SEO Guide for Press Releases in 2024
Are press releases good for SEO in the digital age? They may seem so yesterday, but they are still relevant today. Press releases have changed a lot. Gone are the days of spammy, link-stuffed press releases that bring little to no value.
Now, press releases are more about quality than quantity. They can help Google crawl your site better, boost your brand awareness, and increase your credibility. But only if you do them right.
So,if you're asking yourself: “Do press releases help SEO?” Then in this article, we will show you how press releases relate to SEO, how to leverage press releases effectively, and what SEO mistakes to avoid if you want to steer clear of harsh Google penalties.
What are Press Releases?
A press release is a piece that announces a news story or event related to a company or individual. Press releases have been around for a long time since companies needed a way to share newsworthy announcements with the public and the media.
With the internet age, press releases went digital, and with them came their potential benefit of boosting a website's online visibility. Using press releases for SEO became a big issue, as they were also spammed a lot by some marketers who used them to create artificial links to their websites.
However, press releases can still be beneficial for SEO in a legitimate way. When done correctly, press releases can help to create brand awareness, generate traffic to your website, and even increase rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs). To make the most of press release optimization for SEO purposes requires understanding how they work, what elements are important
The links were meant to manipulate the search engine rankings and deceive users. Much of how Google treats press releases changed in 2012. The company announced that it would ignore links in press releases that are not editorially placed or vouched for by the site's owner, therefore, not count them as a signal of authority or relevance.
That said, press releases can still help with search engine optimization if done properly and ethically. They have the potential to generate organic traffic, brand awareness, social media engagement, and media coverage, as long as they are newsworthy, well-written, and targeted to the right audience. Additionally, press releases for SEO can enhance a company's reputation and credibility as a source of information and expertise in its industry.
How do SEO Press Releases Work?
SEO for press releases starts when you write them. Your goal is to share a newsworthy message, but at the same time, you also have the goal of increasing your search visibility or ultimately boosting your rankings.
So, for that reason, the press release may be intended to also rank in search results, and for that reason, you optimize it with keywords. Additionally, press releases can be published elsewhere. And this means the opportunity to earn a backlink. But this is a more risky way to earn a backlink that may ultimately be ignored. Aside from these reasons, here are more ways a press release complements SEO:
Attracting a relevant target audience
An SEO press release can be seen by a relevant target audience when it's posted on a high-quality topic-related platform that gets readers from your target regions, demographics, and interests. For instance, if you're in the hardware or software niche, it may be beneficial for your press release to be featured on PR Newswire which deals in the latest business and tech news.
One of the advantages of an SEO press release is that it can generate leads for your business. They are potential customers who have shown interest in your products or services and have provided their contact information. By writing a press release that announces something new and valuable that you offer, such as an innovation or a product launch, you can attract their attention and persuade them to visit your website or contact you for more information. Consequently, it boosts your chances of converting them into paying customers and growing your revenue.
Targeting specific keywords and phrases
When conducting keyword research, you can find some news-related keywords that you're not effectively targeting with your content. For instance, when Apple carries out its keyword research, they may discover that customers are searching for keywords such as "Apple Announces or Apple News." You may have similar keywords you can target. Additionally, there are long-tail keywords that you can only target effectively with your own press release.
Enhancing the value of backlinks
While a press release for SEO can help you generate new backlinks from other websites that cover your news or topic, it can also enhance the value of the backlinks you already have, by providing more context and authority to your link profile. When you publish a press release on a reputable platform, you're also sending a signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy and relevant.
Creating a diverse and authoritative link profile
The most consequential press release links will come from articles that journalists naturally create on other platforms as they pick up and distribute your story. These offer the best chance of creating a diverse link profile and will generally be more valuable than links contained in sources that seem to have been paid for, such as recognized PR sites.
Importance of Press Releases in SEO Strategy
So, good press releases are a critical part of your existing SEO strategy. By good, we mean press releases that are created to pass a valuable message — not flimsy articles written without a purpose. SEO press releases can contribute to three big goals in your SEO strategy:
Building more links
Getting more brand mentions for your business
Generating more traffic, leads, and conversions
How Press Releases Can Boost Your SEO
Press releases are an effective way to improve your SEO performance by doing the following:
Creating more relevant links: These are links that appear in news articles that are based on your original press release. For example, a link from a local newspaper that mentions your recent donation to the local hospital. These links show that your website is trustworthy and authoritative.
Generating citations: Google looks for your business name on the web. These are instances where your name has been mentioned. Having more citations from reputable sources enhances your credibility, reputation, and trustworthiness.
Getting more traffic: SEO press releases can also rank on Google because of the authority and popularity of the domain and valuable information in them. The press releases that tend to get more attention are those that share statistics and information related to specific things your company did, the features of a new product, or how a service works.
The Benefits of Press Releases for SEO
If you're not out to create low-quality and spammy press releases, you stand to gain a lot of benefits by investing in SEO press releases. Here are some of the top benefits you can gain:
Relevant traffic: You can attract relevant traffic by becoming more noticeable to journalists, bloggers, influencers, and potential customers who are interested in your topic.
Trusted backlinks: By announcing newsworthy events or achievements, you can attract the attention of media sites and other niche-relevant sites that may end up linking back to your site.
Strong link equity: Writing press releases for SEO is a great way to get natural links from authoritative sources. They pass the most link juice and equity to your site.
Increase brand visibility and online presence: a great press release can generate positive publicity for your brand and establish your credibility and authority in your niche.
Improve search engine rankings: a compelling and newsworthy press release can rank for certain keywords. Additionally, it can generate more links and citations, which will ultimately improve your search engine rankings by increasing your domain authority and credibility in Google's eyes.
Targeted traffic to your website: you can drive targeted website traffic by crafting a catchy press release and distributing it to the right places.
Tips for Creating SEO Friendly Press Releases
To ensure that your press releases grab the reader's attention and get noticed by the search algorithm, they must be optimized for SEO. Here are some practical tips for crafting SEO press releases:
Write a catchy and concise headline that summarizes the main point of your press release: It's the first thing that people and search engines see, so make it clear, compelling, and informative. Avoid using jargon, acronyms, or vague terms that might confuse your readers or search robots. Additionally, aim for a maximum of 70 characters to avoid getting it cut off on SERPs.
Include a summary or a lead paragraph that provides the most important information in your press release: This first paragraph answers the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions of your news or announcement.
Use subheadings and bullet points to break up your text and make it easier to read and scan: Subheadings organize your press release into sections and highlight the key points of each section. Bullet points help list the benefits, features, or facts of your news or announcement. Include keywords in your subheadings and bullet points as well.
Add links to your website and other relevant sources that provide more information or evidence for your news or announcement: But don't overdo it with too many links or irrelevant links that might distract your readers or lower your rankings.
Best Practices for Press Releases and SEO
Press releases for SEO can still be useful tools for communicating your news and updates, but they are not a shortcut for link building. You should use them wisely and ethically, and follow the best practices for writing and distributing them:
Put your link on the first screen
If you want more referral traffic and conversions, make sure your link is visible by having it appear on the first screen of your page. It gives you a better chance of capturing your visitors' attention and enticing them to click on your link. The link should also be dofollow to benefit from the SEO value of your backlink source.
Try to get your press release featured on the homepage
Publishing a press release on a popular platform affords you a great opportunity to get more attention. But don't settle for just any placement. Ideally, the press release should be featured on the homepage of the chosen website, even if it's pinned there for a short while.
Use relevant keywords in the headline, meta title, and body
Utilizing relevant keywords in the headline, meta title, and body of the release allows you to optimize your press release for search engines. A relevant keyword isn't just any trendy/popular word. It should align with your target audience's intent & context.
Consider its difficulty, popularity, and relevance while choosing. Ideal keywords help the search algorithm understand the subject of your press release and match user queries. For best results, use tools like Google/Bing Keyword Research to find out the words your prospects are searching for, and include them in your press release.
Support your release with a decent outreach and link building campaign
To increase the ranking and visibility of your press release, promotion and acquiring quality backlinks are crucial, even if you've published it on a reputable site. Outreach involves reaching out to other relevant websites and niche influencers, and asking them to link to your press release or share it with their audience.
Now, this requires some research, pitching, and negotiating, but it can make a huge difference in the success of your PR marketing campaign. Outreach is only one way of building links to your press release. Check out our blog post with 20+ link building tips.
Stay in touch with webmasters to keep your press release updated
Writing a press release is not a one-time event. As with other outreach articles, you need to stay in touch with the webmasters who publish your press release and make sure it's updated regularly.
Updating your press release is important because the online landscape is constantly changing. Your press release may contain information that becomes outdated or irrelevant over time. For example, you may have launched a new product, changed your pricing, or received an award. You want to reflect these changes in your press release to keep it accurate and fresh.
Updating your press release also helps you optimize it for search engines. You'll need to track how your press release is performing in terms of keyword rankings, organic and referral traffic, and conversions.
Ask webmasters to add your URL in the Sitemap of the website
To help with indexing, you need to ask webmasters to add your URL in the Sitemap of their website after publishing your press release. The Sitemap lists all the pages of a website and tells the search robot how they are organized. This helps the search robot understand that the press release is an important part of the website and that they should crawl and index it as soon as possible.
Include links to your website and social media profiles
Help your audience find more information about your products, services, or events. However, you need to make sure that your links appear navigational, not transactional. Navigational links are those that help the reader navigate to a relevant page or resource. Transactional links are those that try to sell something or persuade the reader to take a specific action.
An example of a navigational link would be something like "Learn more about our technology PR services" or "Follow us on Twitter". A transactional link could be something like "Buy now and get 50% off" or "Sign up for our free trial today". The difference is subtle but important.
Transactional links can make your press release look spammy, salesy, or self-promotional. You have to put in some time and effort to make them look natural and attractive. Here are some more dos and don'ts of linking in your own press releases:
Dos of linking in Press Releases
Don'ts of linking in Press Releases
Using descriptive, keyword-based anchor text for your links.
Using transactional or promotional language for anchor text and surrounding context.
Limiting the number of links in your press release.
Featuring the same link multiple times in your press release.
Following the linking guidelines of the press release directories
Linking to irrelevant or low-quality pages or resources
Utilizing branded or naked URL anchor texts that show your website address or brand name
Use multimedia content to enhance engagement
Given that you'll put a lot of resources into the PR campaign, you want the most value from it. That’s why it’s important to include multimedia elements such as images, videos, infographics, or podcasts that enhance your press release and make it more engaging and shareable. But don't forget to optimize your multimedia elements for SEO as well by utilizing keywords in their file names, titles, captions, alt texts, and descriptions.
Distribute your release through reputable channels
It's not enough to write a compelling press release; you also need to distribute it through reputable press release websites that can amplify your message and reach your target audience. How can you find out if a channel is reputable?
Check the channel's website and social media accounts for hints of credibility, such as contact information, testimonials, awards, and affiliations with reputable organizations.
Review their past coverage of your industry or niche, checking for relevant stories that echo your goals and values.
Ask for references and feedback from other clients or partners who have used the press release distribution service before. Were they satisfied? Did they get results? How much did they pay?
Compare the channel's credibility, reach, domain rating, and prices with other similar options. Avoid press release websites that are charging too much or too little, or platforms taunting unrealistic outcomes.
Track the keywords, positions, traffic, and overall content performance of your PR placement
After securing a PR placement, you need to track its performance by monitoring the target keywords, positions, traffic, and overall content performance of your PR placement.
Tracking the performance gives you valuable metrics that you can use in future releases and help you better optimize your future releases. Additionally, you can also demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of your PR efforts to your stakeholders and consider if it's a worthy investment for future campaigns.
Do Press Releases Work for SEO?
So, do press releases work for SEO? Yes, they can have some tangible benefits such as:
Generating backlinks if the story gets picked up by reputable media outlets or websites;
Increasing brand awareness to reach a wider audience;
Targeting and ranking for keywords that can bring in highly targeted traffic.
The Impact of Press Releases on Rankings
It’s worth noting that the relationship between press releases and SEO can have some negative implications, such as:
Low-quality or spammy links: Low-quality press releases can end up generating backlinks from low-quality or spammy websites that have nothing to do with your niche or industry.
Duplicate content: Syndicating SEO friendly press releases can lead to duplicate content that appears on more than one website or web page. Search engines don't like duplicate content as it creates confusion and reduces the quality and diversity of their results.
Lack of originality or value: Press releases are not meant to be informative or educational content for your audience. They are mainly promotional and content marketing tools that aim to generate publicity and exposure for your news or event. By design, they may go against Google's helpful content guidelines, which advocate for people-first content. So, you need to create the most authoritative, original, and people-first press releases for the best chance of ranking well.
Evidence Supporting the Effectiveness of Press Releases for SEO
One of the best examples of how press releases can be successful is the one published by HUDSONVILLE ICE CREAM in 2022. The press release announced that they were collaborating with Little Debbie to put a twist on classic snack cakes by launching seven new ice cream flavors.
The press release was one of the top PR articles on CISION PR Newswire for 2022, a leading global provider of news distribution and media monitoring services. It managed to generate 102 backlinks from various websites and blogs, with 89% of the links being dofollow, meaning they passed on authority and ranking power. This shows how a well-written press release can boost a brand's visibility and reputation online.
Notably, the article also followed good principles of effective link placement by including a navigational link with a naked URL directing people to learn more about the company by visiting its main website.
It’s also worth noting that the press release was published on a high-quality PR distribution website with a high domain rating.
Factors that May Affect the Impact of Press Releases on SEO
There are some factors that can reduce the SEO value of press releases. You can use them as basis for mistakes you should avoid as you create and publish your own PR articles:
Links placed too deep in the content and unseen by the customers
Press release articles typically have nofollow links. So, if readers can see the links, that is the biggest advantage you receive. Placing the links too deep in the content leaves them unseen. This can reduce the volume of referral traffic. That said, Google ignores links from known PR sites, so there is no need to go above and beyond to place links too high in the content where it seems illogical or forced.
Backlink is lost
Another thing that can reduce the value you get from press releases is if you lose the link contained in the article. This can happen due to intentional removal, accidental omission, or misspelling of the link by the publisher. You can use a bulk backlink checker to make it easier to keep track of your press release SEO efforts.
The article disappeared from SERPs
A press release article may disappear from SERPs for various reasons. Some of them are:
The article is out of date, and newer or more pertinent content has taken its place.
It has violated Google search guidelines or policies, resulting in a penalty and removal.
The press release has low-quality or duplicate content that doesn't provide value to the users.
It has technical issues such as broken links, slow loading speed, or poor optimization affecting its ranking or visibility.
The article has too many ads or other external links
Too many ads can distract the reader and reduce their engagement with the content. Additionally, too many external links can lower the quality and authority of the article, as well as the link juice that it passes to your website.
Always track your PR
Your public relations (PR) can influence the search engine optimization (SEO) value of your link. A negative reputation can harm your conversion rate and drive away potential customers. As you undertake your SEO efforts for your PR article, you also need a meaningful PR strategy.
Monitor your PR placement indexability all the time
The indexability of your press release is critical because if the article is not indexable, it can't rank on Google. Consequently, if it's not found, it can't generate search traffic, awareness, and backlinks for your site.
Track your main backlink status
Since press releases require more resources than standard outreach articles, it's essential to keep track of any backlinks generated from them. Links can be lost, deleted, or altered.
If you need a reliable way to manage your links in real time, you can use LinkChecker. The software can track all your backlinks, and send out alerts if it detects any anomalies. Read on to find out what it offers.
Track your main backlink status
Press releases are not cheap or easy to produce. They require more resources than a standard outreach campaign, such as writing, editing, formatting, and distributing the release. The links you get from press releases are also more expensive, as they depend on the quality and reach of the media outlets that publish them. You need to constantly monitor your quality links to make sure they are alive and relevant.
Monitoring the status of your backlinks is a tedious and time-consuming task that you can't perform manually. You can employ the power of automation by using backlink manager software such as Linkchecker.Pro.
It's the go-to tool for individual link builders as well as larger teams as you can check the status, anchor text, nofollow attribute, and other metrics of your backlinks in real time. You can also get alerts when your backlinks change or disappear, allowing you to act swiftly.
Monitor your outreach backlinks that target your PR link
You should also monitor the outreach links that you have created to boost your PR links. Make sure that they are free of errors such as nofollow tags, common SEO URL problems, excessive external links, indexation issues, spam issues, and more. LinkChecker allows you to track a large number of links in real time.
The best solution to keep an eye on PR Placement
Linkchecker is an efficient backlink management tool that can help you to manage your press release placement and links to your PR placement. It can help you to monitor the status of your links, check for broken links, track the quality of referring domains, and help manage your link-building team. LinkChecker can also help you to find new opportunities for PR placement and outreach, by analyzing your competitors' links and finding relevant websites in your niche.
SEO press releases are not only a way to announce important company news but also a way to generate backlinks, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website. By following the best practices for writing and distributing press releases, you can optimize them for search engines and reach your target audience.
Press releases can also help you build relationships with journalists and influencers, who can amplify your message and boost your online reputation. Through 2024 and beyond, by combining press releases and SEO, you can create a synergistic effect that can enhance your online presence and grow your business.