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How To Use Press Releases To Improve Your Company’s SEO

Graphic illustrating how to use press releases to improve SEO; voice boxes and people talking in blue and green and dark gray

Writing and disseminating a press release is a time-honored tradition. Undertaken by businesses, organizations, entertainers, entrepreneurs, etc., a press release is supposed to convince members the news media to cover, and therefore amplify, whatever and whoever the press release is about. 

But can a press release do more than just try and catch the attention of news outlets? Can it actually be created to also assist in search engine optimization, potentially boosting a company’s web traffic, links, and sales? The answer is Yes. Read on to better understand how you can create and use press releases to improve your SEO.

What’s an SEO Press Release?

Similar to a traditional press release, an SEO press release should assist in building brand recognition and reputation, attracting media attention, informing investors and customers about important news, etc. An SEO press release, however, will take that into consideration and much more.

Is a Press Release Good for SEO?

Not at first glance. Google’s John Mueller reported that the search engine’s algorithm “ignores” links from press releases, going on to note that such links won’t hurt your site. But they aren’t going to help either. So, getting links from press release sites should not be a link building strategy. Still, a press release can be put to work to attract other types of links. 

The question, “Is a press release good for SEO?”, then, requires more nuanced consideration. Ineffective as standalone link building tools, press releases still do disseminate news through media outlets. If you’ve designed your press release with SEO tactics in mind, any resulting coverage brought about by your press release should attract more web traffic, links, and even sales. 

Here are the steps to take to design your press release so that it primes the pumps for search engine optimization while it’s letting everyone in on your news.

1. Make an End-to-End Plan

A good SEO press release necessitates methodical, end-to-end planning that may require multiple departments from within an organization working together. Often, internal marketing teams could benefit by partnering with an SEO agency, but even without specific SEO expertise, an SEO press release is within reach. 

While there are many steps involved in creating a winning SEO press release, creating an end-to-end plan should at the very least:

  • Identify winning subject matter (What’s the press release about? Why would anyone care?)
  • Research which media outlets, bloggers, journalists, influencers, etc. would find the news interesting 
  • Be clear about how to measure the press release’s effectiveness

2. Choose the Right Story

A captivating press release requires captivating news. No matter how good your keyword research is or your links are, SEO can’t be improved by a story no one wants to amplify. Much of the process in generating links and traffic from a press release, then, involves choosing the right story. If you don’t have timely news that everyone wants to hear about, you can still find the right story.

Use effective PR tools that help identify what stories and topics resonate with the media and your market. Social media and content monitoring tools allow for greater awareness in finding what content gets a lot of shares, discussion, and links. Just be sure your story and the trends you’re appealing to and trying to become a part of make sense for your company.

3. Come Up With a Catchy Title and Subject Line

Attention is hard to grab on the internet, whether that’s on Reddit, YouTube, or in an email pitch to a reporter. Your press release, then, needs to stand out, and an eye-catching title or subject line is essential. What makes a title or subject line compelling? Depends on the industry and the audience, but these tips from Business Insider are sound.

4. Do Your Keyword Research — For Google News 

Before you dive into your keyword research, it’s helpful to consider the audience and functionality of an SEO press release in your digital marketing efforts — especially compared to regular online content. Regular online content that’s SEO friendly has been optimized and created for potential and current customers and traditional search engines. An SEO press release targets an entirely different audience: Google News and the news outlets, reporters, bloggers, etc. who use it.

What is Google News and How Do You Target It?

Google News is the world’s largest aggregator of news stories in the world. Viewed as a very trustworthy source, countless reporters and bloggers use the News search option to find press releases, reports, and statistics to complement their news stories. So, including the keywords they’re likely to use to find stories and press releases in Google News can increase the chance that they’ll then find and use information from your press release. As with traditional press releases, a blogger or journalist picking up info from your press release can increase brand recognition, product or service visibility, and traffic. It may even accomplish some link building.

To be included in Google’s News search, you’ll need to publish it to your website — ideally to your site’s news page (more on that below). You also need to make sure your press release follows Google News guidelines.

Content Guidelines for Google News

  • Press release content must be current, relevant, and “newsworthy,” i.e. there needs to be an audience for it.
  • The content must be easy to read, accurate, original, and free of distracting images, ads, etc.
  • The content must be authoritative and trustworthy. Including real-world trust signals, like a physical address, phone numbers, names, etc. will help.
  • The content must be high-quality, too.

Technical Guidelines for Google News

  • Make sure URLs are descriptive of the content in the release and that the URL path is coherent and permanent.
  • Avoid multimedia on the page.
  • List your website in the Publisher Center. (This isn’t required, but it’s helpful.)
  • Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format, rather than just HTML5, as Google News will automatically render your press release in AMP if it’s available that way.

5. Create or Optimize Your Brand’s News Page

If your website doesn’t already have a News Page, create one. If you have one, optimize it — especially if you’re going to be creating press releases regularly, or you find that your company regularly generates press. Having a page on your website where news can land not only makes it easy for reporters to get further information easily, but it’s also a place where you can post new content that doesn’t easily fit into other site categories.

6. Use Meaningful Links

Adding internal and external links in your press releases wherever appropriate won’t just help your SEO efforts when you post them to your News Page; it will also guide backlinks for journalists, bloggers, and influencers who choose to cover or amplify your story.

7. Identify Key Outlets and Journalists

Do additional research on media outlets and learn what topics particular reporters cover. Identify which outlets and people would find your company’s information interesting. Find potential allies who will help promote your press release. Be sure to make each email or PM personal to each person you reach out to.

8. Remember the Offline, Too

A digital press release can easily complement local SEO efforts — and not jut online. Send your release to local reporters, community leaders, and government officials. If there’s a partnership potential, explore it. Complementing online efforts with offline public relations and outreach efforts can work wonders for SEO, since almost everything that happens in real life gets referenced online.

9. Consider Creating a Landing Page

While not every press release needs a landing page, depending on the news you’re putting out into the world, a landing page could help with conversions and backlinking. For example, if the press release is about an ongoing project, a landing page can show progress in traffic gains and function as a place to provide important updates. Be sure that any landing page you create is done so with a permanent intent rather than a temporary action to get links. It needs to offer value to your website as a whole and to visitors that goes beyond just providing news. If your press release isn’t landing page material, you can also write a blog that conveys the news you’ve disseminated in a different light and link to it from the press release.

10. Measure Your Press Release’s Effectiveness

Once you’ve worked through the previous nine tips, created your SEO press release, published it, and disseminated it, you’ll need to measure how effective it is. To do this, identify some KPIs (key performance indicators). Some of your KPIs will be measurable within the first couple days of sending your press release into the wild. Some of them will take a couple of months or more to accurately gauge. Some of our suggestions?

  • If you use a paid press release service: The number of online pickups
  • Number of write-ups or shares from outlets/individuals you reached out to
  • Number of backlinks generated
  • Landing page traffic and conversions
  • Organic search traffic 

If you’re writing press releases, be sure to make them SEO-friendly by following these ten suggestions. 

Need help with SEO? Reach out to LOCOMOTIVE Agency. We offer a full suite of technical SEO, local search, and content marketing services.

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