Tambourine Best Practices: How to Optimize a Press Release for Greater SEO Value

February 6, 2013

Press Release Optimization Best Practices by Shannon Defries

Press releases, especially when distributed electronically, can be one of the best vehicles for organic SEO improvement to date. One optimized release distributed to the right newswires, through channels such as blogs and content syndication, can trickle out through the media at a far greater pace then endless link submissions or fluff blog entries. In addition to that, the content itself holds greater value because it is relevant and current.

Many PR professionals have debated about the “death of the press release” since social media has come around but this does not diminish the usefulness of the press release as a SEO tool or as information distribution. Sadly, however, some PR professionals remain behind the times and don’t keep current on optimization practices.

Below are some bullet points of best practices when optimizing your press release and things to avoid…


  • Optimize for one key word phrase in your press release only.
  • Be sure to use the targeted key word phrase in your headline or summary.
  • Also try to use your URL in the title i.e. Tourism Board Offers New Airfare Promotions on VacationsStMaarten.com
  • Use variations of the term within the body copy such as Going on a Vacation in St. Maarten, St. Maarten Vacations, or Vacation in St. Maarten
  • Use embedded anchored text links: i.e. Link text  Example: If you want the key phrase St. Maarten Tourism Board to be an anchored text link within your press release and you want it to link to the home page of the site it will look like this: St. Maarten Tourism Board (this only works in HTML format, not in word, so please be careful prior to releasing in Word or PDF format. For a more in depth tutorial, visit http://www.w3schools.com/HTML/html_links.asp
  • Include an anchored text link in the resource box of the release i.e. About St. Maarten at the very bottom of your release.
  • Prepare a version of your press release that is 130 characters or less for Social Media Distribution (twitter allows 140, but you need to leave room for others to Retweet).
  • If you include an HTML link and are not permitted to use an href – like in a sentence: For more information visit Stmaarten.com or www. StMaarten.com use the FULL ADDRESS so that the link will work. http://www.vacationsstmaarten.com
  • Read the submission guidelines for any site you submit to Very Carefully – preview and test. If it is email submission, bold your href link so that the person posting the release will notice.
  • Always test preview your release and test your links


  • Dilute your key words by using the anchored text links more frequently than every 100 words unless absolutely necessary (most newswires only let you use text links once or twice anyway)
  • Publish a release that is still showing the HTML code unless the site confirms that the links will be in working order once published
  • Use more than one key phrase per release for your text links