5 Keys to Writing a Press Release that gets PR [Page Rank]

Ever wished you had your own in-house search engine strategist? I have and today we do.

Thanks to Bob Tripathi for contributing this guest post on how to write an optimized press release. Bob and I met in the press lounge at Ad-Tech, we worked collaboratively to promote a SEMPO event and we met up at SES Chicago. Bob Tripathi works as an in-house search marketing strategist with Discover Financial Services. Bob also does In-House SEO Training and online marketing training at Instant E Training.

Five Ways to Write an Optimized Press Release
Headline – Most important part of your release so use your most relevant keywords here
• Sub Heading – Use secondary keywords in the subheading
• Body of Press Release – Use primary & secondary terms here
• Use of Hyperlinks – (link to other pages on website)
• Post Image with each release

In 2007, Google unveiled a new way of showing results from user search queries and named it Universal Search.

What universal search essentially was a new way of pulling information from various sources like video sites, social network sites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, from blogs, and press releases. What this created was a new way to optimize all your sources of content. Traditionally, in order to rank higher in search engines we would go and optimize the content on our site and voila!

One of the biggest changes that have taken place is in the traditional role of Corporate Communications.

The early days of writing a press release and then faxing or emailing the story over to a list of journalists is long gone. Instead, journalists today are used to subscribing to RSS feeds, searching Google and Yahoo news sources among others as new methods of finding stories. As such, optimizing press releases becomes a very important step in this whole process of internet news optimization.

Optimizing press releases ensures that your story gets wider coverage in the marketplace and the one that stays fresh and in circulation for a longer period of time.

It is imperative that all press releases that you send out are optimized for search engines. Lets look at all the important elements of a press release.

The Anatomy of a press release

The headline and the sub-headline are the most important part of your press release. Make sure you are using the right keywords in this section

Ideally, you want to target 2-3 keywords and use in both headline and sub-headline. Here your goal should be to use the language that the users would type in the search engines and not the language that YOU use to describe your product or services. I like to call that as alignment of languages. Later on we will also look at using keyword research tools to find the right keywords.

The press release body is the place where you want to use your primary and secondary keywords but at the same time ensuring that you are not diluting your content by stuffing (overusing) your keywords. I would suggest not using your each keyword more than twice. This is also the place where you want to use your press releases with links going back to your site. Again, hyperlink your strategic keywords as search engines follow the anchor text trail to rank pages.

To give you an example:
Our CEO had more to say about this issue. Click here to learn more…..
The common fallacy here is to make the “Click Here to learn more” part hyperlinked.

Instead try writing it this way…..
Find out more on what our CEO has to say about Educational Toys…
In here you would hyperlink the words “Educational Toys.”

As a rule of thumb use 1-2 links within your press release going back to your site.
Using more and chances are your press release might get flagged by some news agencies.
Your footer is another place where you should use links to your company site and also internal product or services page.

Remember, a well optimized press release will not only help you in build great search engine visibility but also help to build links.

Keyword Research to Optimize Press Releases
Keyword research is all about aligning your language with the language of your target market. Online marketing has given marketers the edge by knowing what prospects are thinking and searching and targeting them accordingly.

I would suggest using Google’s free keyword tool as a good starting point. You can also learn more on how to use Google Suggest for Keyword Research. The best part of this tool is it will give you a good estimate of what keywords drive the highest volume in terms of search queries.

You can customize based on your country as well as keyword preferences. Once you enter a keyword in this tool it should give you results like the one below

On the top right there is a match type drop-down and depending on what you select your search volume estimates could vary. More information on match type can be found in Google Help Center. I like to keep it at Exact match type as that is a better predictor than the broad match type. Also, remember that Google keyword tool includes estimates from Google’s content network partners too so your search volume numbers would look little inflated. Google would not disclose the percentage of their content network partners but my guess is around 30-35%.

Press Release Image: screen shot of a PRWeb press release from How can a press release be an all-in-one marketng tool?

What do you think? What’s your experience with writing online press releases?

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