How Press Releases Can Be Great For Search

    December 29, 2009
    Chris Crum

Press releases are not only great ways to spread the word about any announcements your business might have. They can also drive traffic, particularly from search engines. This is not news, but it’s a commonly overlooked fact.

Have press releases brought you significant search traffic? Discuss here.

"Search engine rankings are arguably the most important small business marketing tool available today because it drives Web traffic — and potential prospects — to a small business’ Web site," a PRWeb spokesperson once told WebProNews. "However, because improving search rankings is desirable, achieving results can be both challenging and highly competitive."

Back in the summer, PRWeb shared a case study with us, involving a firm that typically sees a boost in search engine rankings and a 50% spike in web traffic after they issue a release. In fact, for one release in particular, the firm saw a spike of 400% on two different Web sites, and the firm doesn’t believe they were from the same users. They also incorporate social media tools like Twitter to extend the "shelf life" of press releases, and say that drives additional traffic.

"When we included a link to our press releases on Twitter and other social media networks, we saw these both expanded the scope of distribution and the extended the longevity of the announcement," the CEO of the company behind the case study had said.  "With other news releases we saw an initial spike in Web site traffic on the first two days and then it dropped off.  With these features we’ve seen increases in traffic up to five days after the news release was issued."

In a study from Arketi Group, also back in the summer, journalists were found to use the web in the following ways:

– 95% search
– 92% reading news
– 92% emailing
– 89% finding story ideas
– 87% finding news sources
– 75% reading blogs
– 64% watching webinars
– 61% watching YouTube
– 59% social networks

You’ve got to wonder if that social networks number has gone up by now. My guess is that it has, and social media has since become all the more important to search, particularly with the inclusion of real-time search results in Google and Google’s social search experiment (which may eventually move beyond experiment status).

Marty Weintraub, the President of aimClear shared some great tips and insight into the use of press releases for search in a recent interview with WebProNews. Among other things, he noted that when you do a press release, you’re "hitching a ride" in the search engine results and news results. You can use outbound links in press releases, and perhaps more importantly, you’re out there where the journalists are looking.

Here are some press release distribution sites (some are paid and some are free): 

Business Wire
PR Newswire
24-7 Press Release
PR Zoom
PR Leap
PR Log
– MarketWire

Beyond the distribution sites, don’t forget to include your releases on your own site. Journalists like being able to find the most up to date information from the source itself.  Earlier this year I discussed how some companies’ own press centers are holding back some marketing opportunities for them. Your site should have a section for press releases, and that should be up to date with the latest release when it goes out. You’d be surprised at how often these go without being updated even when a press release has been spotted elsewhere. It is also a good idea to link to any company blogs, Twitter accounts, or any other place where company announcements are made.

Do you use press releases for marketing? Do they work? Comment here.

Related Articles:

> Search Engine and Social Traffic from Press Releases

> Press Releases New SEO Back Door to Top Rankings

> Getting the Media to Cover Your Business