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Press Release Optimization for Search Engines: Getting more bang for your word count

This post was written by Laurie Mahoney, Product Marketing Manager for CisionWire, Cision’s new press release distribution service, and Brandon Andersen.

Ten tips for using a traditional wire service to optimize your press release

In the past, press releases were used to target journalists in hopes of getting a story picked up. Now, press releases have evolved into a medium that also draw consumers and influencers to your story via the major search engines.
An optimized press release draws consumers not only to the press release, but also to your website. These tips will help get you started in the world of Press Release SEO:

1. Choose the right keywords.

If you take the time to do a little keyword research before your next optimized press release, you can continue to use these same keywords in subsequent releases. Start by researching your keywords on sites like Google Adwords or WordTracker. Incorporate the most relevant keywords into your release as you write it.

2. Avoid using industry jargon for keywords.

Know who your audience is and speak directly to them. How do your customers/journalists refer to your service or product? For example, if you are trying to promote your monitoring services as “Media Monitoring”, but your clients are searching for “Press Clippings” you are completely missing your audience.

3. Don’t target too many keywords. Be specific.

Try to limit the number of unique keyword phrases that you are incorporating into your release to 2-3. This helps the audience as well as search engines to understand exactly what your release is about.

4. Use keywords in your headline.

Based on your research, pick your two most important keywords and try to use them in your headline and/or subhead. Try to pick keywords that are frequently used by your consumers but aren’t oversaturated by your competition.

5. Optimize from the top down.

Search engines weigh the beginning of your press release more heavily than the rest of it. Optimizing your secondary header and first paragraph (about 100 words or so) are great places to start. Use the keywords that you defined within these sections to provide as much context around the release as you can.

6. Use anchor text in your links.

Anchor text is the clickable part of a hyperlink that search engines use to figure out what the linked page is about. For example, this media database link, tells search engines that the linked Cision Media Database page is about a media database. A common mistake is to link the text “Click here”, which provides no context about the linked page to search engines.

7. Link to internal pages, not just your homepage.

A common mistake is to only link to your homepage in a press release. Instead, link directly to the content on your site that is being addressed in the release. This helps users and search engines find relevant information without having to navigate from your homepage. It also helps boost your individual pages in search engine results. As an added bonus, make sure the pages you link to have a call to action for your reader.

8. Don’t over-link.

Using too many links in your press release will degrade the value of each link. Based on a 400 word release, the sweet spot seems to be around 2-3 links back to your site.

9. Use multimedia.

Images and videos not only capture your audience’s attention, they also get indexed by search engines. Images and videos are displayed along with regular web results on search engine results pages. Video gives you a great edge, as Nate Elliott of Forrester Research found that videos are 50 times more likely to show up on the first page of results compared to regular web pages. So even if your release doesn’t make the front page, your images or videos may.

10. Use a service that optimizes your press release online.

When you’re ready to distribute your press release, give it an extra boost with a service that optimizes it online. Many traditional wire services offer SEO distributions that you can use as a standalone or in conjunction with a traditional wire distribution. Learn more about Cision’s new press release distribution service here.

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