Press releases have long been considered excellent link building opportunities, but after Google has devised their definition of link schemes, they are no longer an efficient strategy. Why? Because the world’s largest search engine calls links in the body of press releases “unnatural,” and mandates unfollowing them. If you’re going to distribute press releases through paid wire services like Business Wire, PR Newswire, or Marketwire, you must apply the “nofollow” attribute to links if they have an optimised anchor text. Meaning, press releases aren’t a link building opportunity anymore, and you can’t use them to generate inbound links.
But even though Google has taken away press releases as valuable link building opportunities, there are still a couple of great optimisation tactics you can use to improve user experience and make your PR more search engine-friendly.
Keep reading to find out how you can make your press releases a valuable asset for your company.
Press Releases Are All about Content Discovery
The goal of your press release shouldn’t be improving your SEO – you should aim to reach journalists and consumers, and effectively communicate news stories that will be of interest to them. Bloomberg, Reuters, Dow Jones and many other websites have press releases integrated within their editorial system. Thanks to wire services like Business Wire and PR Newswire, a whopping 8,000 websites publish press releases, thus offering companies coverage and exposure.
With the help of social media, press releases can create customer engagement and generate social interaction, which will ultimately help your website gradually acquire more popularity. According to PR Newswire content marketing vice president, Sarah Sherik, generating reads, clicks and engagement is where the value of press releases lie.
The key to getting the most out of your press releases is optimising them for search. Unfortunately, less than 15 per cent of all press releases are search engine-friendly, as shown by a recent survey.
1. Optimise Press Releases for Relevant Keywords
Sprinkling relevant keywords every here and there can go a long way towards making your PR more valuable and search engine-friendly. But as with any piece of content you publish your website, you must be careful not to keyword-stuff your content. One or two occurrences within 500 words will be more than enough to increase the relevance of any press release.
Remember that, since Google relies heavily on latent semantic indexing, your best bet will be writing in a natural language to capture long-tail traffic, without over-optimising the PR for a specific keyword. Google will automatically consider the press release relevant for variations of that keyword even if you haven’t included them in the PR.
2. Include and Optimise Images and Videos
Both images and videos can make your content more relevant and also better communicate ideas. They also enable you to better optimise your press release and make it more search engine-friendly. Make sure to replace the image filename with a relevant one – instead of “photo_123456.jpg,” you should rename it “Important Product Name.jpg” or “Best Digital Marketing Agency in UK.” Also, don’t forget to include a descriptive caption for every image or video you include in the press release.
Google Images drives a massive amount of traffic, thus giving you more exposure and redirecting readers back to your website. When optimised correctly, images in your press release can really give your website a boost in search engine rankings.
At Digital Search Group, we use only the most effective optimisation strategies for press releases. Click here to visit our website.
3. Include Correct Contact Information
Omitting contact information in your press releases is a major mistake you can make. Contact information lets reporters and journalists follow up with questions. Make sure your contact details are accurate and current. You may also want to include your Twitter handle, if you have one. You can also put a link to your website in this section of the press release – since there’s no optimised anchor text involved and you’re adding just the URL, Google won’t take issue with this. Stop looking for other links on press releases tips – even one link in the Contact section of your PR can drive qualified traffic to your website.
4. Use Text Formatting for Emphasis
There’s this misconception that companies should never care for text formatting since it’s about a press release – but this couldn’t be further away from the truth. Formatting adds emphasis to any press release, helping you break up your content into easily digestible sections and make it more scannable for skimmers. Bold, italic, underlined and bulleted text, as well as subheadings, can all improve readability and user experience.