How to Optimize Your Press Release for Search Engines

Contributed by Guest Blogger Winston Behle


With the new updates to the Google Search Algorithm, the old school SEO tactic of sending out spammy press releases stuffed with keywords, filled with links, written for machines and without any substantial news value no longer works. You will get no link juice, you will not pass go, you will not collect $200 and you will go directly to jail (well… you probably won’t go to jail, but you get the point).

Ok. So… should I still be writing press releases?

By Mark Strozier, Creative Commons License

By Mark Strozier, Creative Commons License

The answer to that question is a resounding yes. But instead of putting out low quality press releases written only for search engines you need to be putting out high quality press releases written for humans. Your press release needs to be news worthy and well written so that it gets picked up by the media and published. Having your press release published is not only great PR for your business, it’s also great for your website’s SEO. News sites and news blogs are some of the most influential and high profile pages around. When a reporter or blogger publishes your press release or writes a story and then links to your website it makes Google happy, and when Google’s happy, your business is happy too.

While you should be writing your press releases for humans and not for Google’s algorithm, it’s still important to optimize your press release for search. However, optimize it with the goal of making it easier for your target market to find.

Here’s some tips to optimize your press release:

1. Our Familiar Friend, Keywords

Include two or three keywords or phrases that are relevant to the press release and to your product, cause or business. Think of this as market research. What keywords or phrases is your target market searching for? Find out and put a keyword or two in the headline, sub-header and the first paragraph of the press release. Remember when it comes to keywords write naturally and don’t keyword stuff.

2. Don’t Overdo it When it Comes to Links

When including links in your press release, 2-3 is the optimum amount. Over doing it and stuffing your press release with links can actually negatively impact your SEO. Make sure to include naked URLs like this and lay off the exact match anchor text. Here’s an example of exact match anchor text Amazing and Awesome PR Website.

3. Content is King

Make sure your press release is newsworthy and substantial. In order to get SEO value from your press release, it needs to get picked up by a news organization or blogger and create a story or blog and the only way that’s going to happen is if you put out a well written, news worthy press release. Don’t put out press releases that are very short, unsubstantial and are only a vehicle for links. Google sees these as spam and may penalize you. Make sure to write naturally. It will make your press release more interesting. Also, Google can tell when something is written naturally and will reward you. Rewards are good.

4. Don’t be Boring, Include Pictures and Video

You should not be sending out a press release without a high quality image. Many news sites won’t even publish an article unless it has a compelling image. If you’ve got the time and resources, include a short and compelling video as well. Guess what, pictures and video show up in search results. They can be optimized for search. When adding a picture make sure to include a keyword or two in the alt tag. Google factors in keywords found in alt tags in its rankings. Pictures and videos also increase click-through-rates and they increase the amount of time users spend viewing your content. The amount of time spent on a page and the popularity of a link are big factors in search rankings. Pictures and video also make people more likely to share a link on social media and social media shares, tweets, posts and +1’s factor into search rankings. Speaking of that…

5. Be Social

Make sure to tweet, share and post your press release on your social media platforms. In fact, try to get as many other people as possible to tweet, share and post about it too. Google pays attention to what’s happening on social media. The more social interaction your news gets, the higher it will rank in search. Above all, remember if you want your press release to boost your website’s search rankings it needs to generate news and be published by high authority websites that link back to you. So be interesting, write naturally and make some noise.


Winston is a Jr. Acct. Manger for Laura Burgess Marketing