Search engine optimisation for PRs – a place to start anyway

2 minutes estimated reading time

Ok, I am not going to bother touching on the obvious questions like whether PR agencies have a place in search engine optimisation, or have a place at the marketing table at all anymore? Given my recent ‘29 not-very-technical things that every PR person should know‘ post, I thought a quick post on search engine optimisation and public relations may be called for. I am going to keep this really simple and focus on the press release.


First of all, lets talk about key words. Key words are the words that people would use to find your web page. So if you were looking for this blog key words could be “Ged Carroll” and “renaissance chambara”. From a client perspective, web links and key words are the two best ways to improve a clients search results and to help develop their online reputation. Search optimised press releases are the single easiest way to provide fresh, relevant content that can generate links. There is a number of tools available to help work out what these need to be for a given media release.

Google AdWords keyword tool
Google Suggest
Google Trends
Microsoft’s adCenter Labs keyword forecast
Trellian’s free search term suggestion tool
Wordtracker’s free keyword suggestion tool
I’d also recommend that you have a read around some content that Tim Hoang produced as a good SEO keywords for PRs primer.

Creating a successful search optimised release breaks down into three steps:

Create the press release – write for the media and influencers that the release was designed to influence, as well as the search engines, ok let’s be honest here: Google. Thinking about the headline: include at least one relevant key word phrase that people search for. Mention the keywords of focus for the release within the first paragraph, so none of the ‘Acme Inc. a leading end-to-end solutions provider of blah blah blah.’

Distribute it in search friendly places. From a linking perspective, many press release distribution companies allow you to include keyword-rich anchor text in links. These links should be directed to specific URIs within the client web site that have content that supports this keyword phrase. Many distribution services allow you to tag (label) a press release with keywords that you’d like to have this release associated with.

Many companies offer varying levels of service for distribution and all of them have their different strengths and weaknesses:

Publish the release on the client web site. I know it seems obvious, but don’t forget to publish all these on your clients’ own web site. You have just gone and created some fresh relevant content and it would be a shame not to use it.

What’s next? How about talking to your client about social media releases or for sufficiently important releases running a short-term search engine marketing (SEM) campaign to support a release until Google has a chance to index it?