Business Wire, Marketwire, PrimeNewswire, PR Newswire, and PRWeb: these are the main paid wire services that American companies use. On any given day a couple of thousand press releases are sent out in the U.S. by those wire services. So, how can you separate yourself from the pack? How can your PR efforts and press releases be noticed in such a throng? It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
It’s no longer enough to concern yourself with interesting the traditional media with your releases. Yes, you need to create press releases that meet the needs of the traditional media, but you also need to maximize the use of search engine optimization (SEO). Why do you need to concern yourself with SEO? Will it help you land a story in the New York Times or an interview on the Today show? Most likely not. But it can help in other ways. For example, when someone is searching online for a company that offers your type of product or service, are you the one they’re going to find? Where do you show up when it comes to a Google search?
That’s where search engine optimization comes in. SEO’s primary function is to help you rank in Google and Yahoo News and for your keywords. And this is generally accomplished by knowing your keywords, and creating anchor backlinks for your blog or website.
Anchor text is the hyperlinked text on a web page. They are the highlighted words you click on when you click a link. It offers readers information about the nature of the page you’re linking to. For example, this is my Public Relations Firm’s website linked to a keyword. More importantly anchor text communicates with search engines. In essence it tells search engines what the page is about. It’s incredibly important to use in your press releases; used effectively it can boost your rankings and particularly your Google rankings.
Your first step is to learn your primary and secondary keywords. Your press releases should reflect the keywords used on your website. You want your releases to work for you by driving search engines to your site. Don’t make the mistake of only using your keywords on your homepage. Make a concerted effort to have a minimum of one of the keyword links in your press releases lead to a page on your site other than your homepage.
Focus on the first 200 to 250 words of your release. These initial words set the tone not only for the release itself but for your overall search results. You want to choose those words carefully and you want them to be targeted.
In most of my articles about press releases, my main focus is on the content; on telling a strong story with a compelling narrative. Those are points you always have to keep in mind and my follow up article on SEO press releases will cover that in more depth, but here the focus is on making sure that your releases not only are interesting but that they also are SEO friendly. A few points to keep in mind are to make sure your headline contains your primary keyword and that you pepper the release itself with three target keywords. Also, never forget to include at least one URL in the release. You never know, your release might be republished without anchor text and by including your URL you’ll assure that the reader can find you.
SEO is an ever changing field and one I don’t think anyone fully masters. So keep experimenting and keep writing new releases with SEO in mind, but also remember, when all is said and done, it comes down to telling a compelling story. Don’t get so lost in the SEO game that you forget the basics.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012