18 Essentials of an Optimized Press Release

Here’s how to optimize your press release so it does the most for you online.

  1. Determine keywords. Pick 2–3 keyphrases per release and don’t overuse them.
  2. Write a headline that packs a punch and has a keyword (subtly) included in it, in 80 characters or less.
  3. Use keywords in your first paragraph. Pick both short tail and long tail keywords. If you only go after terms that get high traffic with high competition, you may be relegated to obscurity. Add terms like “Italian leather running sneaker trends” not just “running sneakers” and you have a better shot at getting some effective traffic (even if the volume is small).
  4. A strong summary paragraph in which the keyword from the headline is repeated.
  5. Use anchor text links in the first paragraph of your release. Anchor text links are links that you click on that have a keyword in the link text itself. Vary this as you don’t want all your links coming from a few keywords. If you don’t add links in the first paragraph or so, the links may not get used. Only add a few anchor text links per post.
  6. Make sure one link (the first link) also has a full address that includes “http://www.” at the beginning for the sites that don’t create a live link without that. Be sure the URL is not immediately preceded or followed by punctuation, including a period.
  7. Link not just to your home page but to pages deep within your site that are relevant to the press release. Keep in mind it is not the “no followed” news site (links that don’t pass link juice) links that you are after. You want to reach the people who will see the story and write about it on their blogs and tweet about it, which gets you more SEO-friendly links.
  8. If you add a unique link to the press release it becomes even more trackable, as only people who saw the release clicked that link.
  9. Match the page title with an important keyword like the one in the headline and anchor text.
  10. Keep your press release short, about 300 to 500 words. Press releases need to get right to the point, with the most important information in the first sentence and paragraph.
  11. Add an interesting image and/or video. A link to a video saves money with the submission services and can still be effective. Journalists love images and video because they make a story more interesting to their readers. Make it easy for them to find your visual materials to support their content.
  12. Check your release for proper spelling and grammar. Don’t depend on the computer; have a human check it too. Spellcheck doesn’t know if you meant “to,” “too,” or “two.”
  13. Add juicy quotes from key people in your company or from customers.
  14. Eliminate industry jargon (or explain it if you must use it) and avoid clichéd terms like “cutting edge” and “innovative.”
  15. Add a call to action that is not overly salesy but offers a point of action. If you are selling tickets, then link to the sale page. If you have a free ebook, then provide the download link.
  16. Consider sending people to a specialized landing page that is specific to the press release.
  17. Optimize the “about your company section” with keywords and contact information. If people will need to contact your company after hours, provide a cell number that will be answered. Add social connection options.
  18. If you need to get started quickly, write a release about a new employee, a new service or product offering, or an upcoming event. This may not go viral but it will still generate those much-needed backlinks and give you a feel for the process. Google likes to see regular mentions of you coming from outside your site, so issue a press release at least monthly, more if possible.

Are you using any of these tips when optimizing your press releases?

photo credit: Stitch via photopin cc

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