Optimising Your Press Releases: Ten Ways to Rule the Rankings

The social web has invigorated the press release – exposing it to new audiences, making it more interactive and interesting, and giving it a prime role in driving traffic to your website. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the most important factor behind this resurgence. With keywords, tags, links and eye-catching multimedia content, the new “Social Media Release” pulls in its key audiences. These press releases aren’t just for the “press” – they’re for anyone interested in your topic, company, product or industry: journalists, analysts, consumers, channel partners, competitors, and potential employees. They’re concise, reader friendly, and easy to share and tweet. Embedded links offer the right level of background information to every reader. Although writing best practices still applies, developing an effective press release in the era of SEO and social media requires a change in process. Here are ten tips to help you handle that change and truly optimise your press releases. 1. Research Keywords First Type potential keywords into tools like Google AdWords and Google Suggest, KeywordDiscovery.com, Wordtracker, and (for the moment, at least) Yahoo Search Assist to find out what people are searching on, and how often. The best keywords rank high – but aren’t overused by your competition. Compile a “Keyword Bible” and review and refresh it constantly. 2. Speak the Right Language Always remember that your keywords are the ones that your consumers and target audiences are using – not necessarily the ones you use internally. For example, if you’re talking about films and your customers are typing in “movies,” you may be losing clicks and sales to your competition. Avoid buzzwords and jargon. 3. Tell the Story Straight Even in the age of SEO, content is king. As always, write clearly and be concise and credible. For a smooth narrative and style, keep your keywords in the front of your mind when you write – but in a 400-word press release, use only three to five keywords. 4. Use Your “Heads” Keep headlines and subheads short, sweet and to the point. Use the top one or two keywords within the first 65-100 characters of the headline. Search engines read from left to right and some have a 100-character limit for headlines, so make sure your head gets right to the point. And because search engines read like we do, top to bottom, use keywords in the first two paragraphs for maximum impact. 5. Write in Bite-Sized Chunks An optimised release is easily shared – the more inbound links it gets from readers, the higher it will rank with search engines. When you’re writing, keep sharability in mind. Information nuggets in 140-character chunks can be more easily retweeted. 6. Weave in Hyperlinks Remember your goals: get the news out, increase web traffic, and better understand your customers and prospects. Anchor text – hyperlinked keywords – takes readers to web pages where they can get more corporate or product information, download a podcast or a white paper, or register for a sales call. 7. Use Restraint If you overuse keywords or anchor text, you risk confusing both reader and search engine. Likewise, offer only two to three hyperlinks per 400-word release to make sure each link has the most impact. SEO websites like CisionWire let you “tag” releases with “meta data” that can also help search engines find your content. 8. Link to Multiple Relevant Pages You need only link once to your home page. Use the other hyperlinks in your release to direct readers to other, and perhaps more relevant, pages on your site that they’ll find useful – and increase traffic to those pages too. 9. Add Multimedia CisionWire and other SEO websites make adding multimedia content easy. Add video, still photography, graphics, podcasts, and other links when you post your release to an SEO web distribution service. You’ll get more clicks – over 80 percent more search traffic according to some research – and your videos and images will also be indexed on search engines. 10. Post to an SEO Website like CisionWire CisionWire boosts the SEO performance of your release and drives more visitors to your website because it gets higher page-rankings than almost every corporate site. It’s cost-effective, flexible and easy to use. In addition to SEO, you can share your news over wire services and through social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Digg and Delicious. Its “online newsroom” is a go-to information resource centre that keeps your news, links, videos and podcasts alive – and directs even more traffic to your site. SEO hasn’t changed everything about press release writing – but being concise, direct and engaging are more important than ever before. Combine the basics with these tips to gain more visibility, web traffic and success. Thanks to the kind people at Cison for helping us out with this post