In 2024, gathering coverage is just one of the reasons for distributing a press release. Increasing a site’s search rankings, bolstering algorithms, achieving backlinks and search engine exposure can all help potential readers, clients, and customers find the brand behind all too frequent paywalls. Yes, SEO rules here.
Did you know, however, that simply stuffing your press release full of keyword links doesn’t increase your chances of ranking higher? Google itself discounts these as it knows you have placed them there deliberately and is bent on showcasing the ‘earned’ links when it comes to ranking higher on search pages. Newswire sites themselves will utilize ‘no follow’ links, which have no advantage to your SEO strategy overall.
How can you optimize your press release for search in 2024?
Starting from the beginning, the key to success here lies in the way that you put the press release together –
- Rethinking Keywords in your press release
Small changes to your keyword list can make a big difference here, so it’s worth a re-focus on the ones you plan to use. For this, you need to understand current search volumes – if not already, Google Trends is your helper for measuring search volume – there is a comprehensive guide here for using Google Trends for your content planning.
Less obvious, but still relevant tweaks can bump up search volume chances. It’s time to ditch the niche and think of the more obvious – consumer-friendly terms as guided by your trends research. Think ‘Lipstick’ – search volume is higher for terms such as ‘Long Lasting’ and ‘Matte’ – alongside the obvious brand name, so make sure that your keyword terms match your readers’ appetite!
Search engine algorithms prioritize content that aligns with user intent and is enriched with relevant keywords. What are people searching for? Don’t assume here – do the research. We all know the benefits of aligning with newsworthy topics and celebrities for example, but we don’t always have the benefit of that hook for our brand comms, and the days of inserting irrelevant, high-ranking terms are over. Utilizing the appropriate keywords in the headlines, subheadings, and body copy will all enhance search engine visibility, making it more likely for the press release to appear in search results when users enter related queries.
- Who are you mentioning?
A quote may be a press release staple inclusion, but if the spokesperson has search value in their name alone, this is a huge SEO benefit. From a CEO, a celebrity, or an influencer – again, no spam is recommended, but do consider who might be good for a recognizable quote in a press release for the benefit of search rankings.
- Optimize your images
You can appear higher in search rankings depending on the imagery you use to illustrate your release. Original photography through to an infographic or illustration should be optimized with alt text and a strong description or title – keyword-wise. You’ll also show up higher in image searches, a separate traffic source, and a valuable one.
- No spam, please
Another reminder not to spam. Keyword stuffing tanks your overall rankings, it’s outdated, and Google has been onto this for years, despite ‘advice’ to the contrary. Backlinks from spammy sites show that you are not keeping great company online, and Google knows this. Think about your distribution in the same way you do about your manual pitching processes – be discerning.
- Striking a Balance: Quality Content vs. Keyword Optimization
While keywords are integral to search engine optimization, the ultimate goal is to deliver high-quality, relevant content. PR specialists must strike a balance between incorporating keywords for search engine visibility and stories that resonate with their audience. Keyword stuffing, or the excessive use of keywords, can harm the readability and authenticity of a press release. It’s crucial in 2024 to prioritize the creation of engaging content that adds value to both journalists and readers.