When you think about Search Engine Optimization, you probably think about websites and blogs. Maybe social media. But press releases?
Press releases are actually great SEO tools for several reasons:
When your release is distributed online, it includes a link back to your site. So essentially, you get dozens of other sites — including highly reputable ones like Google News — linking back to yours.
If you use targeted keywords in your release, it helps people searching for those words find you through your release.
You get what I call secondary SEO: when a journalist reads your release and writes her own article on you, that online story will lead people back to your website.
As you can see, there are ample reasons why press releases can be a part of your SEO strategy.
Choosing Keywords for Your Press Release
Just like with keywords for your website, you want to be responsible about how you use them, and how many you include. If you overstuff your release, first of all, the distribution service you use won’t approve the release, and second of all, Google will ping you for keyword stuffing.
Instead, focus on two or three keywords you want to associate with your brand. Use them 1-2 times throughout the release, hyperlinking to them when possible (for a great example of using hyperlinked keywords, see this CorpNet press release).
I always recommend Google’s AdWords Tool for any keyword research. Type in a few keywords you think are a good fit for your brand or your release, then see what comes up. Choose words with a decent amount of search traffic, but low or medium competition. That way, you stand a better chance of making it to the top of search results.
Use the keywords naturally throughout the press release, as well as in the headline.
Amplify Your Message
Any time you write a press release, share it on social media. I like PRWeb for distribution because it has built-in social sharing tools that allow readers to easily post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn. The more places you share your press release, the more people will see it, read it, and share it. And don’t forget, if it’s small business-related, Small Biz Trends accepts press releases here.
Once your release is published online, choose a few media contacts to send it to. Never attach a press release in an email. Instead, hyperlink to the online version. It makes you look more professional to have it published online, and the recipient doesn’t have to worry about harmful files in her email.
Building Your PR Strategy
If you send out press releases regularly, you’ll start to see your website rise in search results. You’ll get an increase in web traffic, and as a result, sales. Just keep them coming in a steady flow, but always make sure you have something newsworthy to cover. It’s better to wait to issue a press release than to send out one based on fluff.