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Press Release SEO Best Practices

At Marketing-Jive, we want you to understand how to help yourself with public relations, although we want to work with you, too. That’s why today, we’ll cover press release SEO in our blog.

Whether a small business that never sent out a press release or you run the marketing department at a major corporation, you can benefit from sending out high-quality press releases that cover real news about your business.

What Is a Press Release?

The term press release refers to an official statement from an organization that announces news from the company about its structure, products, personnel, or business practices. Like a newspaper article, it uses the inverted pyramid, a form of writing that places the most important information first. In the lede (pronounced lead) of the article, the writer includes the who, what, when, where, how, and how much of the topic.

If press releases sound complex, don’t worry; they’re not. These quick pieces of informative writing require only 400 to 500 words of text. Originally developed as a way for businesses to communicate items of news efficiently and factually to the press, they now offer more than that. Using press releases to boost your local SEO service can improve your search engine ranking, so your business website earns a higher spot in the search engine results page (SERP).

Who Gets Press Releases Nowadays?

We’re glad you asked! Newspapers continue to rely on press releases. Small news outlets, especially, rely on these pre-written, correctly formatted page-and-a-half documents that synthesize the information for them.

Most news desk stay swamped. Typically understaffed, they need your help! You can help them and your business simultaneously with an SEO press release.

How you ask?

Online News Outlets Rely on SEO, Too

If you think your press release SEO will only benefit your business, think again. You and your local newspaper, TV stations, and radio stations can help each other.

When you put together a press release about a news event for the reporters at your local news organizations, you help them with their work. In some cases, small newspapers run press releases as news stories, only fact-checking the lede. They can do that when it uses the inverted pyramid, provides all the key information, and uses active verbs. Some small newspapers have a staff of fewer than five, so they rely on well-written, submitted news.

What constitutes news?

Also called a news release, you would typically send one out for any major event at your company. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • You hire a new manager or higher-level executive.
  • You donate time and/or money to a charity, such as sponsoring a Little League or Pop Warner team.
  • You expand your services or products, such as when Pirelli brings out new tire designs.
  • An unfortunate event involving your company occurs, such as the Enron disaster.
  • A major company executive retires.

These major announcements can earn you a free mention on TV, radio, and in the newspaper. Most news outlets now publish a website though, so you can also benefit from SEO in your press release.

Your SEO Press Releases on News Outlet Websites

By ranking for your top-related keywords and your company name, your business name comes up more often in SERP. What happens if your business just started?

Even if you just started your company’s website and your site ranks on page 115 (we’re kidding), when other sites use those keywords and your name, the article you wrote as a press release about your company with your contact information in it comes up. People see your company’s name in the SERP and you residually benefit.

Providing a Home on Your Website for Your SEO Press Releases

Providing one section of your website for all of your press releases helps the news media and the public find news about you. They also can help you attract visitors using appropriate SEO practices.

Keep this separate from your blog. Your website should offer a spot for news about your company and a separate area for news from your company.

What’s the difference?

News about your company comes from press releases and news coverage. Post links to news stories about your brand and provide the SEO press releases you write.

Your blog consists of news from your company. You author the blogs and publish them. Typically, blogs for a business or organization offer information related to the company’s products or services.

When you add any content to your website, remember to format the whole page and its contents with your affordable SEO services in mind. That means your SEO press release uses links, citations, alt tags, and image descriptions. You improve your press release as a source by doing this and ensure that those individuals using a screen reader can accurately view your page.

Using Press Release SEO The Right Way

Just as parents through the ages have taught, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. Every existing thing. SEO press releases done the right way can turn into a SERP benefit for your company. That means your press release should follow both the rules of SEO and the rules of the inverted pyramid.

How to Format Your Press Release

Journalists spend four years in college learning their trade. This includes one research or writing course per semester, so they know the inverted pyramid backward and forwards. The typical business owner hasn’t written a press release before, so let’s consider the rules of a strong press release first.

  • Author a relevant, attention-grabbing headline similar to what you read in the newspaper.
  • Use the inverted pyramid to place the most important information first. Include only factual information.
  • Include the who, what, when, where, how, and how much in the lede. If you include a specific date or deadline, provide the information in time-date-place order. For instance, “Catch the opening game of the season at 4 pm on February 18, 2023, in Gainesville, TX.”
  • Write using active verbs. This helps you show instead of telling. For example, instead of saying, “Our manager said she was happy about the promotion.” use active verbs to describe the type of happiness. “The promotion elated the manager.”
  • Provide at least one strong quote from a leader at your company who has company permission to speak to the press. Larger companies often use a marketing or PR department as a go-between, but small and mid-sized businesses handle this on their own.
  • Avoid writing the quote for them. This often sounds pre-written and fake. Press releases offer your company and its staff a chance to control your own press coverage. Sounding like the real people that you are, can help you get published.
  • Use press release format, which includes your contact information in the upper left corner, the city and state or country in the dateline, and use double-spaced type. Using a sans serif font like Arial, size 12, makes it easier to read.
  • Let the reader know when the article ends by typing “-30-” or three periods (…) at the end of your text. This newspaper jargon lets the news outlet know they read to the end of the release.
  • Include one action photo of your staff or a customer using your product with each person identified on a piece of paper attached to the back of the picture with removable tape.

Next, let’s consider how to handle the SEO in the press release appropriately.

Using SEO in Press Releases

If you read through this carefully and counted each time this article uses the phrase “SEO press releases” or “press release SEO” without quotation marks, you would find that the article used it a handful of times so far. The uses don’t clump together in one paragraph though nor do they clump together with other keywords.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

In PR, when an article tosses a bunch of keywords in one paragraph, we call it keyword stuffing. Unlike delicious turkey stuffing, keyword stuffing tastes awful to a search engine. It can ruin an otherwise ideal press release or blog.

Use Tight, Grammatically Correct Writing

A well-written press release intersperses SEO keyword phrases throughout the blog using correct spelling, grammar, and context. News release SEO needs tight writing, just like news articles and press releases.

Research Your Company or Product’s Keywords

Properly research your keywords because a huge difference exists between keywords and SEO keywords. What? Did we just confuse some of the web copywriters?

What you think of as a keyword and what the search engines’ algorithms think of as a keyword differ vastly. For example, if you asked the typical store owner to name the keywords for their company, they might answer with their store name and their main product or service. That’s a nice start, but that misses a lot that the search engine spider bots look for when they read your webpage to enter it into the massive database they maintain, then rank it.

Think Like a Spider Bot

The spider bots look for location (city and state), business address in the footer, common keyword phrases used by people searching for the company name, etc. Spiders look for local SEO. That means the search engines expect to see something like your keyword + your city, such as the call to action (CTA) “Shop ABC Insurance in McGregor, TX for commercial insurance to protect your business investment.”

Because people throughout the world search, they don’t always use perfect American English, Canadian French, Szechwan Chinese, etc. That means the keywords relevant to your company often use grammatically incorrect language.

The SEO keyword might come up as “commercial insurance Texas law” because the searcher wants to know what policies the business must legally carry in the state of Texas. The search engines rank this as a keyword phrase though, so they look for it in press releases using SEO, plus landing pages, web copy, splash pages, and blogs.

In the case of writing for an SEO press release, you need to use grammatical correctness over all else, so use a phrase like “Shop ABC Insurance for the commercial insurance Texas law requires.” Before or after that, you’d need to explain commercial auto insurance, which every state requires. Why mention that?

Context Matters to Search Engines

In the earliest days of SEO, when people first realized that they had to rank using keywords to nab the top spot in SERP, they used some awful tactics. We covered why you avoid keyword stuffing, now let’s cover SEO soup, talk soup, or keyword soup as it also gets called. That refers to when a writer throws in utterly irrelevant popular keywords to try to get a higher rank.

The uses of these would have no context, unlike the insurance company examples that show how to use keywords properly in an article about SEO press releases. No. These unsavory writers inserted meaningless words, completely out of context. They would simply insert a series of words about a popular topic or famous person.

It took about a year before the search engines caught on and updated their algorithms. Now, that practice results in relegation to the mythical page 115.

written SEO-friendly press release, you make a friend of your local news outlets. The journalists working for your industry’s newsletters see you as a potential source. You could see your press release reprinted as-is or turned into an article that nets you an interview.

Local news organizations will likely also publish your press release on their websites, which provides you with a link-building opportunity. Link to a high-quality blog post or white paper on your website within the body of your press release for the best results.

Distributing the Press Release

Major PR firms and corporations handle press release distribution differently than small companies whose distribution list only includes local media. Larger organizations use business wire platforms like PR Newswire, Newswire, PR Distribution, eReleases, and EIN Presswire which cost thousands of dollars in annual subscriptions. These organizations function the same way that the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) wire services do. They handle wide distribution and publish press releases to their websites, so their subscribers can access them.

You do not have to pay for all of those services to benefit from publishing your press releases with SEO online.

Local News Outlets

Contact each of your local news outlets and find out how they receive press releases. In some small communities, the paper publishes once per month or once per week. They typically use early deadlines that require press releases up to a month before their publication date.

If you want to appear in your local newspaper, this may mean releasing the information to the editor before you want to announce it to make it public. When this occurs, provide an “embargo date,” such as “Embargo date: March 1, 2023” for a press release you provide to them on February 13, 2023.

You also need to provide it in the format they use. Ask how they accept press releases. You may need to fax it to them or mail it. Some papers may require a Google Doc, while others may ask for a plain text email. Make sure to provide each with the format they require to improve your publication chances.

Local Community News Platforms

Besides providing content press in your area need to fill their pages, you can publish your press releases to sites like Patch.com, Nextdoor.com, and Front Porch Forum in the area devoted to your town or city. These sites offer a more personalized way to build community and reach your potential customers.

Press Release Distribution Via Social Media

You should absolutely publish each press release your company issues as a social media post. Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or another platform, creating a distinct post for each SEO press release lets your information reach customers directly. You get another plus from these posts – the opportunity to use your SEO keywords as hashtags. This lets them take on a new life and puts your keywords directly in front of your customers. They can build a mental association between your business name and the hashtags you use. That carries over when they search the web for your company. Using vanity URLs for SEO is a great way to get more traffic to your press releases and ultimately your site!

The Sometimes Overwhelming World of SEO Press Releases

If all of this seems a bit over the top, and you lack the time and patience to create and distribute your business’ press releases, call us. Let Marketing-Jive help you reach the news media, industry newsletters, your social media target audience, and update your website with local SEO press releases and relevant meta tags.

Press releases offer businesses more than an essential mass communication tool. Press releases using SEO keywords correctly can boost your business’s online presence. Let Marketing-Jive help. Contact us today.