Audience Development Strategy

Modern SEO Press Release Guidelines [+ Video]

Utilizing proven SEO press release guidelines can translate into more website traffic and member conversions

Utilizing proven SEO press release guidelines can translate into more website traffic and member conversions

Public relations had not changed much until the popularity and reach of the Internet increased.

In the days before heavy Internet usage, many publicists turned to media relations. In addition to communicating with their public, they would attempt to secure coverage in magazines or newspapers whose readership would be interested in information.

Today, public relations professionals, editors, bloggers and content marketers can spread their newsworthy information through distribution sites and social networks.

However, with the amount of competition present on the Internet, the process of disseminating newsworthy content relies greatly on the press release itself.

Online PR has brought the public feel back with the ability to reach communities directly and the ability to have two-way communication with those communities. Press release distribution, forums, social media, video clips and audio pieces are all available to the online publicist.

Online PR can be partially tangible, too, thanks to the evolution in technology. With Google Analytics you can monitor where traffic is coming from and how much there is. Goals can be set up in Google Analytics that will inform you when a specific goal is reached.

In addition, there are new ways to spread press releases:

  • Contacting bloggers, or submitting press releases directly to web sites
  • Social media press releases, which integrate several types of content in one place
  • SEO copywriting should be kept in mind, when writing the press release

Watch our Press Release Guidelines recorded webinar now, or keep reading for additional tips and tricks:

Join us as we divulge the best practices of an Online Publicist whose PR efforts have found high ranks in Google searches while helping to boost rapid conversion landing page traffic.

Speaker:Christopher Sturk


Writing a Great Press Release

Like most content, focus on quality first, optimize second, and then find out where it fits best.

Begin by writing a great press release.

It may sound simple, but there’s an art to press release creation. You cannot overstep the bounds of true PR by making your release sound too promotional. Even if you are promoting for product, make the release newsworthy. Allow the content to show the importance and value of what you’re promoting. Don’t come off as a pitch person in the version you intend to send to bloggers. Hand-write those letters as if they’re coming from a friend, but make them easy to skim and include bullet points they can direct their eyes toward.

Optimize your press release with keywords so that your release can be found by Google.

Add a keyword or two to the release’s title, in addition to your company’s name for branding purposes. Include your keywords throughout, for a keyword density of at least 3%.

Do a little research before selecting distribution sites to use.

We’ve compiled a list of the best paid and free press release sites, rated by PageRank and inbound links. We used to have a much larger list and dwindled it down to just the sites that’ll make you look good when Google sees them.

Press Release Guidelines for SEO & Copywriting

When performed correctly, online PR will help you gain visibility for the topics you cover. After creating your press release, you should begin the SEO process. This is where online PR incorporates aspects of SEO campaigns. With your press release optimized for your keywords, you will be positioned to receive coverage on these topics.

If your press release is picked up by Google after distribution, you will likely see the listing of the release on Page 1, 2, or 3 in Google. We have personally seen some of my press releases get picked up by Google and reside on Page 1 and Page 2 for over a week.

SEO Press Release Guideline #1: Write a Great Title for Your Online Press Release

The most succinct copywriting tip we’ve heard in a long time came from Fred Gleeck at a product development seminar. Fred cited this maxim in a discussion of how to title your book. But the adage is just as valid whether you’re writing a headline for an advertisement or a press release, or a pithy subject line for a convincing email message, or a list of product benefits.

We all know that people sort for self-interest. Everyone’s favorite radio station is WII-FM. That’s short for “What’s in it for me?”

So here’s Fred’s formula for writing a compelling book title that appeals to the customer’s self-interest:

Combine your customer’s greatest need with your product’s greatest benefit.

For example, “Low Cost Website Promotion” (Need: website promotion; benefit: low cost ways to do it).

When titling your press release, make sure you incorporate your main keyword and the name of your company. Search engines like keywords in titles, and adding your company name will help in branding purposes. Also, if your release gets picked up by a major source like Google News or Yahoo! News, your company’s name will be page-one in those search engines for as long as the release remains up.


SEO Press Release Guideline #2: Optimize Your Subhead

Follow up on the promise of your headline with your subhead. Add your secondary keyword phrase in the subhead of the press release. This way you’ll be hitting multiple keyword phrases while maintaining a good written flow.

SEO Press Release Guideline #3: Write a Compelling Lead Paragraph

Your lead needs to set the tone for the entire press release. If interest is lost in the lead, the rest of your press release will not be read. Focus on creating interest while delivering the journalistic standard of supplying who, what, where, when and why the rest of your press release is important.

As your lead paragraph is ranked just below your headline and subhead in importance, make sure the content in the lead paragraph incorporates both keyword phrases, if possible, and includes newsworthy information. If it isn’t written in a newsworthy manner, chances are no one will want to write about it, and in some cases it won’t even be approved by press release distribution websites. Distribution sites want to have the best content on their servers to increase credibility and traffic. You have to play by their rules in order to get their assistance in page rank and visibility.

SEO Press Release Guideline #4: Make Your Body Long Enough to Index, Short Enough to Digest

For press releases getting distributed through the Internet, make the body copy at least 300 words in length. This way, if you’re including keyword phrases throughout, you make it possible to get indexed by Google. If your release isn’t at least 300 words long, Google will not pay attention. 300 words is also short enough to digest by the person who’s reading it, especially if you break it up into bullet points.

SEO Press Release Guideline #5: Include Unique Links

When a distribution site will allow it, link your keywords and your press release’s title back to the rapid conversion landing page. Google will understand that the linked word is more important than other generic, unlinked words.

At the Mequoda Daily, most of our press releases are about products, both free and paid. Many press release distribution sites, both free and paid, offer the opportunity to include links.

Always link back to the product’s landing page when possible. For additional tracking, create a unique URL for each landing page that you can point to from your press release.

When submitting your press releases to PR sites, there are two important factors that a PR site should offer you: Credibility and SEO. One thing they shouldn’t use: No-Follow Tags on the links that you embed in your press release.

Posting SEO Press Releases on Your Own Website

There are three main reasons to post your press release on your own website. They include:

  • Reason #1: Posting press releases on your own site gives you control over meta data, image ALT tags and other elements necessary for strong SEO.
  • Reason #2: You will be making your content management system more robust with the added releases.
  • Reason #3: Adding press releases to your website also leaves you with the opportunity to link back to the release when publishing to distribution sites.


How Online PR Has Changed (and How to Adapt)

In college, one thing you can count on during PR class is hearing the phrase “mutually beneficial relationships.” It’s been heard so many times by PR students that it probably ricochets around inside their heads, like a rubber ball down a corridor.

The phrase used to wander into our articles from time to time, but now we consciously try not to allow it into the copy. It’s played-out, and besides, public relations is more than just “beneficial relationships.”

The expansion of Internet mediums and their ability to connect audiences has changed the way public relations is viewed. We have talked to and worked with PR professionals from the old school of thought. Their suggestions were always the same: “Focus on the media.”

We cannot dispute the value of the media, but we can simply state that a focus on the media isn’t really public relations. Media relations is the focus of getting news outlets to report on your event or company. It may involve getting information to the public, but it doesn’t work directly with them. Therefore, “focusing on the media” isn’t a component of true public relations.

And with the immense opportunities found on the Internet, we find it hard to even say media relations is as important as public relations anymore. Many of you may disagree (and if you do, please share your insight on our blog), but think about the validity behind each. If you’re correctly working a true public relations campaign, you will be reaching your audience to some extent. If you try and receive coverage with the media, you may be doing nothing more than wasting your time if they refuse your requests.

It’s even gotten harder to spread press releases, too, because of the simple process that is required to submit a press release. There’s much more competition out there.

  • You no longer need to pay for distribution, so anyone can create and submit a press release.
  • You don’t need to be a dedicated PR person to create a press release. Anyone can make one.
  • You don’t need to have special industry contacts to submit a press release to a website. Most websites have a place for you to submit your press release through a simple contact form.

What hasn’t changed is this:

  • You still need a great call to action – the difference is that you need to be better at grabbing their attention.
  • You still need to know people – bloggers are more likely to promote you if they know you.
  • You still need to write a better press release than anyone else in your industry, even more so now.

Want to learn more about SEO Copywriting or Online PR? We just released our Press Release Guidelines webinar for you to watch completely free with this post. Scroll back on up and enjoy!


By Amanda MacArthur

Research Director & Managing Editor

Amanda is responsible for all the articles you read on the Mequoda Daily portal and every email newsletter delivered to your inbox from us. She is also our in-house social media expert and would love to chat with you over on @Mequoda. She has worked with Mequoda for almost a decade, helping to evolve the Mequoda Method through research, testing and developing new best practices in digital publishing, editorial strategy, email marketing and audience development. Amanda is a co-author of our four digital publishing handbooks.

Co-authored handbooks:

Contact Amanda:

Contact Amanda via email at amanda (at) mequoda (dot) com, @amaaanda, LinkedIn, and Google+.

One reply on “Modern SEO Press Release Guidelines [+ Video]”

Thank you so much for the information I’ve been searching for much time. It’s such an incredible thing that anybody can feel himself a journalist or even become one. You know, I had a situation a couple of years ago when i was trying to share some information and i used… for it. After getting some comments i started to think about how can I improve my content. So now I’m happy about what I do. Share your information to the World and become who you wanna be!

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