If done correctly, press releases can absolutely help SEO. Press releases can lead to new, naturally occurring backlinks, increased traffic and visibility, brand recognition and more. However, this is only if your press release strategy is not created with the intention of gaining links.
Oftentimes, companies think that a mass press release strategy is a great way to get quick and easy backlinks, and therefore improve their SEO rankings and authority. If this is your motivation, I would recommend rethinking your SEO strategy.
Generally, mass links from PR blasts using companies like the Newswire do nothing to help with your SEO. First of all, Google is smart enough to differentiate between authentic links from websites that love your content and want to share it and links that were purchased or are from content that was placed by your company. Second, most press release links are “nofollow”, which means they do not significantly impact your site’s authority.
Also, it is important to note that most of these press releases are placed on websites that your target audience is not using. So, unlike getting linked to by an influential blogger or thought leader in your space, your press release is not being exposed to potential new customers.
With all of this being said, there is still a way that PR can positively influence SEO. But, you have to do it in a genuine, authentic way. Here are a few steps to get you started:
1) Do something noteworthy or creative
While this seems like a big undertaking, you do not have to do anything world-altering- just something that would get your target audience’s attention. For example, if you work for a running sneaker company and you know that your target audience runs 5k races and lives in the Northeast, you may decide to organize a 5k in Boston with the proceeds going to a meaningful organization. This would help you attract new potential customers, get local PR coverage, and boost your brand awareness.
2) Prioritize authenticity
Customers (and Google) can tell when a brand is disingenuous. Make sure that your PR campaigns prioritize authenticity and are not only being done for the sake of revenue.
3) Find reputable journalists to work with on websites your customers hang out on
Make sure that you are only publishing your press releases on websites that your customers hang out on. If all of your placements are on websites your customers do not go on, then it may be a waste of money.
Want to learn more about making sure your PR efforts are SEO friendly?