Online press releases can play an important role in promoting your green business—both to members of the media and to potential customers. And the secret to making them effective is simple: getting them high in search results or, in other words, search engine optimization (SEO).
What SEO does is boost your press release in search engine rankings so that it’s easy to be found by Web users—that way, when someone goes searching for say, sustainable packaging or eco-friendly flooring, your company’s news release is front and center. To journalists and consumers alike, press releases found in search results are becoming a trusted and reputable resource—even more so than traditional emailed press releases.
As David Meerman Scott writes in his bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR, “Something like 25,000 press releases have been sent to me, resulting in no stories. Instead, I think about a subject that I want to cover in a column or an article, and I check out what I can find on blogs and through search engines.”
In addition to media exposure, search-friendly online press releases can give your green business powerful backlinks to your site, a way to get your message to new customers and more content and links for your site’s press and news section.
With that in mind, consider the following tips for making your online press release search-friendly!
1. Research Keywords.
It’s as true for companies making eco-friendly grocery bags as it is for those designing websites for veterinarians: before you ever write your press release, do your keyword research. Keywords are essential to making sure that your potential clients find you–and by using the right keywords related to your green business, you ensure your company is the one people find when they’re looking for your services.
2. Write a Search-Friendly Headline & Subheadline.
In terms of search engines, headline is key—it’s the most heavily weighed element in your entire press release. To write a headline that gets you noticed by search engines, keep it concise (under 65 characters, advises MarketWire), include your company name and your top keywords, be interesting (ask yourself what would grab your attention) and make it relevant—the headline should appropriately convey what the press release will be about. Likewise, consider including a subheadline that incorporates secondary keyword phrases early in your press release.
3. Avoid Specialized Jargon.
The purpose of a press release is getting information to customers, so your content needs to read accordingly. Stay away from highly detailed technical explanations and, whether you’re writing about solar panels or sustainable construction, make the language easy to understand. Be direct, straightforward and clear. If you’re in doubt about the readability of your press release, ask an outsider to read it before you publish to see if it really makes sense.
4. Optimize the First 250 Words.
Work to get your main message within the first 250 words of your content—not only will this make you more relevant to search engines, but it also will help you communicate better to readers so that they won’t lose interest and will continue reading throughout the whole press release. Likewise, use your most important keywords early in the content, preferably in the first sentence, to make sure they’re picked up by search engines.
5. Include Keywords in Anchor Text Links.
Because online press releases can include links, you can use this to benefit your website’s SEO. Use keywords in the anchor text of links, at most three or four times throughout your content, and point to pages imbedded within your site. Not only will this benefit your SEO but also it will point readers to your website.
6. Add Images.
Major search engines like Google and Bing will include images from your press release in search results—and because results with images are much more likely to be clicked on, this can greatly affect your traffic. In addition to putting your logo in the press release, choose an image that is interesting, attractive and relevant to your topic, and make sure it has a clear file name that describes the image and incorporates a keyword. You may also wish to provide a descriptive caption.
7. Optimize Your Boilerplate.
The boilerplate is the brief company overview that appears at the end of a press release, basically an “about us.” It usually sums up who your company is and what products you offer to those readers who may have had no previous knowledge of it. To optimize this section of your press release, keep it brief (within one paragraph in size), answer the basic questions new readers would have about your company and include one or two strategic hyperlinks to key pages on your site.
Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Web development Chicago company that provides SEO, Web development and other marketing services for B2B clients. She has been writing professionally since 2004, moving from newspaper reporting to real estate marketing to her current role as a Web copywriter and food blogger.