Dan O'brien - VividAscentThis post is co-written by Integrated Marketing expert Dan O’Brien, CEO of VividAscent.

Thank you to those of you that attended last week’s “SEO 201 for Press Releases” webinar.  We had a great turnout and great questions about how to optimize press releases that we weren’t able to get to in the webinar, so we wanted to answer them here.  Also be sure to check out our previous blog post 9 Press Release SEO Questions Answered.

Q.  Doesn’t the practice of including URLs in parentheses after hypertext links make the press release less readable to human readers and therefore diminish your returns for including the additional URLs?

Dan O’Brien: If your press release is being picked up by a site that disables hyperlinks, you won’t defeat this preference by adding the URL in parenthesis after the anchor text.  If you want to add a hyperlink URL to the press release, put it in a “Related Links” area at the bottom of the release. Unless you have a very clean URL, adding the URL after the anchor text will not contribute to a positive user experience.

Q: What is a good percentage of keyword density both in press release and on web to be effective but not appear as a keyword stuffer?

Laurie Mahoney: Historically you would shoot for a keyword density of between 2% and 6%, but nowadays keyword density doesn’t seem to play as an important role in SEO.  It has more to do with where the keywords are found on the page.

Both on the web and in a press release, try to choose 2-3 keywords or phrases that you want to target. If you are consistent in using the same keywords or phrases in the body of the article as you use in your metadata (i.e. your title tag & description tag), headline and body of the article or release, it will help the search engines to validate the relevancy of your information around those keywords and will prevent you from being seen as a “keyword stuffer”.  Simply focusing on using the keywords consistently but maintaining readability will help you write a press release that is good for search engines and for your audience.

Q: Let’s say my firm has created a video and my webmaster puts a segment up on my website but the video lives in YouTube.  In the future, could my webmaster have my firm possess the originator embed code, even though the segment goes to YouTube?

Brandon Andersen: For those of you who were unable to join us for the SEO 201 webinar and are unfamiliar with Google’s new source attribution metatags, you can learn more here: http://www.google.com/support/news_pub/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=191283

If your video is your own creation, you upload it to YouTube, and then embed the video back on your website; I would suggest that you put the Originator meta tag on your website where that video is embedded.  YouTube becomes the vehicle that you are using to display and share that video, so YouTube itself is the syndicator.

Q: How many words did you say to have per link?  That is, what is the suggested limit?

Laurie Mahoney:  Your hypertext links should consist of keyword phrases that you use to promote your product or services, also known as your “keyword bible” that we discussed in our SEO 101 for PR webinar. If one of your keyword phrases is “best sushi restaurant in Chicago” then you should try to incorporate that phrase into your press release. Some keyword phrases are 2-3 words in length. Yours might be longer. That’s okay as long as you try to keep the number of keyword phrases in your press release to a minimum though – 2-3 links per 400-500 words.

Q.  Doesn’t hosting your own video content on your site and not on YouTube dramatically cut down on the findability of your video content? Should you post it in both places?  But that seems to break the redundancy rule. Thoughts?

Dan O’Brien: It depends on the company/website.  Companies that attract a lot of monthly traffic would benefit from hosting videos and seeding their video links in highly targeted blogs and forums, inviting relevant customers back to your website to view the videos.  YouTube is a good place to post videos for reaching a broader audience, although these videos do not link back to your site (although there is SEO value).  As an example, since there is very little Google competition for the keywords “thermometer speed testing”, your YouTube videos appear near the top of search results.  If you had hosted these videos on your website and seeded the link in some highly relevant places online, your website might have appeared in the top of search results instead of Youtube.   Since Google favors YouTube videos, however, you can’t go wrong posting on Youtube.


About Brandon Andersen

Brandon is the Director of Marketing at Cision US. In his role, Brandon leads Cision’s US marketing team and develops strategies for engaging marketing and PR professionals. He is a host of the popular Cision Webinar series, and blogs about everything from inbound/content marketing tactics to future trends in communication and technology on Cision Blog. Find him on Twitter @brandonchicago