One recurring question we receive is: do press releases help search engine visibility and link-building strategies? The short answer is yes – and no.

If done correctly with a reputable press release distribution partner, your press release can increase your organic traffic by getting placed in front of the right searches at the right time. However, there are many things to consider as you're publishing your press release to get the most visibility across search engines.

Follow SEO Best Practices for Press Releases

Search engines like Google and Bing use thousands of different indicators to help them assess both the relevancy and authoritativeness of a given web page. Writing and publishing a good press release can be hard enough without trying to take all these ranking factors into account, so get a head start by following these SEO best practices as part of your publication strategy. 

  • The first five to seven words in a headline matter the most. Search engines will favor press releases that have words that match or are similar in intent to the first five to seven words of the headline. Try to put your most valuable information at the front of the headline to maximize impact.
  • Pay attention to the first 250 words. Similar to the headline, the information close to the beginning of the press release is most valuable for search engines. Search engines assume that content at the beginning of an article is most important when determining what search terms are most relevant. 
  • Do your keyword research. Keyword tools like Google Trends can tell you how often people search for words or phrases that you can include in your press releases. For example, "press release" is searched over ten times more per month than "news release", so if you had to choose between using one of those terms, "press release" would make your article more relevant to those searches.
  • Add multimedia for more search traffic opportunities. Use photographs, videos, infographics, or other multimedia to have a higher chance of showing up in news and image searches. Note that it is important to name multimedia files with related keywords to capitalize on this benefit. 

Publish on Well-Known News Distribution Sites

All search engines try to give the most relevant search results that are also expert in nature and come from an authoritative, trustworthy source. Publishing a press release on a lesser-known or not-as-established news distribution site can hurt your chances of ranking for the terms you care about. Here are some key factors.

  • Number of Backlinks: Search engines look at how many links from other websites point to the site they're evaluating so the longevity and notoriety of a news distributor matters a lot in whether or not your press release will be seen as coming from a trustworthy source.
  • Technical Proficiency: Because search engines use "bots" to crawl the web, it's critical for a news distribution website to properly format and present the information being assessed by those bots. Technical considerations like a site's crawlability, indexation, proficiency, and site speed will directly impact how the site is ranked. 
  • Site Longevity: How long a site has existed can be a good indicator of how established and authoritative it may be. Understandably, newer websites with no track record will be treated as more suspect than older websites that have a history of ranking and answering search queries. 

Business Wire is a well-known news distribution company. Our news platform is trusted by investors, reporters, influencers, customers, and search engines. When you publish a press release with Business Wire, you can rely on the backlinks, technical proficiency, and topical authority Business Wire already has to rank higher in searches. 

Publish Original Content But Don't Duplicate

Ideally, you'd like your press release published in as many places as possible to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. But what is important for communicators to understand is that this kind of placement – a single piece of content (i.e. the news release) across so many websites – is categorized by Google as duplicate content.

Duplicate content is not bad per se, but it is not the same as original content, and original content should be identified as such to search engines. While it is okay to have your press release published in multiple locations, you should indicate to search engines which website should be recognized as the originator of the article.

Original content is content written by a single source for a single publication or website. Any time this same content is placed elsewhere, Google requires the publisher, such as Business Wire, to add a particular tag called <no follow> to any included URLs. When this tag is not included, the issuing company risks penalties by Google that impact their website’s visibility in search engines. 

As part of our commitment to provide wide reach and on-demand access to our clients’ news announcements, every Business Wire-issued news release is placed on hundreds of different websites and search engines. These placements make it easy for people to find your press release at the exact moment they are looking for your kind of information.

To protect our clients from possible duplicate content penalties by Google, Business Wire follows industry protocols and adds <no follow> tags to any included hyperlink within the news release. This code allows us to place your news across the web and tells Google you are not using this content piece for link-building purposes.

News releases are not link-building tools, but they do appear high in search engines when your audience is looking for your news.

To learn more about SEO, link building, and how to write a headline that reporters and search engines love, here are three great resources for your files:

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