Search Engine Marketing:
Press Release Optimization for Search Engines

by Robert K. McCourty

Published: March 1, 2005
All SEO Articles

It's great when your company has something to brag about. Maybe your sales have increased or profits are up. Perhaps you have just signed a big new client and want to let the world know about it.

When it comes to marketing your company cost effectively online, one of the best mediums is utilizing a press release as a vehicle to spread the good news. There are several press release services, both free and paid, which will publish your release and distribute it for you to the online world. Two popular online press distribution sites are: WebWire http://www.webwire.com and PRWeb at: http://www.prweb.com/

While the depth of media penetration for your release is often dependent upon the amount of money you are willing to spend, keep in mind that money alone will not guarantee that your release is either picked up by other media services, nor (at worst) read by anyone.

Getting the release out there is simple enough but getting it read and republished by other web sites, ezines, online journals and blogs should be your goal. The more people that read your release, the better. The longer it stays online, in various forms, the better. The more links you have pointing back at your web site as a result of the PR, the better.

By optimizing your PR, you stand a much better chance of accomplishing these aforementioned goals. Optimize my Press Releases, are you kidding? Not at all. In fact, there are many businesses on the Internet which specialize in this exact service. Type "press release optimization" into your favorite search engine for proof. Google shows over a million results on the subject.

Sometimes reality in the web site marketing and promotion world can be staring you right in the face, yet you fail to recognize it. How many web site owners have spent time and money to optimize their web sites for better visibility in the search engines, yet have not considered utilizing exactly the same process for their press releases? Reality bites back. By performing some simple search engine optimization techniques on a PR by PR basis, you can greatly enhance its ability to attract attention, add to its longevity and expand its reach. Your PR after all, is nothing more than a page of text that will soon be transferred to the Web. Why not treat it the same way as every other web page?

Performing a key word frequency count is a good place to start. Does your title reflect your strongest key words? Does it contain any at all? Does the content of the PR truly reflect what you want those key messages to be? Does the content have enough key word frequency to ensure proper indexing? Will it give you the exposure you want? Will it tweak the interest of people looking for this type of information? All good questions that need to be addressed

Reread your PR (before publishing it) from a search engine's point of view.

I wish I had a nickel for every PR I've read with nothing more within the title, than the name of the company. This is a common trait in the traditional world of marketing, but often not the best use of valuable keywords for the online world. This is a perfectly acceptable approach when you are attempting to build a brand or when you will be backing up the release with more traditional methods such as advertising. It also works well if you are certain someone out there will be searching for your company name. I agree, it's nice to see the company name in print, but the reality is, most people will be interested in what the PR has to say, i.e. the topic and content, rather than your company name.

Blogs, Ezines and search engines all use keyword triggers to find information. This is the same principal as the traditional news clipping services used to provide. News clipping, for the most part, is now carried out by software programs designed to scan newswires and other information centers to 'sniff' out certain words or phrases of interest to the end user. To be picked up by blogs, Ezines and yes, newspapers, TV and Radio too, your release needs to be able to 'trigger' one or more of the words or phrases the sniffer has been sent to search and recover.

Let's take two examples of headlines to illustrate this point:

1 - "Roy and Son Set New Sales Record"

2 - "Sales of Pacific Salmon Set By Seattle Company"

Which one of the above do you think would draw the most attention? Obviously number two. Anyone seeking information on topics as varied as the Fishing Industry or Salmon as a species, would now have their clipping programs sending this information back to them. On a much larger scale (excuse the pun), the mere mention of the Geographic importance of the PR opens the doors to local media. The point being, that by utilizing a few key words in the proper places, a PR can garner a much wider audience and that is exactly what you want to accomplish.

In the example above the company name does take a secondary role, but it's worth the sacrifice to get wider coverage. You can still add the company name into the content to satisfy your boss's ego, but never pass up an opportunity for maximum exposure.

Once you get past the headline, the content of the actual PR, for optimization purposes, is every bit as important. Remember to use frequency and diversity of words and phrases within the copy, to extend your coverage to new levels. The content must also reflect and reinforce the relevance of the headline, so don't be afraid to expand upon this concept by utilizing keyword weighted sentence structure.

For example:
"Roy and Son fishing company based in the Pacific Northwest city of Seattle..."

You've now expanded the geographic interest quotient of the PR from one city, to an entire region of North America.

Another example;
"Sales of Salmon within the commercial fishing industry..."

This type of text example encompasses phrasing which may be of interest to a much broader range of interests such as Industry watchers, business analysts, governmental agencies and stockbrokers. Thus, your PR gets to meet many more eyes.

Write your releases from a search engine or search engine users point of view. A proper key word rich headline, accompanied with content-rich, relevance-based wording, will deliver the exposure you expect from your press releases. By using proper search engine optimization techniques for each of these documents you'll be taking them to a higher online marketing level.


Robert K. McCourty, is a founding Partner and Director of Marketing for Metamend Software and Design Ltd. The firm specializes in the development and implementation search engine optimization technologies and solutions for the improvement of web site placement within the Internet's top search engines. The company is regarded by many to be the world leader in its field, with clients in 57 countries around the world.
http://www.metamend.com

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