The rules for press release search engine optimization (SEO) have changed. What was once regarded as one of the best ways to build credible links to business websites, Google now considers optimized links—or anchor text—in releases as “link schemes.” To explain, “anchor text” is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. This now means that anchor text in releases will no longer help SEO and excessive links could actually hurt search engine rankings.
Does this mean Google killed the value of the press release? Not exactly, but things have changed. Press releases still serve as tools for market education and discoverability, and can be shared via social networks and other channels. Based on the new rules, what should you do with your press releases? Read below for a few helpful tips.
1. Write for humans, not machines. Your press release will be more valuable if its content is easily digestible and shareable. The rules for keywords have also changed. Instead of repeating the same keywords, use synonyms for a more natural, relatable feel. For keywords you do want to use, keep them at the beginning the headline and repeat them somewhere at the top of the release.
2. Include a direct link to the most important and relevant webpages. To adhere to the new anchor text rules, simply include the URL to the most relevant webpages for interested readers to click on and learn more.
3. Share the content socially. Share your press release on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest…wherever makes most sense for your audience. This is important, as search engines assume that content that has scored a lot of social interaction is relevant and timely, thus giving it and related content a boost in search results. There is also the added benefit of putting the content in front of your brand followers, and they might share it with their friends and followers.
4. Add multimedia content. Adding photos, videos or downloadable content makes your press releases more compelling. There is even some research showing that the use of images can boost your rankings in search engines and on other sites favoring multimedia. In fact, just adding a photo to a text press release has been shown to make it almost 2 times more likely to be viewed.