LOTS of people don’t realize the connection between press releases and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
One of the main contributors to a successful SEO strategy comes from relevant inbound links. One way you can drive inbound links is through a regular program of press releases, whatever you call them — news announcements, press releases, media releases, distributed material, etc. (Remember, just because they are called press releases doesn’t mean the mainstream media is actually the target market.)
When you pay to distribute a press release over one of the wire services, you are actually paying them to (among other things) post the press releases on numerous websites and online databases. When this happens, if you have stocked your press release with relevant links that lead back to your website, you are creating inbound links. (Note: beware of websites who want you to pay them to post your news on their site.)
Some cautions and things to understand; there are limits to an SEO strategy based on press releases:
- News sites regularly archive their material so you may find your links disappearing every 30 days, or sooner, depending on the site’s schedule.
- Links from websites with lots of outbound links are worth less than links from websites with fewer outbound links.
- There are different types of inbound links — keyword links, named links, etc. Again, different types of links contribute differently to your overall page rank and SEO.
- Links from high page rank sites are worth more than links from low page rank sites. Your press releases may end up on very few high page rank sites.
- A press release posted on a media website is never as good as a story on that same media website. One is fresh, unique content and the other is simply a rehash of existing content. Search engines treat them differently. (Of course, one of the challenges with staff-written stories is to get a link included to your website.)
Note: Sending out a press release is never a guarantee of media attention. In fact, sending out a press release is one of the last things you should do when you have news. Literally the last. Key reporters and journalists are interested in news. Your news ceases to be news when you distribute it in a press release. It becomes OLD news.