It may come as a surprise to you to read that companies are still using press releases as a tool in their SEO campaigns. Many SEOs believe the notion of press releases having any direct impact on ranking is dated.
With press releases still occupying a portion of the SEO budget in many marketing models, it begs the question: Is there any value in publishing press releases for SEO purposes? We still publish them at Advice Interactive Group, but sparingly. (See here)
1. Don’t Publish Press Releases to Be Publishing
The biggest pitfall for companies who use press releases as part of their marketing strategy is that they issue them too frequently, even when they have very little to say. By publishing a new story every time one of your offices gets a new coat of paint, you are flooding websites with useless content that no one will read. A good rule of thumb is to let press releases happen organically. If something big happens in your company, it would be a natural next step to write about it and let people know via a press release. If, however, you find yourself wanting to issue a press release and wracking your brain to come up with some content, then you are doing it wrong.
2. Connecting Your Press Release to Readers
You should only issue a press release if it is a truly newsworthy story that people would be interested in passing on to friends. This will give your press release SEO value which can lead to it being picked up by a journalist and get it out to a much broader audience. This will allow you to reach corners of the market you couldn’t have reached on your own.
3. Target Social Media Users
In some cases your press release can have SEO value if it gets picked up and shared by users on social media. The best way to start the cycle of getting social media exposure for your press release after you publish it is to share about it on your company channels, encourage your employees to share about it and send out an announcement with a link to the press release to your email list. You always want to include all the social sharing buttons when publishing your press release, on your website and in your email announcement.
Can Press Releases Damage Your SEO Ranking?
Frequent publication of uninspiring press releases can do more harm than good. Google has made it clear that it does not like poor quality, heavily-linked press releases, and it will penalize you for publishing these.
Can Press Releases Hurt Your Brand?
If you publish a press release that isn’t really news or press release worthy it can put off your customers, give your brand a reputation for mediocrity and be a waste of your company resources. As mentioned above, if you are writing a press release just for the sake of writing one, don’t do it.
Press Releases as an SEO Tool
Currently, using press releases as part of your SEO strategy can be highly rewarding if done correctly. If you get a press release picked up by a journalist or a blogger who chooses to right a story about you or your company, it can have a positive impact on your company’s SEO and brand. The press release link itself will not help your rankings according to Matt Cutts. The stories that follow could.
For this reason, press releases for SEO should:
- Provide useful content to the reader
- Always be newsworthy
- Aim at being picked up by other journalists or social media users vs. for the purpose of a link to your website
Approach press releases as a vehicle for public relations with your readers, not as a marketing tool, and your efforts will be successful in raising customer awareness.
Is your company using press releases as part of their SEO strategy? Comment below and let’s discuss.