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How to Optimise Press Releases for Search Engines and Humans

May 31, 2017


Depending on your goals, a well-written and optimised press release can generate leads, site traffic, sales, and improve your online reputation.


Writing a press release that contains something newsworthy also gives you the opportunity to create a buzz around your product, which in turn stimulates journalists to write a bigger story about your offering, leading to even more exposure for your brand.


But, writing a press release that achieves these goals can be quite challenging and to increase chances of success they need to be well optimised for SEO to rank high in search engines…


And more importantly…


Be engaging to capture the imagination of journalists and readers – many of which could be your target audience.


Read on to find out the ways you can write press release content that could not only make it easy for search engines to find you but also create engaging content that appeals to both journalists and potential clients.


Optimise for SEO

It is important to carry out press release SEO as it makes it easy for Google to find you, and this means creating the right combination of relevant keywords, subheadings, and hyperlinks.



Which keywords you choose will depend on the subject of your press release. For example, if you’re launching a new product or service you may want to include the product’s name as a keyword.


Use Google’s Keyword planner,, or These are useful tools for finding keywords that are appropriate to your industry and news story.


Once you have chosen your keywords, make sure you place the most relevant keyword in the heading, within the first 100 words of the press release content.


This is important because it makes it easier for Google and other search engines to index and categorise your content.


In the example below, the Vidalia Onion Committee included the keyword ‘Vidalia’ in the heading, subheading, and the opening sentence of the first paragraph of their press release:

Notice also, the clever use of other relevant keyword phrases including ‘vidalia onion committee’, ‘vidalia onion growers’, and ‘vidalia onions’.


There are no universal rules on how many times a keyword should be included in a press release.


It is suggested that relevant keywords should be appeared 3 to 5 times through the main body, depending on the nature of the press release.


However, it is important to avoid keyword stuffing in press releases because it will make the content look unnatural, and Google will penalise you in the form of lower rankings.



Adding hyperlinks in press releases are very useful in boosting traffic to relevant pages on your website.


There are many ways this can be done.


To direct your readers to your homepage you would use your company name as anchor text.


Or you would use the product name or blog post name if you wanted your audience to visit a particular product page or blog.


In addition, you can use your keywords as anchor text as UK based motorhome rental company, Camper Rent UK did in the example below using both the company name and the keyword ‘motorhomes rental’:

Press Release by Staunton Rook


The advantage of adding links for journalists and bloggers is that they can be directed to your website. 


And if your site contains great content, they will be compelled to link to it, earning you external links and better search rankings.


There are no specific rules on how many links you should include in press releases but it essential to avoid peppering them with too many as news search engines will regard your content as spam.


Generally, it is recommended to include one link in the first or second paragraph, and one in the middle of the press release.


It is also useful to include a link in the boilerplate (‘About’ section) or right at the very end where you can provide contact information using general words such a ‘here’ or providing a naked URL of your homepage:

Tag Photos and Videos

If you are including multimedia such as photos or videos in your press release, tag them with relevant keywords so that search engines can pick these up in other categories such as Google Images and Google Videos. 


Optimise for Humans

While making Google and news search engines’ life easier is important, it is also vital that your press release content flows naturally, and is compelling enough to engage readers and journalists.


And at the same time taking care in obeying the two golden rules of writing a press release:


1)     Don’t make it read like an advert

2)     Write in the third person


Eye-catching headline

The press release headline should simply state what the press release is about.


But, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be attention grabbing.


This can be done through making the most important piece of news at the centre of the headline, and if possible summarise the benefit

The headline above is a good example as it summarises in five words what Spoonflower, a digital printing company, has done to ‘spice up’ (benefit) the queen’s guard uniforms.


It also showcases the company’s digital design expertise. 


The Who, What, Where, When, and How

In the first paragraph of your press release, the reverse pyramid rule applies here.


This means including the most important aspects of your company’s news in the opening paragraph followed by less important details afterwards.


For example, if you are launching a new product, simply state what is it, and when, where, and why was it launched.


At this point, it would useful to talk about its significance to the company, and how the product will benefit customers.


A good example of an opening paragraph is found in a press release by Artefact Laboratory Ltd., which makes bespoke food supplements:


“Artefact, one of the first British designer vitamin lines, makes its debut this spring (When). Formulated by medical experts and brought to life by a team of creative minds (Who), the range blends natural ingredients and traditional know-how from across the world with cutting-edge science and contemporary design (How) to produce a unique range of supplements tailored to modern living (What)”.


Why the news is important

In the second paragraph of your press release, explain why the news is important.


Expand on what you have written in the first paragraph, and provide evidence.


For example, explain what makes your news significant, your new product or service different, and how exactly they help your customers solve their problems.


Evidence of the importance of the product or service can take in the form of further explanation or quotes by experts or relevant figures within the company.


Again, using the Vidalia Onion example, the second paragraph of the press release below consists of a quote from the chairman, which summarises well the importance of the anniversary of the onion’s trademark:

Vidalia Onion Committee’s chairman sums up well the importance of the trademark’s anniversary in providing American consumers reassurance that they have been enjoying the genuine article. 


Appeal to the heart

Journalists love a human element behind a story, and buyers tend to make purchases based on emotion.


You can appeal to readers and journalists’ hearts by including a human backstory within your press release.


For instance, was there a tragic event that was the reason behind the development of a new product, or any charity work carried out by the company and their employees.


A great example is a press release written for the Family Resource Center quoted by PR Daily, which aimed to highlight the benefits of adoption.


Instead of just telling what the benefits are, the company used stories of love and compassion to show that adoption really works.


One of the stories was about a single mother who adopted all five children from the same family so that that they won’t be separated in foster care, as the headline below shows:

Add quotes

Including quotes can add value to a press release in that it gives you the opportunity to energise the content, and subtly promote your product or service, which would normally be inappropriate elsewhere in the press release.


This adds impact to your story.


Quotes can take in the form of statements made by the manager or CEO of the company about a significant event or conveying the benefits for consumers in taking up a special offer.


A good example of this is a press release by Trade Radiators, an

e-commerce company that supplies Aluminium radiators:

When asked about the Awesome Aluminium sale, CEO of Trade Radiators, Nic Auckland, stated, “This is a great opportunity for our customers to buy a really high quality, energy efficient, aluminium radiator at a ridiculously good price. The site wide Easter sale is also going to slash the prices of all of our radiators. If there’s one you’ve been eyeing up for a while, now is the time to buy it.”


As you can see from the quote above, it gives a chance for the company to communicate the benefit to customers of taking up the discount i.e. the chance “to buy a high quality, energy efficient aluminium radiator at a ridiculously good price”.


Include Photos and Videos

Adding multimedia elements such as photos and videos can enhance your press release because they allow you to visually represent and summarise your story.


Multimedia content makes your press release more memorable because people tend to absorb information from photos and videos more easily than text.


Photos and videos also break up text, making your press release easier to read. 


For example, the video below was included in a press release by online magazine Katzenworld, announcing their partnership with 4cats, a German manufacturer of catnip and valerian cat toys.

The benefit of adding this video was it gave 4cats the chance to visualise their products in action and demonstrate their effectiveness as well as make the press release more entertaining.


Also, as mentioned earlier, videos can be picked up by Google videos increasing their chance to go viral.



By applying these techniques to optimise your press release for both SEO and humans you will be able to increase leads and exposure for your brand that will get journalists, bloggers, and potential clients talking.


If you ever tried these methods or faced challenges in writing your press release, I would very much like to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.


Originally published on LinkedIn. 



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