Short rules: Most Press Release Headlines too Long for Google News

When it comes to press release headlines, short is better, a research brief by Schwartz Communications found recently.  

Most SEO specialists suggest headline lengths of 65-70 characters in order to pass muster for inclusion in Google News.  Yet 77% of  16,000 Business Wire press releases reviewed by Schwartz exceeded that recommendation.   Here’s how headline character counts broke down:

23% were 65-70 characters: IDEAL

24.3%  70-100 characters

24.8% 101-150 characters

15.1% 151-200 characters

10.8% 201-300 characters

2% 300+ characters 65

In a “headline showdown,” Schwartz reviewed datelines to determine which cities hosted the SEO savviest press release headline writers. “Based on our analysis, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia produce the highest percentage of news releases that are under the 66 character limit,” the report found.

Schwartz also took a look at buzzwords in headlines and found that 86% of news release headlines are buzzword free.

You can download the report on the Schwartz website.

10 Responses to Short rules: Most Press Release Headlines too Long for Google News

  1. [...] lead, providing deep links to your web site, adding multimedia such as logos, photos, or video, and keeping the headline under 70 characters so it is most likely to be indexed by Google [...]

  2. Excellent information and right on target with what I preach in my PR classes at Curry College…”Get to the point and get out of my way.” Journalists are not impressed with your ability to fill a page with words; they’re impressed by your ability to tell a concise, meaningful story.

  3. How interesting that some professionals still call these documents “press releases” instead of “news releases.” Last time I checked, Google wasn’t using any PRESSES – and neither were most other media. And yet many PR pros still call this document a “press” release. Why? Isn’t “news release” or “media release” more accurate?

    • Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire says:

      It seems to be a phrase that’s simply got a lot of inertia attached to it — according to Google Trends, “press release” as a search term occurs about three times as often as “news release.” It may end up being one of those anachronisms we’re stuck with.

  4. amandajaidynne says:

    I am learning about writing news releases in school right now, and I found it interesting to determine exactly why short headlines are so important. It’s sometimes a difficult task – we tend to want to include so many descriptive words and a thorough outline of the topic when, in reality, readers and editors just won’t appreciate that. Short, catchy, interesting, concise phrases draw readers in. It is difficult to learn how to do this when we have been so trained that quantity is more important than quality in school – word counts, page number lengths, and notes train our minds that being able to write A LOT is more important than what we actually write. Being able to write concise headlines, news releases, and stories give PR pros a competitive advantage. Thanks for writing!

    • Monika Maeckle says:

      Thank you for the kind words, Amanda. Good luck to you in school. No doubt writing short and concise is more challenging than droning on. I’m going to stop now.

  5. [...] Sources: “Short rules: Most Press Release Headlines too Long for Google News,” BusinessWired, Oct. 26, 2010 [...]

  6. [...] Sources: “Short rules: Most Press Release Headlines too Long for Google News,” BusinessWired, Oct. 26, 2010 [...]

  7. [...] study found that 77% of press releases indexed in Google News had headlines that were more than 70 [...]

  8. [...] study found that 77% of press releases indexed in Google News had headlines that were more than 70 [...]

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