Sure, you can get decent exposure for your story by using paid distribution to send your press release to journalists and editors and through newswire syndication. But as with any type of content, press release search engine optimization (SEO) is a must if you want to maximize reach for your story.
- Optimizing your press release for online search makes it more likely to be shown in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- More views of your story means more brand awareness and visibility for your company online.
- You don’t need technical or coding skills to make your press release search-friendly.
I have written dozens of press releases over the course of my career as a small business owner and marketer. I have also optimized thousands of articles and web pages for SEO and done a decent job of getting pieces to rank. Below, I’ll take what I’ve learned and walk you through how to apply SEO best practices to press releases to get more views online.
1. Add in Relevant Keywords
Online search is keyword based, meaning that someone types or speaks a query into a search engine, and the engine serves up results based on its idea of what the searcher is looking for. So one of the simplest but most necessary steps for press release SEO is identifying what types of queries (aka keywords) someone would search for when looking for your story.
You can research some of this manually by searching online for stories like yours. In addition, you can use free keyword research tools like Semrush to see what types of related queries are being searched on Google.
Another place to research trending search topics is Google Trends. Not only can it help you identify relevant keywords, but it can also be a source of inspiration for the angle of your story.
2. Make Your Headline Stand Out in SERPs
Once your press release shows up in SERPs, one of the biggest factors in which results get clicked are the headlines themselves. To ensure your headline will stand out, take some time to study stories published in online news wires like EIN, and search for press releases on topics that are similar to your story.
See which ones appeal to you—chances are they will include both informational and emotional appeal. The bottom line is this: how can you wordsmith your headline to get that click?
Think through some of the following questions as you craft your headline:
- Can the reader self-identify that this story relates to them?
- Did you include SEO keywords?
- Does your headline feel objective and authoritative?
- Does your headline create intrigue?
There’s a lot to consider, especially as you need to get this headline down to 60 characters or fewer, ideally. That’s because Google only displays 60 characters in search results. If you can’t get your headline that short, ensure you put the most important or compelling words first so that people see them in online search results.
3. Make Everything Reader & Mobile-friendly
Google’s top consideration in whether to include a web URL in online search results is the quality of the content. For press release SEO, this means your story needs to both be newsworthy and offer a unique take on the topic being covered, in addition to making the announcement you want to deliver.
Using an AI press release generator to craft your story? Search engines like Google use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect AI and may downgrade the assessment of your story’s quality if it’s not unique. Ensure you build on the AI-generated content to give your story a newsworthy angle and details that an AI generator can’t replicate.
Press release SEO also requires that you consider the reader experience. For example, a 500-700-word press release jammed into one or two long paragraphs isn’t reader-friendly. Break up your paragraphs into short, bite-sized versions, and split up text with bullet point lists that make your story easy to skim.
For example, a grand opening press release could put event details like the date, time, place, and link to RSVP into bullets, instead of listing them out in a paragraph. It’s much more reader-friendly and actually draws even more attention to the details of your event.
Finally, ensure your press release is mobile-friendly. Much of this ties back to overall readability, but you should also compress any embedded images so that they load quickly. Additionally, research the platform where your press release will be published (e.g., the newswire or other host) to ensure it’s responsive, meaning that it provides a good user experience (UX) on any type of device.
4. Link Back to Your Website
Including natural outbound links in your press release improves its SEO and can also contribute to the SEO of your website, which boosts your online brand presence. For example, if your press release cites a statistic or case study, linking out to the source URL is good for your press release’s SEO. Including a link back to your relevant product page (or your own case study) can help that piece of content to rank higher in Google.
Just make sure not to overdo it. If you have too many outbound links back to your website, Google’s spam artificial intelligence (AI) detector could determine the press release content is low quality or even “spammy” and exclude it from search results. One to two links back to your website is probably sufficient, including any links in your boilerplate.
Did you know? In addition to the headline and body of your press release, your boilerplate is valuable real estate. Learn how to write a press release boilerplate and what to include to generate additional media interest and coverage.
5. Engage With Multimedia to Boost Press Release SEO
Images and video have long contributed to better UX, which in turn contributes to better rankings. Plus, when someone clicks through the gallery of images or plays the video (including multimedia like slides), or a video creates trackable on-page engagement in your story, it signals to Google that the content is high quality and thus deserving of ranking higher on Google.
You can even create video-based press releases to embed as part of your story. In fact, research we did for stats in our press release best practices article found that adding video or multiple images to your story as multimedia assets also increases your chances of getting media coverage.
Read our guide on video news releases to discover how easy it is to boost interest and engagement with video content in your announcement (and get examples for inspiration).
Adding multimedia is just one aspect of increasing your odds of landing press. See what else to do to get your story on the news.
6. Tell Readers What to Do Next With a Clear CTA
Someone found your story in online search, clicked your headline, read and engaged with your content—so now what? The purposes of writing press releases are to generate brand awareness and positive impressions of your brand online and, ultimately, to get someone interested in your business.
Don’t leave your reader guessing what to do next. Include a clear, clickable CTA to visit your website to learn more about your announcement, get more information about your brand or products, RSVP to your online or in person event, and so on.
And don’t forget about the media. Proper press release formatting always includes writing a boilerplate. In this boilerplate should be a link to your media kit or your website’s “About Us” page where journalists who want to cover your story can get more assets for their write ups.
Press kits are one- to two-page documents that provide context about your brand, its mission, vision, founding, and more. They are designed to help journalists better cover news about your small business.
Don’t have a press kit? See how to quickly make a press kit to use to generate more media coverage.
7. Distribute Your Release Effectively
How you distribute your press release directly impacts its overall reach. To boost online visibility, we recommend you go with professional press release distribution services that guarantee online placement as many also offer optimization as part of your package.
The top provider for this is eReleases. It has the largest U.S. media database and a multi-tier editing process to help improve your story, including press release search optimization. If you want, you can even get press release writing services through eReleases for a one-stop solution for press release SEO, creation, and mass distribution.
8. Track Results & Gain Insights for Future Press Release SEO
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. As you continue to publish press releases to promote your small business, track key metrics like views, video plays, and clicks.
If you go with paid press release services like eReleases, you’ll automatically get access to comprehensive analytics. If you self-publish, you’ll want to add tracking parameters like URL tags and create trackable conversions for things like clicks and video plays using Google Analytics (assuming you’re publishing your press release on your own website).
As you gain insights into what worked well for keywords, headlines, media engagement, and so on, you can then use what you learn to improve the results of future PR (public relations) campaigns that include press releases.
Best Practices for Press Release SEO
Press releases are a unique form of promotional content, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need SEO, especially if you want your story (and brand) to get maximum exposure. Here are some of the press release best practices to keep in mind when writing and sending press releases for publication online.
|Press Release Dos||Press Release Don’ts|
|Include keywords someone would use to find a story like yours||Add keywords that are irrelevant to your story to try to game the system and over-optimize by stuffing your keyword in too many times|
|Put the reader’s interest and experience first||Write long run-on sentences or long paragraphs|
|Include multimedia to engage readers and get on-page engagement||Forget to optimize your media for mobile devices|
|Include outbound links to your website and high-authority websites||Include more than one to two links to your website|
|Distribute your announcement through a quality service that includes SEO and editing|
Ready to get started? Follow our guide to learn how to write a press release in a few easy steps, including a template you can use to jump-start the process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, press releases are good for SEO, and vice versa. Press release SEO ensures that your story can get found online, increasing your brand’s exposure and chances of getting press coverage. Press releases also help to boost your website’s SEO, primarily by driving traffic, but also through backlinks generated through additional coverage of your story.
You use SEO for a press release in much the same way as other online content. First, research relevant keywords to include to make your story search-friendly. Write a great headline and craft a reader and mobile-friendly story that includes a unique angle and content. Add multimedia elements to increase engagement and links to high authority websites (including your own).
Implementing press release SEO makes it more likely for your story to get views online through organic search by both the public and the media. More views, in turn, increases your brand’s visibility online and builds its reputation, and the objective nature of this type of content makes it appear more credible and trustworthy.