As an inbound marketer, you have probably been using press releases as a way to create visibility and recognition for your clients’ websites. You’ve probably also used press releases to promote your own site as well. But the question is, is it working? Normally, press releases require a certain amount of time and money to be spent on them in order for them to be effective, theoretically anyway. So considering this, you need to ask yourself, are you doing yourself a disfavor by NOT using press releases? We’ll elaborate.
Over the past several years, businesses, public relations departments, and SEO experts have used press releases for 3 primary reasons:
- To announce information to an audience such as the launch of a product, meeting of a milestone, or kicking off a tour. This would be released to the general population as well as the media.
- To create good exposure and good press by highlighting news or good deeds.
- To build backlinks by embedding links into the business’ website in the press release to juice SEO.
As of now, the first two reasons are still feasible and have been proven to work. The third reason, however, has run into problems upon the release of the new Google algorithms Panda and Penguin. As we already know, Google LOVES quality and unique content and will give high search engine results page (SERP) rankings to anyone who creates that content. Naturally, pages with poor and unoriginal content will be penalized by Google’s new algorithms. But where does that put press releases?
According to Google, backlinks from press releases will not help your SEO. However, SEOConsult conducted an experiment to see if this was actually true, and it turns out Google is lying. According to SEOConsult, “An unremarkable press release that adds nothing to the story is still having direct SEO benefit to the target simply down to the distribution and scraping that has occurred.”
So now that we know press releases embedded with hyperlinks DO indeed help SEO, temporarily anyways, so you might want to reconsider press releases as a strategic way to increase visibility for your or your clients’ sites. It also wouldn’t hurt to actually research anything Google says, since the results of SEOConsult’s study was the opposite of what Google said. Sneaky sneaky. Also, note that SEOConsult said an “unremarkable” press release STILL affected SEO, so imagine what a well though out and well put together press release would do for your SEO!
Now we know that building links using press releases has at least some sort of value to it, but the real value lies in writing content and sharing information that your readers will find useful. This content can be anything from blogs, online articles, and yes, press releases too. So if you want to really bring in traffic to your site, focus on creating content that is SEO friendly, using predetermined keywords, yet is imaginative and unique so that real people can appreciate it, not just the search engines.
When you are writing a press release, always remember what your original goal is, which is announcing useful information for both your audience and the media. Keep it useful by ensuring that your content is timely, relevant, and most of all, helpful. Additionally, you want your press release to be picked up by media news outlets and respected industry news sites. These create terrific backlinks which will spread your press release and information to an even wider audience. So, to do this, you want to:
- Write about things that would interest your potential buyers.
- Use easy to understand language, but also language that your audience searches with.
- Use specific keywords in your headlines, yet keep the title brief and interesting.
- Use important keyword phrases in your FIRST paragraph, then add any relevant hyperlinks.
- Use long-tail keywords relevant to your service or industry. Do NOT embed the same phrase more than once, Google HATES this.
- Create loyal readership and offer SIMPLE ways for your readers to share your content via social media.
So considering everything we have talked about, let’s go back to the original question, are press releases worth it? If you ask us, our answer is still yes, if you do it right. If you ask Mike Cherenson, Executive VP of Success Communications Group, he’ll put it a little more eloquently, “Authentic and relevant link building, aimed at driving engagement, informing publics, and building mutually beneficial relationships should be a part of every public relations and SEO effort. Public relations professionals are skilled storytellers and content generators and should be a part of every SEO effort. The future of SEO is not in the technology, it’s in the ability to tell stories that readers and Google will find interesting.”
(Information pulled from kunocreative.com)
Certified Inbound Marketing Strategist | Content Marketing Specialist | Social Media Strategist | SEO