Last week Tom Formeski penned a column on ZDNet.com lamenting the dearth of links in press releases. He’s right to complain – a scant minority of press releases issued over PR Newswire contain anchor text – those links from words on a page that take the reader directly to a related page. In fact, when I went searching on PR Newswire’s web site for examples of press releases with good use of anchor text (heck, ANY use of anchor text) I had to click through release after release after release. I eventually found two.
Which is a real pity, because anchor text links are a great way to deliver more information to your reader, and provide a handy way to give people who are interested in learning more a path to follow,. (Marketers call this a “call to action.”) The traffic to your web site generated by anchor text in press releases is also easy to measure, and is directly attributable to your PR program.
If you use PR Newswire to issue your press releases, you can include anchor text at no charge. Some other newswire vendors will also render your embedded links at no additional cost. If you issue press releases, you absolutely should include anchor text links in the release.
How to embed links in your press release – step by step instructions:
Anchor text best practices:
- Link from specific keywords, preferably the single most important term for which you’re optimizing your press release. [Note: I'm using the term “keyword” in the SEO sense, which refers to the target search term people use when searching for information related to your topics on search engines. Those terms may be a single word, or they may be a short two-or three-word phrase. ] Don’t waste anchor text links on words like “more information,” “contact us,” or “click here.”
- Use links strategically to provide readers with more in-depth information by linking to pages on your web site that are specifically relevant to the keyword (and, hopefully, the central theme of the press release.) In addition to providing a path to further engage readers, you can also use this strategy to provide additional detail to augment the press release.
- Headline, lead and link: To get the maximum SEO benefit, follow this simple formula. Make sure you have your most important keyword in the headline. Repeat that keyword in the lead sentence, and draw your link from that appearance of the keyword.
- Less is more. Don’t pepper your press release with links, and don’t link to obvious words – linking from the company name to the homepage, for example, really doesn’t benefit anyone. The average press release should only have one or two links within it.
- Don’t link to the same URL over and over. Each anchor text link should go to a different web page.
- And don’t link to your homepage. Instead, link to pages deep within your web site that are highly relevant to the press release (and keywords in the anchor text link.)
When you send out a press release over PR Newswire, we distribute it to a broad network of thousands of web sites. Many of those sites will display the links you embed in your release, driving qualified traffic to your web site. Resolve to use anchor text in your press releases! It’s fast, easy, free (at least when you use PR Newswire) and is a great way to increase the visibility for your message.
Authored by Sarah Skerik, vice president, social media.