How to Write a Press Release Wearing an SEO Hat

When writing a press release traditional PR practitioners wear a number of hats- content creator, creative director, editor and in the last few years- SEO expert. Press releases provide an opportunity to contribute to your brand’s search visibility and yet many releases are issued without being optimized for SEO.

Defining your company’s or client’s keywords, and a keyword strategy should be done in advance of release writing and involve key members of your PR, marketing, and web marketing or SEO team. You should have three to five very relevant, high search volume keyword terms that are core to how you define your company in the market. You’ll use these terms in strategic places throughout each press release. Don’t have a team to collaborate with you? You can use Google’s keyword tool while doing your keyword research to find variations of the keywords that are generating a high number of searches.

Marketwire includes a nice tool in its distribution process that will give you an SEO grade on your release, but the most effective way to apply SEO savvy to your release is to work it into the drafting process. Here are a few simple steps to creating an SEO-smart release:

  • Retain reference to company name and pre-defined, most important keyword(s) in headline of all press releases
  • Strategic value of keyword placement in body of release:
    1. Headline – First 70 characters most valuable; include one of your top keywords here
    2. Sub-headline – Include secondary keywords here
    3. First sentence; first paragraph – Include related keywords to re-enforce main keyword
    4. Peppered throughout release – Avoid anything that sounds “spammy;” use natural iterations of your keywords
  • Use about 3-5 hyperlinks in body of release
  • Attach URLs to descriptive anchor text – hyperlink keywords to URLs on your website that use that keyword and/or is focused on/optimized for that keyword
  • Include the complete URL for your company website in the boiler plate (http://…)

Don’t forget to use your three to five most important keywords other places too, including on social media channels! Twitter posts, blog posts and Facebook updates are all great places to apply your SEO strategy.

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