Press releases have always been a great tool to announce achievements, favorable industry or revenue reports, new product launches or expansion into new market segments, to concerned stakeholders. But a little-known fact is that a well-written, effectively-distributed press release can also compound your web presence and search engine rankings tremendously.
Google refreshes its search algorithms almost on a daily basis but three of its most impactful changes have been Panda updates (that cracked down on dubious backlink farming), Freshness updates (preference for fresh, relevant content) and Social Signals (links with relevant social channels).
An optimized press release has bright chances of ranking high up on SERPs as it meets all the three updates- it has authority backlinking, if distributed through paid channels such as PR wire or Marketwire; it’s fresh as companies make releases when they have latest, newsworthy information; and it has social proof by simultaneous social sharing.
Tips to improve search engine rankings through effective PRs
- Optimize for specific
Decide the keywords you wish for your public release to rank for. Just like any of your promotional tools such as blogs and website, press releases have potential to enhance your visibility before search engines.
- Publish the PR on your
Have a dedicated page for publishing the PR on your website and optimize the page for the same keywords. Do remember to include the keywords in the anchor text of the page. Don’t forget to backlink the PR to the website and vice versa to direct traffic to your site.
- Share on social channels
As you publish the PR on your website and through distribution channels, share it through your social media accounts to create a buzz in those communities. Again, backlink to your website. Conversely, have direct social handles in the PR so that readers can tweet, share or pin it in their accounts.
- Create a follow-up blog or video
Publish a blog or video post as a follow up to the press release. Make an announcement about it in advance on your website or social accounts to keep interested readers engaged.
- Don’t be overtly promotional
Although press releases are promotional in nature, you must avoid blatant self-promotion and keep the content interesting, informative and insightful. Draft the content with audience interest in mind. Include quotations from authority figures or concerned third parties, in your press release. If these referrals have a substantial social following, backlink to them too. A point to note is to not over-link; limit links to not more than three per PR. Proofread the content thoroughly and keep it crisp, authentic, and error-free.
- Distribute through paid news
PR Wire, Business Wire, and Marketwire are trusted news channels that can garner your press release maximum exposure and again strengthen your backlink gameplay. Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines view PRs published through these websites as more click-worthy.
- Don’t over publish
Publish press releases only when you have something truly worth communicating. Companies that cry wolf at the drop of a hat attract dismal public attention and also look suspicious to search engines.
- Manage publication strategically
Since you have more control over the release timing of your PR, time smartly to coincide with other related developments to attract even more eyeballs. Press releases are extremely effective in getting new eyes on your business.
- Follow prescribed format
Press release formats remain largely unchanged. Keep the heading under 22 characters and word length to 600 words (about two pages in standard font size). Include two or three keywords in the heading, sub-heading and introductory paragraph. Rich media such as video clippings can also soar your press release search ranking and share-worthiness.
- Ditch the hard copy
The days of writing paper press releases are definitely gone. Mailing to editors, journalists, and publishers or distributing using PR channels is the way forward. When sending a PR as a mail attachment, keep in mind that editors and news reporters are looking for engaging news and hard-hitting stories. Make things easy for them by writing crisp copy that talks about your story and news and include some high-definition images and verifiable quotes that make for a good read.