The #1 Best-Kept Secret in SEO
Maintaining a high ranking on search engines requires a constant, dedicated effort on your part. For a lot of us, it seems like as soon as you rank on the first page, a competitor is there to bump you down to page 2. Whether you’re part of an enterprise marketing effort, or a team of one, we could all use a little secret magic in our SEO efforts.
Think you’ve tried every search engine optimization tool in the book? Think again. I’m willing to bet there’s one you haven’t included in your overall marketing mix.
A press release isn’t only a way to announce information — it’s also a great little ball of SEO, for many reasons:
- You can include keywords that people are searching to find your website.
- You can hyperlink to specific pages on your site in the release.
- You can publish each press release on dozens of quality websites. Google likes this, and will move you up in search results accordingly.
So Why Aren’t More People Writing Press Releases?
Good question. First, not everyone realizes how valuable press releases can be to your marketing strategy. Second, I think many people believe that writing press releases is more complicated than it really is. Press releases can be mastered, once you understand the format and distribution options.
Tips for Writing Press Releases and Mastering SEO Once and For All
There’s no need to outsource your press releases — once you understand the rules, you can write them yourself. Let me break down the process for you:+
- Start with a piece of solid news, like the award your company recently won, the major contract you’ve just secured, or a great new piece of content you want to promote.
- Find a press release template so you know what goes where. Some websites won’t post your press release unless it’s correctly formatted, so stick to the template.
- Incorporate keywords (more on that in the next section).
- Find an image to enhance the visual appeal. This could simply be your company logo.
- Finally, plug in your info and distribute online.
As you become more comfortable writing press releases, you might experiment by including video or more hyperlinks. For more tips on writing an amazing press release, check out Marketo’s recent post Introducing the Modern Press Release.
In terms of distribution, you may want to use an online press release distribution site, like Google News, or an industry-specific distribution channel. You can also send your release directly to journalists who you hope will want to write about your brand. If you do send your release to journalists, understand that their inboxes are already saturated with releases, so your best bet is to send your release out online, where you know it can do some SEO good.
Below is an example of a press release. Pay close attention to these components:
- Headline: Succinctly explains what the release is about.
- Summary: Tells readers, in a few sentences, what the release covers.
- Image: This company used its logo. You want something dynamic, but clean.
- Hyperlinks: Drive traffic back to your website, so that people can quickly see what you’re about.
- Contact info: Make it easy for people to contact your company.
- Social share buttons: Provide a simple way for readers to share the release.
How to Add in Keywords
Keywords can definitely improve your search rankings, but they won’t if you overdo it. Before you start stuffing keywords into every sentence of your press release, take a breath. If you overuse keywords in a press release, Google will punish you — and so will your readers. It’s hard to sound natural when you’re keyword stuffing, and Google will penalize you with lower search rankings. Use no more than two keywords, per PRWeb’s recommendation, and use them naturally throughout your release. If there’s a key phrase you want to include, use it only once — and, again, use it naturally.
What do I mean by “naturally?” Your press release should flow as if someone were speaking it out loud. You can test this by actually reading it aloud (preferably in private!). Here’s an example of a keyword-stuffed announcement that does not sound natural:
Company X, which sells widgets, announces its big widgets news: it now sells widgets to people who buy widgets.
Awkward, right? If you use too many keywords, your press release will sound like a robot wrote it. Try this instead:
Company X announces the arrival of its newest product: widgets.
Google will get understand which keywords you care about, even if you use them sparingly. That said, you can always include one of your keywords in your headline.
In the following example, you can see that the company used “incorporate” throughout its press release. This is one of its keywords, but it also falls naturally into the verbiage of the release.
But Do Press Releases REALLY Help with SEO?
Some marketing experts now claim that press releases don’t boost SEO, but the latest data seems to prove them wrong. Whether or not Google wants to admit that press releases boost ranking for specific keywords, we’re seeing many cases where businesses have achieved positive results.
Don’t believe me? Set up your own test.
First, choose two keywords you want to rank better for. Find out where you fall in search results today, and also find out what your existing web traffic is. Next, write your release, using those two keywords. Don’t forget to include a link or three back to your site.
Use a press release distribution service to get your release published on as many news and industry sites as possible. Then, over the following week, pay attention to where you now fall in those search results. Did you move up? Did you see a boost in web traffic?
If so, mission accomplished. Keep in mind: some press release topics will generate better results than others. Make sure to document the results of every press release you publish. If you’ve identified the topics that send your site the most traffic and get you better rankings, you can write similar releases in the future.
Press releases are an easy, inexpensive way to boost your SEO, especially when used in conjunction with other marketing tools. Integrate your SEO strategy with social media, content marketing, and email marketing. This will attract new prospects and customers to your site, and also ensure that you’re found by Google and other search engines.
Has your company used press releases to boost your SEO rankings? What tips would you share with the marketing community?