Monday, May 31, 2010

What are the best practices for writing a SEO-friendly press release?

I use a service from Newsforce, available through Business Wire (, the electronic press distribution service now owned by Warren Buffet. It costs $20 a press release, and it’s worth every penny in the amount of time saved versus using the “free” services that I have explored. In addition, Business Wire and Newsforce assign staff members to keep up with what is going on in search engine optimization. It’s much more cost-effective that trying to develop the expertise myself.

This is a short explanation of what I think works best. First, write a press release as if you were writing it exclusively for humans, keeping keywords in the back of your mind. Then go to the $20 online tool. Enter the keywords, or the terms on which you think people would be searching. The tool then comes back with an analysis of the number of searches on these words in the past month and suggests other keywords as well. Once you have selected the keywords, it tells you how many times each keyword needs to be used in the headline, in the first 100 words and in the body of the press release.

It’s up to the user, of course, to make certain the press release still makes sense to humans as well as to search engines. (I have to brag a little here. The first time I used this process for one client, he said it was a wonderful tool because the press release still read just as well as it did before optimization. I told him those compliments should be directed at me, not the computerized tool. ☺)

For those who are not familiar with search engine optimization, this is a process that makes your press release more likely to show up on Google and other Internet searches. It’s a critical part of public relations today.

Thanks to Sun Valley Online’s Dave Chase for this question.

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