How to draft an SEO friendly press release

One of the key functions of PR is generating high quality inbound links that can benefit your Web site’s search engine optimisation. Another advantage is that the online clippings resulting from PR activity can hang around in search engine results for a long time, particularly if the site is also a Google news source.

As a result, people often ask me, ‘what is the best way to write copy that takes advantage of these two benefits?’

The first point is to decide what key words you want to optimise for. Do your research and find out what terms your customer’s use. Then decide between long and short tail key words. Make these decisions on an overarching campaign level and also on an individual level with regard to each piece of PR material you issue.

Once you have made these decisions, make sure you include your key words in the headline, subdeck and opening paragraph of your copy. But take care not to over stuff your content; you are writing primarily for people after all.

The first 250 words of the copy are the most important. Like people, search engines read from the top and presume that the text at the bottom of the page is least important.

As with all copy it’s important to avoid jargon. However, it’s particularly important if you write with SEO in mind, because hardly anyone searches for jargon.

Let’s say you sell blue widgets and everyone who buys them calls them blue widgets. But your CEO has decided to call them Next Generation Leveraged Cerulean System Platforms. You should still call them blue widgets in SEO copy, even if it means storming your boss’ office and holing him captive until the decision is approved. Your customers search for blue widgets and no one searches for Next Generation Leveraged Cerulean System Platforms.

Finally, in order to generate those all important inbound links, you should include some anchor text in your copy. I would say about five per cent of the release could be anchored, which means a typical 300 word release could use around 15 anchored words; shared across two to four phrases. Many more than this and the page will look overstuffed.

The anchor text should link to relevant pages on the site. This means the anchor text ‘blue widget’ should link to a page about blue widgets, not your home page!

Finally, remember that before the copy goes onto the magazine’s page, it will probably be pasted into notepad or a similar programme, to remove all of the formatting you have carefully added. As a result, there’s not a lot of value in adding bold or italics, despite the benefit this could bring from an SEO perspective. It probably only turns journalists off anyway.

Of course, if you don’t want to worry about all this stuff, you can simply get Stone Junction to do it for you. Give us a bell on 01785 225416 or e-mail richards@stonejunction.co.uk.

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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