Is press release distribution still good for SEO? This is a common topic on PR websites, forums, and blogs.
Back in the days, releases are the cream of the crop when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). And how about today? Is it still relevant?
The History of Press Release & SEO:
Let’s investigate and look back on the history of a release.
Earlier, releases used to be a way to announce anything about business. From the grand opening of a business, launching a new book, or achieving a company milestone.
Releases were sent to several media outlets in the hope that a journalist will have the interest to write it. It then gave birth to press release service distribution that syndicate news to tens of thousands of outlets, sites, and locations.
It was the beginning of information overload. Brands began writing about anything that is not even newsworthy at all. The key is to distribute releases as many as possible.
They believed that many releases are good for SEO. Brands thought that when they issue a release it earns them a link that is good for SEO.
Brands began fooling the search engines by manipulating the links. However, it was not so long when Google discovered it. It penalized sites that abuse the use of releases to earn backlinks.
Today, each time a company issue a release, the link should have a “no follow” attribute. It signals Google that the links will not be counted for SEO.
Are Press Release Still Relevant for SEO?
Yes and no. No, because it offers no direct SEO value anymore since Google changed its algorithm.
Yes, it provides an indirect way to boost your SEO. When a major media outlet writes about you, it’s beneficial for your SEO.
But how? It’s the power of backlinks. Each time a news site writes your story, you’ll earn backlinks which gives you more power on the SERPs. It can place you on top of the SERPs.
The more sites publish your story, the better for your SEO. If you receive links from reputable and authority sites, the better.
All the natural links are good. Google will reward you instead of penalizing you.
Google’s New Guideline for Releases:
The guidelines restrict link building through releases. Google penalizes sites that produce releases that violate the rules.
Those sites use releases as a search engine ranking tool. Since a number of newswires broke this rule before, Google has become firm about it.
- Releases can still include links to attract site traffic.
- Releases must be detailed, informative, and analytical. It must consist of key information about your product or service.
- Include a relevant and appealing image in the content.
- Be aware of the rules in linking.
Include a keyword in your anchor text to signal Google and other search engines how to classify your that page on your site, and to give hints to the readers on what they are about to read on the page you are linking to.
Different press release directories have different rules on how many links you can include in a release. However, links must not exceed three. Otherwise, your content will look spammy.
Link to other pages on your site and not the homepage. Doing this helps drive traffic to particular pages and build their search engine rankings.
- Do not use repetitive keywords because it is considered spam.
- Make the release as interesting as possible to attract the media. When they think that it is relevant to their readers, they will write it on their publication and link it to you.
- Write a catchy and strong headline.
- Use social media to boost the distribution of release.
- Use visual content like the use of video and infographics.
- Links should have a “no follow” attribute.
How to optimize a Press Release
Instead of focusing that releases are still good for SEO, why not concentrate on enhancing your site, products and services, and business? Issue releases that are crafted intelligently to catch the media’s attention.
- Search for the keyword before you start writing content.
You need to use keywords or search terms that your audience or customers are actually using to search for your products or services. Never guess or estimate that those keywords are what they are using.
There are several online keyword search tools available. List them up and use them in your release. There are free keyword research tools that you can use, such as Google Trends, Google Correlate, Keyword Shitter, AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator, Answer the Public, Google search Console, and more. Use keywords with high search volume and low search competition.
Use specific keywords and long-tail keywords. Your content should remain valuable for the readers and the search engines will automatically place it on the right ranking.
- Position the keywords at the top.
One important thing about optimizing a release is the right position of keywords. Include the keywords at the top, such as the headline, subheading, and the first paragraph in order to boost the chance of ranking on top of the search engine result pages.
Use the primary keyword target in the anchor text of the first link. Hyperlink on keywords than catchphrases like “click here,” “learn more,” or “more information.”
The key is to never abuse the use of keywords. It sounds and looks awkward if it’s stuffed in a content. Keyword stuffing is a violation that can get you penalized by Google.
- Write release naturally.
One common mistake among writers and marketers is writing a release for the sake of SEO. Focusing alone on this matter will make your content look boring, poorly-written and spammy.
Don’t be conscious about making your content optimized. Instead, write newsworthy and relevant releases all the time. Wait until something interesting and newsworthy comes along.
- Offer an interesting and unique angle of the story.
As mentioned, for your release to rank on the SERPs, you need to think of a unique and fresh angle of the story. This will encourage the media to write your story and link it back to you. You’ll earn backlinks which will naturally place you on the top rankings.
Focus on writing interesting topics. Write like you are just talking to your friends and not a robot. Don’t forget to make it informative and insightful.
- Use anchor text backlinks.
It helps to attract traffic from the release to your site.
- Include visuals.
Depending on the press release distribution site, make use of images, videos, infographics and other visual elements in your release. Including them on the content helps drive engagement. It also encourages readers to want more and visit your site, which helps boost more traffic.
There are also advisable in many ways. Multimedia like image or video breaks a heavy text article. It makes the content breathe a little and not tiring to read.
If you don’t include these elements, chances are people will get tired of your release. They will read one or two lines and leave.
Aside from that, these visual elements increase reads and shares. Google rewards sites that have more engagement by placing it on top of the SERPs.
- Use newswires.
Use press release distribution platforms to distribute your content across various channels and locations. With more exposure, your content can have a better engagement that is good for your SEO. But make sure that they are using the “no follow” attribute on the link.
If you have a lot of releases in the past, you should consider removing or disavowing old links. They may be used in the wrong way for link-building and may still affect your SEO standing.
The best way is to remove those links from the internet or take those releases down. You may also use Google’s disavow tool to avoid the old links from harming your site.
Focus on writing releases that matter. When you write, think of an interesting angle that will drive readers in. Don’t write it for the sake of submitting it because you have a monthly quota.
Don’t use many distribution sites even they are irrelevant for you. Use only a few but meaningful and trusted press release sites. There are sites that are suited for your target audience, location, and geographic.
Distributing releases is still a useful tool to connect to the media and influencers. It is still a perfect method to encourage them to write your story.
Releases are still effective to drive awareness. However, it must not be used in the link-building strategy.
Distributing releases are still good if done the right way. Releases can still earn you media coverage and high ranking on the SERPs. But don’t forget to always produce newsworthy and relevant content that will drive the audience to read it.
In summary, releases offer an indirect SEO value. If you make it valuable, unique, and attention-grabbing, then a journalist, a columnist, a blogger, a media outlet, or a newspaper is going to write it. When they picked up your story, you get the buzz, mention, citation, link, referral traffic, and more.
With proper distribution, you gain a number of SEO benefits: natural links from external sources, referral traffic, brand recognition or brand awareness, and brand visibility.