5 Places to Put Keywords in Your Press Release
Download The Ultimate Guide to Press Release SEO: 2016 Edition for practical tips on improving how your releases rank in search engines. The following article is excerpted from the guide.
Hopefully, you’ve already made an effort to include targeted keywords in your press release. Once you’re done, however, it’s good to review the following checklist to see if you’ve put valuable search terms where they’re needed most.
HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR PRESS REALEASE HEADLINE
The key to optimizing the headline of your release for search engines is to move imperative language to the beginning. Remember: the first line of your Google Search Engine Result Listing is going to be pulled from your headline and will be limited to about 55 characters, including spaces. You want that listing to compel readers to click through, so plan accordingly.
Short headlines also helpfully force you to prioritize relevant keywords, which in turn maximizes your visibility to search engines. Just as you should take advantage of valuable (but relatively attainable) keywords, you should minimize your use of “filler” words — anything that wouldn’t be capitalized in your headline won’t do much for your release’s SEO value.
Instead of “Luna Equity to Hire Executive of Competing Firm as CEO,” try “Luna Equity Names New CEO.” It conveys all the information necessary for a headline, and there’s very little in it that you wouldn’t want to rank for in the SERPs. And while it’s a tempting convention in journalism, you should be careful about using puns or witty phrases in your headline that may confuse search algorithms.
Keywords are much easier to place in your subheading, but that doesn’t mean you should be tempted into keyword stuffing. Use Autocomplete to find search terms that are closely related to the ones you’re pulling from your research (see the Appendix for more on Autocomplete).
Say your headline is, “Luna Equity Announces Annual Meeting.” When you type “annual meeting” into the Google search bar, one of the first things that comes up is “annual meeting agenda.” While the word “agenda” may not belong in your headline, it might fit snugly into your subheading: “2016 Agenda to Cover Recent Litigation, Other Topics.”
THE FIRST 100 WORDS (INTRO)
Your release will rank higher for keywords when they’re placed in the first 100 words than it will when they’re placed later in the text, but again, don’t overuse your keywords! Panda updates notwithstanding, repetition makes your piece less readable and makes it seem as if your press release is more for SEO than it is for communicating news.
Just as your release’s headline becomes the title of your Google SERP listing, the first sentence of your release becomes the description (the two lines below the headline). Again, you want a description that will compel readers to click through. It’s important to note that Google limits that description to about 155 characters including spaces — so be concise and place the most important content up front.
The intro represents an opportunity to incorporate semantic variation and supporting language into your release. Thanks to regular Panda updates and machine learning, the Google algorithm can associate contextual language with a broader, main topic. That means that you have the ability — and even the imperative — to incorporate natural language. For example, in the first few sentences of the press release you could use language like “Executive of Competing Firm” as a variation of “New CEO” (your main topic and a part of your headline).
ANCHOR TEXT LINKS
If you want to link to a target web page in your release, you should include your primary keyword phrase in the anchor text of that link. This increases the probability that, if other sources lift content from your release for use in their own web content, they will link back to your target page and use the exact keyword phrase for which you want to rank.
Your anchor text keywords can both be related to the content of the release and instruct the reader where it’s taking them. For example, good anchor text in financial disclosure statements might read, “Click here for video of Luna Equity’s official Q3 statement,” in contrast with, “Click here.”
While anchor text can be a great vehicle for driving traffic to your site, a press release shouldn’t include more than one or two links. Since readers may discover your release on a website to which it’s been syndicated (e.g., Yahoo! Finance, Reuters.com), you’ll want to take an opportunity to link back to a relevant page on your corporate website. If your release announces an executive appointment, or if it covers a topic on which someone in your company is considered a thought leader, consider also linking to their blog, executive bio, and/or LinkedIn Influencer page.
Compelling images are bound to make your content more clickable, and including keywords or related search terms in the metatext for your images increases your chances of being found via Google Images.
Once you’ve found a relevant image to include — such as a logo or the headshot of a new executive — make sure it has a standard file extension name such as .jpg or .jpeg. In this case, it’s also important that you name the file something that both includes keywords and effectively describes the image in question (e.g., new-nasdaq-coo-adena-friedman. jpg).
However, we advise not to include an image just for the sake of doing so — only choose a photograph if it’s directly related to the content of your release. Additionally, Google stresses that the image should be at least 60 by 90 pixels. Those are minimum requirements, and a high-resolution image is always more useful to media outlets.
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