Don’t Be Afraid of Press Releases: Do’s and Don’ts of Press Release SEO

By Alex Katzen | Oct 28, 2013
More Articles by Alex


Ever since Google’s warning in July against anchor text links in press releases and that links in press releases should use nofollow, we’ve seen some concern from clients regarding the optimization of press releases for search, for fear of angering the Google gods and getting their websites penalized in the rankings. I’m here to tell you that there’s actually nothing to be afraid of, but you’ll definitely need to keep some best practices in mind (as always).

Here are some do’s and don’ts to make sure your release is Google-friendly:

Links in press releases

  • Do some keyword research. Decide on 1 or 2 words make the most sense for your  press release to be discovered. Make sure those keywords are in your press release.
  • Don’t over-optimize. Use keywords in a way that makes sense within the context of the story you’re telling, but don’t keyword stuff.
  • Do take advantage of the boiler plate to add keywords and links.
  • Don’t add links to words like “here” or “click this.” Google could look at the link as unnatural.
  • Do add links to your keywords. Initially, there was speculation over getting penalized for using links in press releases. Janet’s post from Pubcon last week reports that there is actually no penalty for press release anchor-text links, but that Google is most likely not counting these links because they are perceived as paid links. Even though Google doesn’t value links in the actual press release, some sites that pick up the release may include the links as do-follow, which will help with SEO. Beyond SEO, links from press releases still promote traffic to your site. Since there’s no penalty to links, we advise still including them.
  • Do add social media profiles and contact information to each press release.
  • Do make sure to take advantage of the press release distribution site’s tools, like selecting the release’s category and location.
  • Don’t forget to add an image to the release, and ,make sure images have ALT Text. If resources permit, include a video, which can display a video rich snippet in search engine results. (PRWeb, however, does not use mark up with video schema.)
  • Do put news releases on your site, but make sure to post it in only one place to avoid issues with duplicate content, or use canonical tags to tell Google which page to index.
  • Don’t spend time sending the press release to a large, untargeted list of bloggers without having first done research.
  • Do consider conducting a small-scale outreach campaign that really focuses on your target audience, so you can improve the chances of publications and potentially bloggers picking it up. PRWeb has an email outreach tool to help with these email outreach campaigns.

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