Making Relevant Press Releases for SEO
3 min read
“Is it possible to create press releases for SEO?” This is an old and common question among digital marketers and PR professionals who see the digital landscape changing each day immensely.
Press releases provide crucial information about an organisation or a story, with the hopes for the publication to have it posted online. If you seek to get the word out about your brand, online press releases are a feasible strategy to enhance exposure, brand recognition, and referral traffic.
But do press releases work for SEO today? To put it short, yes, they can – when executed correctly, that is. Press releases that are newsworthy and not solely dedicated to bringing backlinks can also be a powerful SEO strategy tool.
What are the Benefits of Using Press Releases for SEO?
The biggest benefit of an SEO-optimised press release is indirect value. Especially by today’s best practices, press releases provide more indirect value than direct value. Direct value comes from the ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), which is possible, albeit rare. For example, press releases that appear in the “News” section of SERPs can drive organic traffic to your site, generating the buzz and brand awareness you were after. There is also direct value from the link of the press release site.
That being said, the real value is the indirect value. Since if your press release is unique and valuable, then a publisher is more likely to pick it up, giving you a high-quality, relevant and authoritative backlink pointing to the original site. These are excellent additions to your domain, as natural link building genuinely makes a positive brand mention.
The problem with using press releases for SEO is that, like anything, too much of something is never good. Somewhere along the way, they have been abused to produce high volumes of links. Rather than sending them to get a story written by a journalist, marketers spammed press release platforms with low-quality content purely for that backlink (which Google penalises you for!).
Best Practices to Follow
As we’ve already mentioned, the internet has allowed for an overwhelming number of press releases to be issued on a daily basis, all of which can’t possibly be reported upon. That’s why you need to make yours stand out from the rest by optimising your content in line with SEO best practices.
Anchor text and links contribute to a press release’s indirect value, but it’s important to be careful with the links and anchor text you use. Why? Because less is more – don’t go overboard with hyperlinks and anchor text. Since press releases are usually kept between 400-600 words, we need around 2-3 anchor links to avoid being spammy and therefore give search engines another reason to block or penalise it from SERPs.
When using press releases for SEO, best practices are linking from keywords rather than catchphrases like “learn more”, “click here” or descriptive language. Always make sure to be creative and pick carefully.
Perform keyword research on the topic you’re writing about, making sure they appear in the headline and first 250 words. Using certain keywords and phrases will allow you to rank higher on search results. Ideally, you should use your primary keyword target in the anchor text of your first link.
Nofollow links are key as you will want to “nofollow” all backlinks present in press releases to avoid penalties by Google. This requires that each link’s <a> tag contains the rel=”nofollow” attribute. If using these links makes you hesitant about putting out a press release, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
In the event that large chunks of text from your site are pasted into the press release, canonical tags should be utilised. This is the same if you’re planning to place the press release directly on your site or blog.
Distribute to the Right People
Don’t just post your press release on as many platforms as possible. Distribute the piece to the most relevant ones, the ones that are a good fit for your audience and your location and are most likely to cover the story. This ties in with having high-quality, relevant backlinks, so make sure to do this.
As long as you’ve got something important and relevant to shout out, using press releases for SEO will always be an effective tool. When you create one that’s high quality, newsworthy and distributed to relevant journalists, your website has the potential to be a valuable source for a great news piece or article.
At Digital Ethos, we understand the importance of having the right intentions when it comes to using press releases to increase your online visibility, credibility and brand awareness. With our combination of SEO and PR services, we can positively influence your target audience by building your brand reach.
Got a project for us? We’re always here to help, so get in touch, and we’ll shine a light on your digital solution.