When you think about search engine optimization (SEO), press releases may not be the first thing that pops in your mind. But research conducted by PR Newswire’s web team found that press releases play a vital role in gaining visibility for your company’s news.

PR Newswire’s public-facing website, PRNewswire.com, gets a decent amount of web traffic thanks to search engines. Millions of queries– on everything from “fructose malabsorption” to “Alaska cruises in May” (actual search query examples from our Google Search Console)– have resulted in PRNewswire.com press releases being in the top spots on search engine results pages.

In the web team’s review, we uncovered search queries that lost positions of authority because of the latest Google algorithm updates this spring. Most of those cases were from press releases distributed through PR Newswire in prior years. These are missed opportunities for continued search visibility. If you have (or are trying for) a top-ranking press release for a certain keyword and/or key phrases, continuously issuing high-quality, informative press releases with that keyword through your press release distribution partner is a good strategy. 

I know it sounds like a sales pitch, coming from someone who works for said press release distribution partner, but this recommendation was echoed by our third-party SEO consultant during our regular site audit. Press releases that are considered out-of-date and no longer applicable will cycle out of the top results.

It is important to remember that high-quality, E-A-T content– Expert, Authoritative and Trustworthy– is the first step. Press releases without E-A-T content will not positively impact the visibility of your message.

A continuous press release strategy is also vital to your earned media campaigns, though I do not suggest using the exact same press release for targeted earned media pitches. According to Cision’s recent State of the Media report, 75% of journalists say that less than a quarter of the pitches they receive are relevant or useful.

So, while you should issue a general press release for visibility, if you are pitching the same message to journalists, package your news with an understanding of the journalist’s audience, have a relevant news angle, and include any experts and multimedia that can be used in a news piece. Luckily, Cision’s Communications Cloud lets you distribute your general press release and your targeted pitches in one tool (end of sales pitches, I promise). 

Keep this in mind when crafting a pitch, too: 65% of journalists would rather receive customized press releases segmented by what they cover– whether it is the product, industry or theme–  rather than one mass-audience release. The mass-audience release is much better suited for search visibility.

Press releases are a vital part of any public relations, earned media and visibility strategy; just like any strategy, they deserve constant consideration and updates so your message can quite literally remain on top! 

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About Sandra Azzollini McKinley

Sandra Azzollini McKinley is Vice President, Audience and Marketing IT at Cision. In her role, Sandy oversees the technical development of several of the company’s owned properties, including Cision.com and PRNewswire.com, ensuring a seamless, useful, and engaging experience. The websites have been honored with several industry awards, including two CODiEs, Best Online News Service, and Best Online Business Information Service: Non-News; Bulldog Awards, Best Website; and Web Marketing Association’s Best Public Relations Website Award. Sandy holds a BA and an MBA from Rutgers University and has served as President of the Rutgers Executive MBA Alumni Association. She was the recipient of Rutgers’ Joel E. Kelly Leadership Award. She has also written articles on digital experience for several publications, including PR Daily, the Cision blog, and Beyond Bylines.