Conventionally, press releases have been issued to the journalistic fraternity to keep them informed of industry and business-related developments so that their news reports give valuable exposure to the company, product or brand that will, in turn, drive sales. With digital media now being universal, the target of digital press releases not only includes publications, but also the web users all over the world. Issuing press releases with website links embedded had been a favorite play of SEO practitioners to create backlinks that would raise the site’s importance in the eyes of search engines and drive the rankings up.
However, years of blatant misuse of press releases of doubtful quality and relevance, just to build links, led to Google issuing the Penguin update. It substantially changed the way Google interprets press releases and forced companies to take a relook at the utility of press releases for content distribution. Even though Google’s changed algorithms have more or less put a stop to the use of backlinking in press releases to drive SEO, press releases can still exert a positive influence on your online visibility by driving your search engine page rankings up. Some valuable tips on how this can be achieved:
Make It Newsworthy
Issue press releases only when you really have something substantially important to say to your target audience. Make sure that the contents are relevant, useful and informative, and adds value to the readers. Press releases that merely act as product or brand promotional vehicles are very obvious to readers who tend to discount them as soon as these are encountered. Search engines also are extremely sensitive to such spam content and penalize such press releases by driving them down on the page ranks.
Target Secondary Exposure
The issued press release may be read directly by the relevant audience on your site but it is more likely to get traction when it is picked up as a worthwhile story by secondary distributors such as social media, websites, and blogs with high authority that specialize in communicating to specific audiences. When composing press releases, adequate thought should also be put in regarding what will appeal to these secondary content distributors. Since your press release has a natural limit to its coverage, you should aim to get your release picked up by other sites and blogs. While you can issue a press release by yourself, it is always a better policy to engage specialized digital PR agencies like Mosaico-PR.com to take advantage of their multi-faceted expertise in structuring, composing, optimizing, and distributing press releases.
Strategic Story Leaks
Online audiences have become very sensitive to news that seems to be coming at them from multiple sources at the same time. One of the most effective ways of creating some excitement and additional coverage is to send your press release to some sites with very high authority a day in advance so that they can scoop the story. Bloggers are invariably more enthusiastic writing about news nobody seems to have in the online world, and when it seems that they have got an advantage over the others.
Link Back To Your Website
A press release is a wonderful vehicle to insert a link to your website, as readers of the press release are encouraged to visit and explore your site if they find the news contents to their interest. However, it is best to avoid links that are rich in keywords as Google is now extremely sensitive about them and tends to penalize such press releases. Use instead, raw links containing just the page address as these are deemed to be more advantageous from an SEO viewpoint. Do make it a point to embed links to your social media pages, especially the Google+ page of your company, but again in a natural way.
Whenever possible include quotes regarding the perspective of the matter from the CEO, product head, etc. of the company or third parties because that invariably makes it easier for distribution sources to write their news stories, and also for people to share, post, link or tweet. These social signals help you to distribute your content wider and score better in SEO.
Author bio: Natalie Robbins is a senior press release writer working for Mosaico-PR.com, a specialty digital PR agency with expertise in optimizing and distributing press releases for the maximum reader and search engine visibility.