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Choose your words wisely for SEO success
There’s a lot of talk about search engine optimization in marketing and PR circles these days. Many are employing traditional SEO techniques while others are using press releases to draw target audiences to specific websites. The single most important tactic in SEO is the use of correct keywords. To target your audience and determine the most relevant keywords to put into a press release, I’ve turned to PR Newswire distribution expert Scott Huegerich for advice.
Rachel Meranus: Why are keywords important in a press release?
Scott Huegerich: Keywords are important because if you're speaking a different language than your target audience, your message won't be found. It goes beyond just using keywords; you need to use the right keywords. Determining the words and phrases that your audience uses to search for information related to your industry, product or service dictates your success in connecting with an online audience.
Imagine that you're selling vehicles for family vacations. Do you refer to them as "motor homes," "recreational vehicles" or "RVs"? A quick search using a keyword research tool like Google Trends reveals that the overwhelming majority of internet users search using the term "RV."
RM: How do you determine which keywords are appropriate for a particular press release?
SH: Consult your company's webmaster and marketing department. Chances are they've already carried out extensive keyword research in optimizing your website. By coordinating efforts, you'll ensure that the keywords in your release are the ones found on your website, which will support your company's overall SEO strategy.
RM: How many keywords should you include in a press release?
SH: It's Keywords or phrases should make up between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent of the words in your release. If you don't include enough instances of your keyword, search engines might not see your release as relevant for that keyword. If you include too many instances of your keyword, your release runs the risk of being identified as spam.
Make sure that you use only keywords that relate to your primary topic. Don't stuff your release full of keywords for two reasons: It will dilute your message and it might lower your search ranking. Focus on creating a message that resonates with your audience.
RM: What's the best way to use keywords in a press release?
SH: Place your keywords at the top of your release. Work them into the headline, subhead and lead sentence of your release. The inverted pyramid style of news writing lends itself well to SEO because it puts primary ideas at the beginning. When search engines scan your release, they place emphasis on the content you have at the top of the page. This ties into the idea of relevance--if you include all important information and relevant keywords at the beginning, your release will be thoroughly relevant to the message you're conveying.
RM: I often just write about the news I am trying to announce. What other strategies can I employ to highlight my news?
SH: One powerful strategy is to include multimedia elements with your release. Press releases that make use of videos, photos and audio gain additional traction with internet users, engaging them on a different level.
Rachel Meranus is Entrepreneur.com's "PR" columnist and vice president, public relations at PR Newswire. Get more information about PR Newswire and public relations with their PR Toolkit for small businesses.
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