Using Press Releases for SEO
Date posted: January 10, 2012
Looking for something of a (not so) secret SEO weapon? Look no further than a press release. A properly written and distributed press release can help you promote events, seminars and contests to target audiences (including current students, alumni, prospective students, etc). More importantly, however, these releases can also increase your rank in search engine results pages.
The SEO impact of press releases, in fact, is going to be all the more pronounced after Google made changes to its organic search algorithm in 2011. Essentially, they have cracked down on backlink farms and increased the importance of social signals (social media) and relevant, up to date content. What does this mean? Press releases have to be part of your school’s marketing mix.
Press Releases for Education Marketing?
The short answer is, “as much as possible!” That’s not to say you should be putting out press releases every day – content has to be relevant and newsworthy – but there are definite day-to-day activities within the life of a school that warrant the press release treatment.
Schools can issues press releases for the following:
- Open houses
- New campuses or facilities
- New or modified programs
- Online or technological advances/changes
- Seminars and special events
There are many more areas that you can be used as PR fodder, but this list should illustrate just how many press releases your school can issue. PR frequency is up to you, but many schools issue one release per month. Most often, these are issued through the biggest North American newswires, including PRWeb, Business Wire, Newswire or Marketwire.
Writing PR for SEO
Once you have identified the content that you would like to issue to a newswire, the next step is writing a press release that can improve your search engine rank while promoting your message.
Here are some tips for writing PR for SEO:
Keyword research and use
Much like optimizing a program page, the first step is in knowing what keywords you want to rank for. Once you’ve developed a list (this might mirror the keyword research you’ve done for your website content), you need to optimize your press release for these keywords. To do so, PR writers have to draft content that is both keyword-rich and readable to human eyes.
Link, Link, Link
Newswires like PrWeb will often have a limit to the amount of links you can include (most often tied to the total word count), but it is essential to use as many links as possible. These links should lead back to supporting pages on your website, and the anchor text you use should include a relevant keyword.
Use social media
Try to include social media icons in your press releases to encourage sharing and tweeting. Also, make sure to share your press release on all your social media platforms (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). This will hopefully create a dialogue with your audience, which can then be expanded and stretched out with additional posts and discussions.
Track Your PR
Once you’ve issued your release, stay on top of its impact with google analytics and analytics reports included in newswire services. This will give you a good idea of what kind of press releases work best, and if there are areas of your PR process in which you can improve.
Has your school issued a press release through a newswire? What techniques work best for you?