influencers in your industry are important.

That’s it.  Those are my lucky 7 – I hope they are lucky for you.

If the above are old hat to you and you’re looking for more advanced tips, tricks and trends, check out the SEO posts on the blog.

If you have other tips to share post them in the comments below.  If we get enough we’ll post them all together and give you a shout-out.

 Author Rod Nicolson is PR Newswire’s VP of Global Reporting.

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