SEO Press Release mistakes: If you do these, we hate you!

Search Engine Optimization

Press releases date back to beyond our time.

In fact, as junior copy desk editors, we had plenty of experience with press releases.

Like most newspapers, we were flooded with them. And now, with the advent of websites, social media and search engine optimization, press releases have the potential to flood everyone’s senses with useless information.

That’s too bad.

It’s too bad because press releases could make good content.

Press releases can make good content for search engine optimization, but more importantly, they can make good content for your customers.

But let’s look at the top two mistakes that turn a useful Internet press release into an annoying piece of spam

Keyword Stuffing

Search engine optimized posts that are full of keywords for the sake of filling them with keywords are spam. Pure an simple.

Yes, there are ways that an SEO could take a press release and make the content more search engine friendly. But when this is done at the expense of readability, it produces irritability.

For example, if you’re not familiar with a passive sentence, a passive sentence is one where the object comes before the subject in a sentence.

So, that probably wasn’t clear.

A man, suspected of robbing Cody’s Bakery on 5th Street, was shot and killed by police officers Wednesday.

What’s the action of that sentence? What are we saying happened?

We’re talking about a shooting. Shot is the verb or action in this sentence.

So who did the shooting? The police.

Who was shot? The suspected robber.

But this sentence mentions the robber (the receiver of the action) before the police offers (the doer of the action).

A much better sentence would look like this.

Policer officers shot a man, suspected of robbing Cody’s Bakery on 5th Street, Wednesday.

However, some people believe that having your keywords toward the beginning of your sentences provides better juice for your SEO.

This, actually, could be true – although no one can prove it, and any benefit from it is minuscule. And certainly not worth reading sentence like this.

Affordable Plastic Surgery is a new service that we are pleased to announce for our customers.

Obnoxious Backlinking

Links provide critical juice for any SEO strategy. But out of place back links just annoy people for very little juice.

For example, if I’m writing an press release for our new plastic surgery services, I would be an idiot to post this to Reddit.

Sure, it will get you a link, but people will see you invading their social network and will backlash against you.

Find niche networks for plastic surgery.

I’m sure there are non-commercial blogs and forums dedicated to plastic surgery.

However, don’t perform “parachute backlinking.” That’s a play on “parachute journalism” by the way.

Parachute backlinking is the process of showing up on a blog or forum, posting a promotional message such as:

Check out our new plastic surgery services! http://stupid.com/link

And leaving the community – never to be heard from again.

Instead, lurk for a while in the community. Get a feel for what the members like and what they don’t.

Contribute without linking, and then, when you do have a link, you can look for a discussion on “What to look for when deciding to have plastic surgery” and post something like this:

There are a lot of important factors you should consider. Some of these include whatever, whatever, whatever and whatever. If you want to read more, please check out this blog post http://smart.com/link

Press releases can build good SEO, especially for content-starved businesses, but don’t be spammy with them.

About Cody Swann

Cody Swann is an entrepreneur, developer, strategist, banged up ex-football walk-on, retired body builder and former journalist born and raised in South Florida. He currently splits his time between his hometown of Stuart, FL and Los Angeles, CA. Cody founded Gunner Technology, a highly sought after digital agency, specializing in helping companies maximize profits through custom web development, technology efficiencies, social media strategy and search engine marketing. As a manager and developer at ESPN for nearly six years, Cody led development and vision for two of ESPN’s most popular online features: Sports Scoreboards and GameCasts. Additionally Cody oversaw all aspects of MyESPN and ESPN’s social network, ESPN Fan Profiles. Cody worked with Technology, Editorial, Sales, Marketing and relevant business stakeholders to mold ESPN’s social media strategy, develop custom applications for it and execute it. Under his direction, ESPN successfully ported large portions of its core product from a proprietary Java stack to an open source Ruby on Rails stack, capable of standing up and performing under the tremendous load world's most popular sports site delivers. Cody began forging his technological knowledge more than 10 years ago, developing and designing websites in college. His development work has included web development, web design, content writing, digital photography and digital video production for award-winning sites like Gainesville.com, GatorSports.com and ESPN.com. He has helped set digital strategy and direction for companies in the New York Times Regional Newspaper group, ESPN, ABC and Disney. He is a recognized expert in web development, social media strategy, search engine optimization, conversion optimization, analytics tracking and business planning. He has worked with large interactive media companies to small and medium sized businesses. Cody motivates and inspires creative teams to deliver superb, polished work under tight deadlines.