November 12, 2012
PR & Link Building
Link Building For PR Companies: Press Material for the Online World
A guide to getting the most out of press releases for your client
Both online and offline material can help with the exposure of your client’s online assets, such as a website or social media channels, and this guide is designed to help you squeeze the most out of every press release and marketing piece to positively impact your client’s online business goals. As you are aware, timely press releases are a great way to build brand awareness and increase the amount of traffic seeking out your client online.
From an SEO point of view, links are extremely important as they are used by the search engines as a ranking factor and the more domains pointing to your client’s website, the better it is likely to do in the search engines. However, the QUALITY (and therefore the impact) of a link depends on several factors.
Links in press releases often appear in the article footer. However, Google actually places more emphasis on links in the main body of text. This is because the copy surrounding the link reinforces its contextual relevancy, thereby establishing a more ‘authoritative’ basis for that link.
Link Anchor Text
Often blue and underlined, this clickable ‘anchor text’ is also another good way of telling the search engines what to expect if they follow (or ‘crawl’) the link. Therefore this can be used to your advantage if you are highlighting a particular person, product or service in the press release. For instance, you can use appropriate language for the anchor text that not only tells the search engines more about the destination, but also intrigues readers to click on the link.
For instance, if an article focused on a new upmarket hand wash available at John Lewis it may be linked to in one of the following two ways;
1. …available online at www.johnlewis.com and John Lewis stores, the Vintage Mimosa & Pomegranate Hand Care Duo will add vintage charm to…
2. …available online and at John Lewis stores, the Vintage Mimosa & Pomegranate Hand Care Duo will add vintage charm to…
Not only is the latter more intriguing to the reader to click through to, but if someone now searches for “Vintage Mimosa & Pomegranate Hand Care Duo” John Lewis’s site is now more likely to appear in the search engines because they have associated that text with the destination site – in this case www.johnlewis.com.
It is important to vary the anchor text each time so that the website can rank for a wide variety of search terms. Using the same anchor text over and over (except for brand-related terms) can be seen as spamming in order to “game” the search engines and should be avoided.
As briefly mentioned earlier, sometimes a client’s homepage is not the most appropriate page to link to. Consider the most appropriate landing page from a reader’s point of view. For instance, if an article is about the company director, link to their Bio page. If it is about a brand new beauty treatment, link to that treatment’s page, and so on. This will not only be more relevant to the reader, but these backlinks to ‘deeper’ pages within a website will help them rank for related search queries.
There is no need to link more than once to any given web page and we recommend no more than 2 links in total to any one domain in a single press release. However where appropriate, link to their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online profiles in addition to the main website.
Although offline content will not have a direct impact on site rankings, it can be effectively used to draw offline readers online to a client’s website or social profiles. Make sure the URLs are cited somewhere within the article to help readers find the website. Use a good call-to-action to encourage readers to make the move – Why should they log on? What is the benefit to them? Are there online discounts, etc?
Reserve the ‘Footer’ for a round-up of the topic and how your client relates to that topic. Try to include physical address and contact details citations here.
- Try and get links in the body of the text where appropriate
- Utilise intriguing language or call-to-actions in the anchor text where appropriate
- Link to the most appropriate and related page on the site
- One link per webpage, two links per website (maximum)
Of course, journalists and 3rd parties will often push back on what they will and will not include in press material and will try to influence how it will ultimately look and sometimes they can be sceptical about offering a link to an external source – regardless of how useful it is to the reader. It is well worth the effort to negotiate a link using the following arguments:
- Links to an additional resource(s) add value and credibility to the article and makes it easier for their audience to find out more.
- Links can open up in a separate browser window so that traffic is not lost to the additional resource.
- As a last resort offer to link back to the article from the client’s website or promote it on client’s social media profiles (obviously must be cleared with client first).
Here, we have only covered optimising press releases. We realise there is more to PR than this! If you are working on a specific project for a client and would like some advice, we are always on hand to offer guidance on how to get the most out of it in terms of online visibility for your client.