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A press release in the traditional sense is a document that a company or organization sends to the media to share news about a new product, event, or significant achievement.
Its purpose is to get media coverage and inform the public and journalists about the news.
They’re usually sent to journalists, editors, media platforms, and bloggers who write about related topics. They may be distributed through various channels, including email, or social media.
A press release that is effectively written is a useful tool for public relations and marketing.
But in the digital times we find ourselves in, one must question whether an SEO press release aka media release is more suitable and effective for an audience using digital devices to find and read them.
So, let’s understand how it all works.
How Search (and SEO) Works
Search engines are software programs that help users find information on the web. They use complex algorithms to crawl, index, and rank web pages based on their relevance and quality for a given query.
SEO is the process of optimizing website content for improving the performance of the website on search engines.
On-page SEO involves making improvements to parts of the website and optimizing posts by adding useful and targeted keywords, titles, headings, links, images, and meta tags.
This helps search engines understand and present the content better. The search engine does not have the innate intelligence to understand the content. It depends on backlinks from other sites to inform it how good (or bad) a site is.
The process also involves creating valuable and engaging content for the users, as well as building authority and trust on the web through various channels such as social media and other platforms.
You can learn more about SEO copywriting in this guide I wrote:
Overall, SEO aims to increase the quantity and quality of organic traffic to the website, which can benefit the website’s goals and conversions. But it is directly interlinked with PR as it can assist with building a solid reputation on the web.
Why Traditional Press Releases Are Being Ignored (by Search Engines + Readers)
As explained above, SEO is the process of optimizing website content for improving the visibility of the website on search engines.
However, some “experts” exploit SEO by using manipulative techniques to boost their ranking or traffic.
For example, they may use keyword and backlink stuffing, or duplicate content to trick the search engines and achieve higher ranks and domain authority quicker.
Google and Bing dislike these practices because they harm the quality and relevance of the search results. Search engines use algorithms and manual actions to detect and penalize websites that engage in SEO exploitation.
A search engine’s mission is to offer users the most accurate and helpful search results pages (SERPs) by linking to the best and most helpful and unique content.
I have adopted this mission on the websites I manage where we offer content marketing and PR services, here’s an example of how we follow this through:
Most traditional press releases go out to several publication sites or distribution channels, e.g.,
- PR Newswire
Google might not index duplicate content as it deems it repetitive and unhelpful.
The algorithm detects that the content is the same or similar across several sites.
Net result – Google sends the Press Release to page 302 of the search or does not show it at all. What Google does not approve, it buries under a few thousand pages.
There is more.
Sites that publish press releases use what is known as the no-follow attribute.
The no-follow attribute is an HTML attribute used to instruct search engines not to follow or crawl a particular link on a webpage or post. It is commonly used to prevent search engines from associating a website with the content of a linked site.
Hence, no link juice. Nothing that sends your Domain Authority on an upward trajectory.
To add insult to injury, after a few months when you revisit the press release website, you find your post has been most likely removed.
Learn more about link building and why it is vital for SEO and PR in this guide
And check out my guides about outreach for link building and link analysis tools so you can improve and monitor your content marketing campaigns effectively.
Media Release aka SEO Press Release – the Better PR Alternative
A media release also known as an SEO press release is a new and improved iteration of a traditional press release.
For Google, as well as for readers, a media release is published in a similar way as any other business news story (and it is only distinguishable through its press release writing format).
Here’s an example from the London Business News Magazine. Below are genuinely insightful business news posts revealing unique information or data, which serve as great marketing exposure for businesses and organizations at the same time.
The traditional press release was made for the non-digital world. News was accessed through the morning paper. There is as much difference between then and now as a Volkswagen Beetle and a brand-new Tesla.
Here’s another example of media releases done right:
They are carefully crafted and include:
- a punchy headline
- a brief summary of the news
- quotes from executives or stakeholders with images or social posts
- background information about the company or organization
- related hyperlinks for further reading
- additional media that readers can engage with like videos, social posts, or graphics.
- contact information for media inquiries.
This is not all. They may also feature infographics, pie charts, and graphs to convey an idea quickly yet effectively.
SEO press releases are unique because they:
- Include relevant and targeted keywords.
- Contain keywords, links, and multimedia content.
- Contain useful content that is visible on search.
If you want to know what an effective and highly visible SEO press release achieving regular views and clicks looks like, check out these examples:
The combination of informative and insightful text, images, video, and links produces an immensely engaging information capsule and as you can see, these media releases have so far been viewed and engaged with thousands of times compared with traditional plain text releases I’ve published previously that only receive a few hundred views if that.
SEO and marketing experts come to similar conclusions about SEO press releases:
SEO press releases help you:
- Capture the attention of journalists, bloggers, influencers, and potential customers who are searching for newsworthy and relevant information about you as an expert and your products, or services.
- Increase the visibility and authority of your site on search engines by using keywords, headlines, meta tags, and backlinks that match the search intent of your audience.
- Enhance your credibility and trustworthiness by providing facts, quotes, statistics, and sources that support your message and brand image.
- Improve the user experience and engagement by using images, videos, and links that make your media release more appealing and interactive.
In short, a media release publication helps your business gain a higher profile on the web and a better reputation and visibility.
Bonus: When approaching a media organization for coverage, don’t make the mistakes revealed in this insightful post.
Steps to writing a good SEO Press Release – What I look out for:
Keyword research on the topic is vital to identify the most relevant and popular keywords for your target audience and media outlets. We will optimize all content submissions to tailor them to our specific audience.
A catchy and informative headline:
Your headline is the first thing that readers and search engines will check, so make it count. Use a keyword-rich headline that summarizes the main point. I also ensure that this is reflected in the post URL as search engines also check here for the main keywords.
An engaging introduction:
Your introduction should hook the readers and make them want to read more. I optimize these where necessary to boost engagement.
Write a body that provides more details and insights:
Your body should provide more details, facts, statistics, and sources to support your main point. Presentation is everything in the digital age so ensure you use graphics or videos for higher engagement.
Good SEO press releases should include a quote from a relevant person, representative or spokesperson of the organization. It adds a human element to your publication and increases credibility.
How to reap the rewards of PR with Media Releases?
An SEO press release is essential for every business in the digital era. It can help you reach more people, generate more leads, and grow your business faster.
With an SEO press release published for digital PR, you can leverage the power of SEO and press release together and create a powerful marketing strategy.
It is not an easy task to craft an SEO press release or media release that checks all the boxes.
That is why it is best to consult with the editors or experts first about their PR and press coverage services.
Why work with a digital PR agency for SEO press release publications?
- They offer valuable advice for broadcasting the right message.
- Experts pick the most relevant and effective media outlets.
- They help you save time and resources with experienced writers.
- They advise on effective messaging, timing, media, and goals.
- They have a deep understanding of compelling press releases optimized for the web.
Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.