Press releases over the past years have played an important role in improving search engine rankings. The game rules for press releases and copy in general have changed since the introduction of the Google Hummingbird update in 2013 (see my blog on how Hummingbird affects copy).

New press release game rules

Instead of focusing on keywords, provide content your readers seek. Try to figure out what the reader is searching for by putting yourself in your reader’s shoes. Then offer the information or content they’re looking for. Since smartphones are used more often when searching for answers, content has to address user or customer ‘intent’ and needs. According to Fred Godlash, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire, ‘Content in the release should be intuitive enough to answer the user intent in the query. Make sure to include quotes, which are useful for conveying everyday speech and for answering anticipated questions. Also make sure your targeted keywords are incorporated into a natural language flow.’ For instance, use ‘conversational, mobile-friendly speech’. He offers a good tip: link your company’s FAQ page in the boilerplate of your press release.

Use branded anchor text

Mickie Kennedy, Founder of eReleases, says using branded anchor text (the name of the company in a link such as Stars & Tulips)  or URL links (for example: See for more information) is far more effective than matching anchor text (this is text the user clicks on when following a link) in the link  to the target page’s exact keyword. Optimizing anchor text is no longer a good strategy and one Google might even penalize.

Think like a journalist

Content is king. Unique and valuable content is more important than ever, according to Mickey. ‘Your press releases need to be newsworthy.’ Think also in terms of answering ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why and How’ when anticipating questions. Add these answers to your FAQ list as well. You are now on the road to writing a better digital press release.


Image courtesy of Ryan McGuire, Bells Design ( An incredible source for free images.