Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has changed the way we write websites. It’s completely restructured the way we create and produce online advertisements. Now, SEO is extending its reign beyond the world of paid marketing promotions and into the realm of earned media and public relations (PR).
Until recently, plenty of PR pros were more than happy to leave the tech stuff to their ad and web teams, focusing instead on real media relationships, all star writing, aggressive pitching, and unwavering attention to story/event details and organization. Now, however, clients and agencies alike are asking PR professionals to learn some basic in’s and out’s of SEO, social media and web posting. There’s a lot to mastering SEO in particular, but to ensure that the press releases you put out on the web get shared by readers and Google alike you only need to know a few basic points.
6 steps to success
- Tell a story that’s interesting. People won’t read articles that aren’t interesting, and Google won’t give preferential treatment to releases that users don’t find valuable. Sharing articles on social media raises their rank on Google. Make your information interesting and relevant enough to share and you have a better chance of it ranking high organically in web searches.
- Write like they speak and search. Search terms are usually entered in simple, uncomplicated language. The strongest terms are often the most basic, so maximize your pieces’ searchability by employing the most high ranking, simple terms and phrases in your press releases.
- Keep your focus. It can be easy to go overboard on sources or talking points, but try to keep your writing tight and your article’s focus as singular as possible. Search engines will have an easier time indexing you under the right terms if you keep the whole piece tailored.
- Get the right headline. Use search terms in your article headline, but keep it short and make it interesting. Search engines need to find the terms, but readers have to be intrigued enough to read, retweet and share the piece.
- Use hyperlinks thoughtfully. While its important to include sourcing information and make sure your client’s website gets a mention and an easy transition from the posting venue, don’t go wild and over-link your releases. Doing so can make all of your hard work look like spam instead of a credible article. Make sure to keep the hyperlinks short, readable and avoid double linking back to the same webpage to ensure the best ranking results.
- Customize your article with the right angle. When you pitch an article to different print publications, you make sure to use the written angle most likely to appeal to that outlet’s readership. Do the same with the pieces you post online. Figure out what type of information and visuals will resonate the most with the readership on your company’s news page versus online press release distribution channels versus online blogs.
embracing the technology
Incorporating hyperlinks and writing press releases within new SEO-focused guidelines can seem intimidating at first, but the more you do it, the more it will become your writing norm. Start focusing on the SEO of your press releases today, if you haven’t already.