SEO Friendly Press Releases

In our previous post, we have learned how to write a press release, now we’ll take a look on how to write one that will attract visitors to your website:

Today, studies indicate that the vast majority of journalists working a story or seeking ideas are likely to turn first to the search engine of their choosing.

Where the primary goal was once to get your printed press release opened and read, the new “job one” for publicity seekers is making certain that, when a journalist types in keywords that relate to your business, you’re right there, at the top of the rankings.
Of course, getting your main website as optimized and as search engine-friendly as can be is a hot and vital topic for all businesses, and it’s one that can fill entire books. For this article, however, we’ll focus on just one task: how to get your press releases indexed, and highly ranked by major search engines.
Many of the principles that apply to getting entire sites highly ranked are similar, but there are some things unique to press release-only search engine
optimization.
Let’s start with some words of wisdom offered by a fellow Free Publicity subscriber. Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations was kind enough lay out the steps he’s taken to assure that his press releases are well-indexed and ready to grab the
attention of any searching travel journalist. So let’s turn it over to Tim:

  1. Get as many links back to your web site as possible from like-minded sites (and return the favor)— this has more impact than anything.
  2. Always feature your web site address in any articles or press releases as this will often show up as another link if the article is posted on the web.
  3. Get as many relevant keywords that relate to your expertise/product as you can into the content of your web site pages, and not just the home page. The more specific, the better. (For example, “cheap flights” wouldn’t do me much good since there are probably a thousand sites using those words.)
  4. Pay to submit your sites to all the search engines at once, ideally several times per year. I use www.ineedhits.com, which is downright cheap.
  5. If it makes sense for your business, start a weblog and contribute regularly. For whatever reason, these tend to get high rankings in Google. Write about what you know and use targeted, relevant keywords in the title.
  6. I’ve read that static web sites don’t fare as well in search results, so it makes sense to update the site on a regular basis, even if you’re not changing much. Apparently the search spiders look at the “last published” date in your code.
  7. Some writers are adamant that you shouldn’t write without getting paid. I think that’s bunk. Every time you write an article for a web site, that’s another notch in your web search visibility and if you’ve put a link to your own site, another addition to your score.
  8. All this takes time to work, so people shouldn’t expect instant results. Over time though, it snowballs. When I pull up my name or the name of my book on the search engines, it goes on for at least ten pages. And yes, it always makes sense to have a few relevant keywords or phrases in all of your press releases, especially if you’re an expert in a specific area. Envision what words should lead someone to your web site, then make sure those are in there somewhere.

I’ll add a few extra tips that seem to be working:

  • Consider distributing your release through a paid service like PR Newswire. These folks practically invented the idea of search engine optimized press release distribution, and they consistently get their clients releases at the top of the engines.
  • Choose your keywords carefully. Again (and this is the Free Publicity mantra), think like a journalist! If a journalist was using Google to search for story ideas in your area of expertise, which words or phrases would he or she enter? Need some help figuring this out? Try the excellent service WordTracker (http://www.wordtracker.com). It’s a brilliantly-designed resource to nail down exactly the right keywords for your company. A free alternative is The Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/). My advice? Use them both!
  • When you write your press release, pick your main keyword or keyword phrase in the page title, the headline and the subhead. Then put it in the lead paragraph! Don’t try to jam more than one keyword phrase into the release and dilute your chances of a high ranking. Keep it simple. Let’s say you’re in the business of selling digital photography equipment. Your visit to WordTracker informs you that the most searched phrase
    related to your industry is “digital camera”. Your release deals with consumer tips to avoid fraud. Further research shows that the phrase “rip-off” is heavily searched. Thus, your keyword phrase is “digital camera rip-off”. Here’s how you might craft your release:
    Page Title: Avoiding Digital Camera Rip-Offs
    Headline: How To Avoid Rip-Offs When Buying a Digital Camera
    Subhead: Danger — Digital Camera Rip-Off Artists at Work!
    Lead Sentence: Digital camera rip-offs are on the rise, according to digital camera expert Joe Smith.
    One more thing: keep your release short so you don’t dilute your the impact of your keyword phrase!
  • Getting links to your release is vital. Link to it from your home page, and try to garner links from e-zines, blogs and websites with good Google Page Ranks (get the Google toolbar to help determine page rankings of
    other sites). What you’re shooting for would be something like this:
    Joe Smith has some great ideas about how not to get ripped off when buying a digital camera. You can see his tips at http://nameofsite.com/ripoffrelease.html
  • One last bit of advice — after you’ve done it once, keep at it! Build a library of search engine optimized press releases and the media will keep finding you. Imagine that: journalists coming to you without getting
    on the phone, begging, pleading or sending out mailing after mailing. You gotta love the Internet..

Copyright 2008, Stoller & Bard Communications, Inc. all rights reserved. http://www.publicityinsider.com

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