Social media has helped transform the press release and given it new life, a vastly larger audience and a huge role in generating traffic to your organization’s Web site. As such, search engine optimization (SEO) is important to the success of today’s press release. Optimized press releases attract consumers and influencers, as well as journalists—and pulls them into your story.
To get the biggest bang out of SEO, you may need to change the way you write your release. Some basic, traditional best practices still apply, but here are five tips to keep in mind to optimize your releases:
1. Choose the Right Keywords
Search engines think like your audience. Before you begin to write, know the keywords or phrases that will drive them to the news release and motivate them to click through to pages on your Web site. Do basic keyword research on sites like Google AdWords, Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery.
2. Use Your Heads
Use one to two keywords in the headline and subhead. Search engine spiders read left to right, so take that into account as you compose your headlines and your first paragraph. Use no more than 200 characters in the summary or subhead.
3. Optimize From the Top Down
Spiders also read from the top down. Using keywords in the first two paragraphs makes a much bigger impact than using them lower down. As you write, think in sound bites, like 140-character tweets.
4. Don’t Over-Link
As with keywords, don’t overdo anchor text, as it causes confusion and dilutes the impact of the links themselves. Offer two to three links for a 400-word press release.
5. Use Multimedia
Research shows that press releases with pictures, video and other multimedia get at least 80% more search traffic than text-only releases. They’re usually more appealing and interesting, too. You’d be surprised how easy it is to create your own video or add visuals that support your product, message or campaign.
Vanessa Bugasch is senior vice president of global marketing , a provider of PR software, services and tools. You can follow her on Twitter: @vanessabugasch.