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Guest

Using News Releases to Boost Your Online Visibility

By: Guest | March 4, 2013 | 
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Geissinger, TaraToday’s guest post is by Tara Geissinger.

There is an ongoing conversation among communications and SEO professionals, alike, about the value of using news releases to boost your online visibility.

While there are SEO benefits, publishing news releases plays numerous other marketing roles.

The rules, purpose, and audience have changed.

It’s time to update how we think about them, write them, and measure their results in order to get the most online visibility value from them.

There are three very distinct reasons to not only write a news release, but to publish and distribute it online.

  • Getting Your Message in Front of Your Target Audience. The media used to be the gatekeeper between your announcement and the public. But with online publishing, there is infinite space to publish all news releases. People filter their content using search engines and choosing what to read. Whether your intended audience is specific niche media, bloggers, your end-user client, or potential strategic partners, a news release serves as a way to concisely deliver your message in an understood format.
  • SEO Benefits. An online release published on a variety of reputable news and PR sites offers links back to your website. Additionally, as Gini Dietrich discussed last week, it has the potential to rank well in search results.
  • Additional Real Estate in Search Engine Results and Social Media Streams. Your website will most likely only rank once, or perhaps twice, in search results for any given keyword. Why not hold multiple pieces of real estate so that searchers have a higher probability of clicking on your content? A well-optimized release has the potential to rank well in search results, they offer another way for both customers and journalists to find you. And because today’s online releases offer a variety of multimedia features such as video embedding, images, and file attachments, news releases can serve as valuable sales tools.

A single release can meet one, two or all three of these goals. A lot hinges on optimizing the release properly to increase the odds that your target audience sees your press release. What follows are tips for creating an online news release that is optimized for search engines and social media – and also for readers.

Boost Your Online Visibility

  1. Know Your Keywords. There are entire courses and books dedicated to the methodology of choosing your keywords. In its absolute simplest form, keyword choice boils down to asking yourself, “What would my customers type into Google when looking for a product or service like mine?” 
  2. Optimize Your Title. Many PR distribution websites use your release’s title as the title tag and unique URL of the published page. Without compromising the integrity or creativity of your title, try to include a keyword.A perfect example of a successful title optimization is a release we published for my husband a little more than three years ago. We optimized it simply by including our most important keyword within the title itself: Fort Myers CFP. If you do a Google search for that phrase today, Mark’s release still shows up on the front page of Google (usually right near the top.) Keep in mind: This is the actual release ranking on the front page of organic Google search results three years after publication – pretty impressive online visibility.Fort Myers Graphic
  3. Optimize Your SummaryLike the title, thesummary packs a powerful SEO punch. On a well-optimized distribution site, your summary becomes the meta description for that page. This often also becomes that little “blurb” of text that shows up below the listing on a Google search result. The summary is the perfect place to include some secondary keywords that you’re targeting. Using words that are “related” to the keyword in your title, tells search engines this really is a piece of content with a topic centered on the keywords referenced in the title.
  4. Anchor Text Links. Many distribution sites offer a number of anchor text link options in the body of your release. Take advantage of these by linking to various pages of your website. Mix it up – use longer tail keywords to link to a specific product page or link to your free opt-in. Link to your social media properties.
  5. Multimedia. PR Newswire published a study that proved that releases with multimedia elements garnered more views. It’s only natural readers would respond to a release that showcases an embedded video, a large image, or an audio interview. These elements don’t directly affect your SEO, but they will affect whether your release is viewed, how long readers stay on the page, and most definitely whether it is shared on social media.

Taking it to the Next Level

A secondary benefit that should not be ignored is the fact that your published release now features many of your marketing elements in one place – creating a visual sales page for your company. Now you can reach out personally to journalists in your local area or niche and tell them why you think their readers would be interested in your news; you can also include a link to your PR – where they can view the video, download high-res images or a whitepaper, or follow your call-to-action.

Are online releases a silver bullet solution to solve all of your SEO and online visibility problems? No. But they are inexpensive to publish, generate backlinks, create additional ways for people to find you, are timely and social-media ‘share’-worthy, give your business a sense of credibility, and house all of your critical announcement details in a single location.

To me, news release publishing has always filled a completely separate, yet valuable marketing need. It doesn’t replace anything – we still need to be implementing our SEO strategies, still need to be building relationships on social media, and still need to be publishing quality content that establishes us as leaders in our industries. But, in my opinion, the results of all of these campaigns will be stronger and more effective by including online releases, rather than omitting them.

Tara Geissinger is an SEO and content marketing expert by day and triplet mom by night. As co-owner of the online visibility firm, SEO Content Solutions, and online press release distribution firm, Online PR Media, Tara has helped thousands of businesses get more visibility online – from helping Macy’s optimize their product descriptions to working behind-the-scenes with some of the largest SEO and marketing firms in the world.

30 comments
Juliwilson789
Juliwilson789

I feel there may possibly become a couple of duplicates, but an exceedingly helpful listing! I've tweeted this. Numerous thanks for sharing!... http://www.kanolab.info

ShannonCole1
ShannonCole1

Great article! I've done several press releases & it has benefits my business quite a bit. I have more online links directing to my website now! http://www.shannonspetsitting.net  I found there are many inexpensive ways to submit a press release.  Although contact the local newspapers for a more specific area to be seen , a global presence don't hurt either! I tried to don one at least once a year now. 

ArleenH
ArleenH

It is interesting, today I signed up at PRweb to do a press release. The release is completed but I am not sure where to start. I appreciate the information  abourtAnchor Text Links. Many distribution sites offer a number of anchor text link options in the body of your release. Take advantage of these by linking to various pages of your website and mix it up.  Your article couldn't have come at  better time.

Thanks

ryancox
ryancox

News release and press release are the same thing, right? If so, I'm curious as to why you refer to it as the former not the latter. (Honest question)

Simon Mossman MPRIA
Simon Mossman MPRIA

Help info Tara, thanks. Two thoughts from me upon reading:

1. Not forgetting to factor in the mobile future in optimising news releases but also (and perhaps something of a counterpoint) ...

2. Not encouraging businesses and organisations to flood the online space with no end of news releases just because they've mastered the SEO & keyword imperatives (it's bad enough that there are growing numbers of content farms out there adding to the digital noise and making it increasinggly difficult to achieve cut-through, buy-in and influence change, consumer behaviour change etc).

KateFinley
KateFinley

Great post, Tara! I just added this to my Evernote so that I can review it before my next release goes on the wire. I like how you just slipped in the fact that you are the mother of triplets on top of it all. So, you're pretty much super mom ...

allenmireles
allenmireles

I enjoyed this post @TaraGeissinger , thanks. I frequently remind clients that their prospective customers will visit the online news room and possibly read that news release; reason enough to get it out there. And, most of us know journalists who are working hard just to keep their heads above water and who rely on the information available online as a source of story ideas, background information or verification. Your news release isn't, or shouldn't be, the sum total of your company's communications efforts but it still has a valuable place in the big picture (IMHO). And using the tips you provided to boost online visibility? Just makes sense. :)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

Thanks for taking a twirl with us, Tara. I'm on the rampage on this one...mostly to figure out the right balance of a news release in the bigger communications program. I know Google says they don't rank releases, but between this and my post last week, I think we have enough anecdotal evidence to prove that wrong.

ClayMorgan
ClayMorgan

Let me give you another reason to post them online.

 

About two weeks ago, I was going behind a reporter proofing a particularly persnickety article (yes, we actually do proof them).

 

Anyway, as part of just checking a few facts, I stumbled across a press release on a company's website. It led to yet another story that more prominently featured that particular company.

 

You just never know how a press release will grab someone.

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barbsawyers
barbsawyers

The trouble with this approach is people forget that media releases are for the media. Spend more time worrying about what reporters need and less time about SEO. 

belllindsay
belllindsay

"Without compromising the integrity or creativity of your title, try to include a keyword." - This sentence really stood out for me - I hate when blog posts websites pepper their content/copy with obvious keywords, over and over and over again, to the point where you realize that you're not reading anything of any quality - you're just reading a bunch of trite keyword fodder. Consequently I'm very careful not to pimp out keywords in our content. Great post Tara, thanks again! 

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