How do you get a press release to appear high on Google? And what really determines whether a newsroom gets many visitors?
We had a chat with Magnus Äng from Topvisible about how SEO works in connection with public relations. In short, what methods you can use to make your news interesting to the media, but also click-friendly?
Below, we give you 3 common SEO mistakes when it comes to PR, and 5 ways for increased visibility.
Magnus has more than 20 years of experience in digital marketing. As a former CEO of Euroflorist, he has also spent a lot of time on specific press releases. Today, he is the founder and Head of Strategy at Topvisible, a company that deals with everything from search optimization to content production.
In terms of PR and SEO, what do you see as recurring mistakes that people in the industry make?
1. It's talked about, but there's not enough publishing.
I find that newsrooms are often quite empty.
When Google ranks, they compare how much you talk in comparison to competitors and how the level of content differs between companies in the same industry. If you rarely update your newsroom, this is not only bad for you, but unfortunately can also be beneficial for your competitors.
2. It is based entirely on what journalists demand and not about basic SEO.
Another mistake a company makes is to only create content based on its news when writing a press release. Many people lack a strategy for including keywords in their news, which drastically reduces the chances of appearing in various Google searches.
I understand that you primarily think of the journalist you send the press release to, of course, but many completely miss those who could come across the news via a related search.
3. There's too much superstition on the effect of backlinks from newsrooms placed on external platforms.
I would say that there is some superstition on external platforms and backlinks (incoming links from other sites to your site).
If you use an external platform for your newsroom, Google is so intelligent today that they understand that it is a sort of hub for press releases, rather than a natural buzz.
This means that the links have no greater value for visibility.
What Google instead looks at a lot is the degree to which a company or event is being talked about, regardless of backlinks. We therefore always recommend our customers to think long term, where the goal is to keep as much copy as possible on their own site, including subdomains.
This way you drive traffic to your own site, instead of to other already large companies.
What can you do to increase the visibility of your newsroom and your press releases?
1. Be consistent - Update regularly!
I would say that one should be consistent. Google looks at a lot of industries to determine who has authority over their subject and rank accordingly. You get this in turn by actively writing about a topic. With that said, one should beware of duplicating content i.e. to use the same content on the website as in the newsroom.
But by trying to maintain a consistent flow of news, you may ask: Doesn't this risk a drop in news quality by having press releases perceived as 'spammy'?
Sure, but working frequently in a newsroom doesn't just have to happen by posting endless press releases. There are other ways to keep your newsroom alive and at the same time creating frequency.
The most important thing, after all, is to create engagement that makes visitors stay or choose to come back. It can be done in slightly different ways:
2. Publish different types of content in your newsroom.
You can work a lot with your own content or you feed mentions and the like.
This means that Google notes that something new happens to your page every time you take in external material, especially if it is on the same topic.
There are also studies that show that those who are at the top of Google are the ones who keep visitors at the top of the site and / or have the most repeat visitors.
Then there are shared sentences if the ranking is because the pages are content-rich, which visitors in turn like, or if the most important is how long a visitor stays on the page. Here one can wonder if one excludes the other, and what really came first, the chicken or the egg?
3. Use many different formats.
Google indexes much of the web and knows that using different formats on a site improves the visitor's experience, which Google likes. It is therefore important to include an image, or two or three, or why not a video?
We do not know exactly to what extent they interpret different formats, but we do know that they process several as they rank. Don't just focus on publishing text-only content.
4. Work with modern SEO even at press releases.
If you are writing a press release, no matter what the news is about, you should first find out what common keywords and search phrases are of interest to the business.
Here you usually talk about three categories; buyer-related searches, brand searches and inspirational searches. It is primarily inspirational searches that you should benefit from by our press releases.
For example, say you find about fifty questions that are logically linked to your company, products or news. Yes, then you weave them into various press releases to increase visibility. We see this a lot in the U.S. but not in Sweden just yet.
SEO is more flexible today. For example, you can use synonyms and bend the words. Thus, you do not have to use exactly the words found in the search, but even related words can work.
What then applies when it comes to the balance between what a journalist wants and what Google likes? Journalists often like mailings that are very straight to the point.
5. Structure the news so that both journalists and Google are satisfied.
It is possible to combine!
Customize the copy partly to what reporters expect from a mailing, but also to how people search for information. Here it is about how to structure.
What you can do is start sending out the early news of the big news in a concise and catchy way, then go further down into the event and at the same time make sure to include more keywords.
In general, you want to try to use the keyword in headings, while in the body text you can instead loose on different synonyms.
Notified was founded in 2010 and quickly became a disruptor in Sweden and across the Nordics. From the beginning, our goal has remained the same: to create a truly unique platform for PR and marketing professionals; one that delivers deeper, more actionable insights from social data and earned media, and brings the entire communications workflow into a single platform. In April 2019, Notified was acquired by Intrado, a global leader in digital communications.