Monday, 23 July 2012

5 tips for writing an SEO friendly press release - engaging humans and attracting the attention of internet search engines.

Online marketing specialist, Waseem Saddique, offers tips on constructing an SEO friendly press release, which will attract the attention of humans and internet search engines.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been around for a number of years now, but the letters S-E-O still cause press release writers to shudder when mentioned. Getting ranked on internet search engines for the purposes of online marketing is now a skill itself, requiring immense planning and knowledge of terms like ‘keyword density’.

There was a time when writers had to resort to producing two article versions; one that was written for the purposes of SEO and one constructed making it noticeably newsworthy. Thankfully, search engines have begun to recognise the value of press releases that contain ‘quality’ content over articles that are mass produced simply to score high rankings.

Waseem Saddique comments: “A few years ago we would have been discussing metatags, underlying source-code data and link structures. We certainly wouldn’t have been addressing the quality of on-page content at all. That has all changed now. Today, search engines are very good at ‘reading’ press releases.”

In order to benefit from these changes, here are five tips for making your SEO press release attractive to humans and internet search engines:

#1 – Make it engaging – The majority of search engines now emphasise the importance of press release content that is posted constantly on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Therefore, it is imperative that press releases written for the purpose of SEO contain information that is valuable to readers. When considering what to feature in your next press release, try to avoid ‘telling’ potential customers about your company, product or service. Instead, consider what prospective customers will ‘want’ to read. If they consider something worth reading, they will discuss it with friends and colleagues, expanding the reach of your release.

#2 - Stick to ‘natural’ language – Avoid industry jargon and construct copy that is used in ‘everyday’ discussion. The importance of creating natural flow will make an article much more captivating and compelling as opposed to trying to force your content to work around ‘unnatural’ SEO phrases.

#3 – Keep it short, keep it simple – Pick out the unique points that you want to cover in your SEO press release and form one clear and concise story over 1 or 2 pages based around these points. Waseem Saddique comments: “Avoid ‘essay’ style writing over 4 or 5 pages because if you clutter your press release with too many different themes and topics, search engines are unable to identify what the article is about. From a human perspective they will simply not engage if an article fails to ‘get to the point’ quickly.

#4 – Create an eye-catching headline – A strong, clear headline attracts readers and is more likely to inspire people to share on social media sites. Research suggests that headlines should use no more than 120 characters, which is just as well, as search engines only tend to index the first 65 characters of article headlines. Therefore, be sure that your priority keyword features within the recommended character range, especially for SEO purposes.

#5 – Don’t ‘litter’ your article with links – Providing a link to a website within an article is not bad practice, but don’t go ‘over the top’. Search engines are immediately suspicious of articles that feature too many links. In some cases, SEO press releases with too many links in are often considered to be spam and will not be acknowledged by search engines. Furthermore, some websites convert content to plain text. This means that your article could end up containing long URLs, which are an ‘eyesore’ to human readers.