“We have 12 vacancies. 12 cabins, 12 vacancies.” – Norman Bates
Folks will never tire of telling you how beneficial press releases are to search engine optimization, but can rarely recite the minutiae as to exactly why. It’s also important to understand the double-duty press releases can play in supplementing your online marketing efforts as a whole – SEO being only one facet of a comprehensive strategy. I thought about the potential confusion earlier this morning as I wrote some material for our sales monkeys. I’ve edited it a bit, and now – perhaps – it will give you a leg up. PRs are indeed great for boosting SERP rankings if you know what you’re doing, but that’s not the only traffic benefit they can provide on the interwebnets.
Press releases have two major benefits in regards to SEM (Search Engine Marketing). The first is direct traffic generated upon publishing. This traffic is a considerable spike which trails off after a while. All of the best PR networks allow you to target your release to some degree – be it geographically or topic/industry specific. It is possible to tailor submissions to these networks carefully and with the site’s target audience in mind. These releases can also be also tagged, re-purposed on the website (in a blog or news section) and submitted to dozens of social media outlets – depending on obvious variables like topic, mass appeal, etc. A press release about a new vacuum cleaner attachment isn’t going to attract as much direct attention as say a release about a corporate merger.
The second benefit is long-term and ongoing. Most PR networks allow you to tailor at least one link back to your site. The text contained in an HTML hyperlink is a major factor which search engine algorithms consider when associating a site with a specific keyword or phrase. For example, if a site wished to rank well for the term “discount DVDs”, you would link that phrase back in a subtle manner within the body of the press release. As the release is picked up by major networks like PR.com you will generally see a large boost in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for the targeted term. Over time, this press release will very likely be syndicated across a wide variety of websites, all with unique IP addresses, and usually with the hyperlink intact. So, although you pay $200 to submit the release to PR.com, in reality the value has the potential to eventually quadruple depending on the same variables I mentioned earlier.
Mental illness is nothing to poke fun at and that’s not what I’m here for. Press releases can, however, be likened to a split personality in the way they can provide so much visibility value when used effectively and by companies that know what they’re doing. One personality is loud and brash and wants to get picked up by Google news for a quick traffic fix and followed by obscurity. The other wants to quietly lurk in the background and percolate over time. Is this a good or responsible analogy? It’s accurate at any rate. Now if you’ll excuse me, my mother is calling.