In the past couple of weeks, I've covered:
- General guidelines for writing press releases
- Extra requirements for SEO press releases
Conflicts often arise between the two sets of goals. What looks great to search robots may look awful to humans, and vice versa. So this week, I'll share some tips on how to reconcile conflicting requirements.
Some of the most common problems are:
1. Excessive Links
Readability suffers if you overload your press release with links. Also, excessive links may lead to your release being rejected by a newswire editor.
a) Keep the number of links reasonable, say one link per 100 words. (In practice, you can usually get away with a bit more than this.)
b) As links are precious, don't waste them by linking to websites other than yours.
Exception: sometimes, given the subject matter of your press release, it's essential to link to another website. If that's the case, just do it once. Use the rest of your links for your website.
2. Key Phrases destroying readability
Murphy's Law states that your most important key phrases are going to be long and clumsy; maintaining keyword density is a constant challenge. Luckily, there are a number of techniques the savvy SEO copywriter can use to make keyword repetition less obvious:
a) Mix the word order around
If “Las Vegas real estate” is your primary key phrase, use “Real estate in Las Vegas” now and then. It might not be quite as powerful for SEO, but it's a good compromise.
b) Use Synonyms
Search engines are increasingly adept at spotting synonyms. So for example, if your key phrase includes “cars”, don't be afraid to use “autos” now and then. Just don't rely on this too much; give preference to the precise words you know people search for most.
c) Careful placement of words
You can really have fun with this one: Search engines tend to ignore punctuation. So to break the monotony, you can “split” a key phrase with commas, periods or other punctuation. For example, if your key phrase is “swimming pool supplies”, you could write:
“We sat by the swimming pool. Supplies like beer were plentiful.”
“For your swimming pool, supplies are readily available at…”
d) Plurals, suffixes, etc.
New SEO copywriters often get hung up on using the EXACT key phrase, even afraid to use plurals! Fear not, the search engine robots are smarter than you think. Don't be afraid to use plurals and alternate word endings like ed and ing, etc.
The above are just a few examples. Feel free to add other suggestions!
Next week, I'll share my thoughts on the special case of headlines; how to make them search-engine friendly but still punchy.