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Nowhere are the conflicting goals of general vs. SEO press releases more apparent than in headlines. If you have an easy-to-incorporate key phrase, great! Make sure you use it in your headline.

If you have an awkward key phrase, you'll have to use common sense and compromise. Whether or not you incorporate the key phrase in your headline will depend on several things, including:

  • Just how awkward is the key phrase?
  • Do you have a great headline without the key phrase?
  • What's the primary purpose of the press release? To reach readers or the search engines?
  • Apart from the headline, how well is the press release optimized for your key phrase?

Don't give up too easily though. There is an alternate method that usually works: “Splitting” your headline.

Simply break up your headline into two parts. Start with your punchy opening, then expand with text that includes your key phrase. In effect, you're creating a headline and subhead in one line and separating them with punctuation.

For example, if your key phrase is the clumsy and dull “search for new condos in Las Vegas” you could incorporate something very similar in your headline while still getting attention with something like:

Strip Search: The Bare Facts about Finding New Condos in Las Vegas

Next week: The most common reasons press releases are rejected by editors… and how to ensure yours are accepted.