Any good search engine optimization strategy should start with the website itself but then build outward from there. Other posts on this blog have highlighted the importance of building links between your site and online directories, social media platforms, and so on. This post takes a look at another tool of search engine optimization that many site owners overlook even after they’ve built an online network that broadens the reach of their site.

This may not be obvious because press releases pre-date digital marketing by a long while, but those sorts of articles may also be an important aspect of your search engine optimization strategy. This is true if you’re entirely new to the subject, and it’s true if press releases are already part of your traditional marketing but you haven’t yet adapted them for the web.

Fortunately, that adaptation should be a simple process. It’s just a matter of filtering your press releases through the lens you usually apply to your online content. But this is not to say that your press releases should become a carbon copy of your blog posts, or anything else that is posted directly to your site.

There are multiple reasons why you should maintain this distinction while also trying to apply the same principles of search engine optimization to both types of content. For one thing, a press release and a blog post simply serve different purposes, and this should be reflected in your choice of keywords and how you apply those keywords. Also, the method of distribution differs for each type of content, and you have to keep that in mind when you’re creating it.

There’s also the simple matter that a blog post appears on your website while a press release doesn’t (although you may include a copy of it on a page that features your business’s appearances in other media). It’s probably best to avoid using the same keywords in your on-site and off-site search engine optimization strategies, because this could essentially result in you competing against yourself.

Fortunately, the differences in purpose and distribution should make it easy for you to keep some separation between keywords while also making all of them contribute positively to your overall marketing. In order to do so, you or your SEO company need to put yourselves in the shoes of people who are searching for the content on your site, and also in the shoes of people who are searching for separate information that will probably lead them to your site.

The latter group is the group that you want to capture with search engine optimization that’s specifically oriented toward press releases. In those cases, it might be more difficult for you to anticipate where you’re going to find the right audience. This will be determined in large part by the placement of your release, which may be determined by human editors when you submit the article directly to known outlets, but will also be determined by algorithms when the release is distributed through aggregators like Google News.

This goes to show that just like when you’re generating content for your own site, you need to try your best to appeal to both human sensibilities and algorithmic data points when creating a press release. The details of that dual appeal will be different in each case, though. And it may take a good deal of trial-and-error, or a lot of discussion with contractors specializing in search engine optimization, to determine what gets your press releases the best foothold on third-party news sites, versus what raises your own site up on a search engine results page.