Lee Odden

Essential Press Release Optimization Tips

Press Release OptimizationOne of the most popular keyword optimization content types for SEOs and Public Relations professionals alike are press releases. As a news communication tool, the value of press releases has undergone changes.  However, press releases provide a substantial amount of content to news search engines and can rank well in standard search engines like Google or Yahoo.

Multiple studies have documented that consumers and journalists are searching for and reading press releases. Optimizing press releases for a specific audience makes them easier to find and therefore, more of an asset for communicating news and attracting traffic to the company web site.  As a result, it makes sense for marketing and PR practitioners alike to understand how to make press release content easier to find.

What Process Should You Follow to Optimize Press Releases? Here’s a useful checklist:

  • Clearly define the goal and target audience of the release
  • Research keyword phrases (1-2 per release)
  • Add phrases to the title, sub heading and body copy
  • Use keyword phrases when linking to landing pages or other corporate web site pages – not “click here”
  • Add media to the release (images, video, audio) as well as alternative formats of the release (MS Word, PDF)
  • To count conversions, use tracking codes in the URLs that point from the press release to landing pages
  • Post the release to the company online newsroom
  • Write a blog post version of the announcement and include a link to the press release
  • Distribute the release via a wire service such as PRWeb, Marketwire, PRNewswire or Business Wire
  • Optional: create and distribute a social media version of the press release
  • Encourage bookmarking of press release pickups
  • Monitor release rankings, social mentions, traffic & outcomes

The press releases that are hosted by the wire service offer a nominal amount of direct SEO value because they are new pages without link popularity. However, those releases are syndicated to other search channels like news search engines and can rank well there based on other factors like keyword placement within the release and the link popularity of the site that filters down to the release level.

Press Release SEO Press releases are often copied with links embedded into other news web sites and blogs as content and can result in direct traffic as well as links that are detected by search engines. Search engines count and value links as part of the ranking process. A single press release may result in 10 new inbound links or 1,000. It depends on the content and the reach. Compelling content typically attracts more links.

I cannot emphasize enough that it’s important that press releases are optimized for people first and search engines second. A highly ranked press release is of little value if it does not make sense to a person reading it. Few people will link to or pass along a press release that reads as if it were “optimized” for keyword phrases.

The single most important place to add keywords in a press release is in the title tag as shown in the image above. That same text is displayed at the top of the browser and is used as the hyperlinked title in the search results.

For more information on press release optimization, visit these previous posts:

This is the 6th post in a series of ten on optimizing content for Public Relations. Be sure to visit us tomorrow for post #7 “Pull PR and Newsroom Optimization Tactics“.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.


  1. I think that you have nailed it. The PR 2.0 professional today needs to add these SEO techniques to their bag of tricks. All your suggestions are great. I would add writing a newspaper/magazine quality version, and posting it to a popular article site (e.g., HubPages, Ezine), too.

  2. Todd DiRoberto says:

    This was very informative, thank you!

    Todd DiRoberto

  3. Chuck SEO Harmon says:

    Well written post.

    Some basic and very good advice for anyone trying to utilize all the tools available for SEO.

    Your comment about optimizing for people first is worth the whole price of admission.

    Thanks for a very insightful and educational post.

  4. Diana Lipps says:

    As a pr gal that’s been around the block a few times, I appreciate your insisting, Lee, that press releases be written for people, not just search engines. While optimizing press releases is an art in and of itself, we can’t forget the end user. Thanks for another well written and informative blog post.

  5. That was a very well written blog post. It is also important to know that when choosing a press release company, you do not have to spend a ton of money on press releases for optimization. I have seen press release services charge a huge amount of money for their services. I have also seen companies that charge a lot less and you get the same SEO optimized press release results.

  6. Great post. PR professionals have to get this stuff right. I see that you dont list any information on Analyst Relations–which is a great marketing tool for technology companies and goes hand in hand with PR. My blog talks about that so would be glad to get some link love.. Will put you on my blog roll.

  7. Great tips. Thanks for putting them all in one place. Ditto this: people ALWAYS come before search engines.

    AGain, nice job.

    Monika Maeckle, Vice President New Media, Business Wire

    • Thanks Monika. There’s more than enough “can’t see the forest for the trees” going on with those trying to gain leverage with optimizing news content. They forget that in the end, it’s people, not search engines that they want to influence.