Many law firms and lawyers invest substantial time and money optimizing their websites for the search engines. Their goal is to achieve a high ranking for the website in the free search results on Google and other search engines for various keywords or phrases. However, in the pursuit of a high ranking on Google many firms and attorneys overlook a highly effective tool for improving their site's ranking - the online press release.
The key here is to understand that the number of inbound links back to your website is one of the most important criteria by which Google and other search engines rank your website.
Given the importance of inbound links, online press releases can contribute to the search engine visibility of a website in two key ways. First, when you distribute a press release through an online press release service such as PR Web, you can hyperlink various keywords within the release back to relevant pages on your website (such as a landing page with a white paper offer). When the press release gets published to the Web, these links will be counted as inbound links back to your website.
Additionally, if you've optimized the release with appropriate keywords, and the release has been picked up by Google News, journalists, bloggers, and other individuals searching for news using those keywords will find your release and may visit your website via one of the links included in your release. If these visitors like your content, they may also link back to your site, which will further add to your inbound links. Finally, you may actually get some press coverage on a news site.
Aside from SEO, online press release distribution can also build traffic from search engines such as Google News that index the release. In turn, that traffic can generate leads if the pages you link to from your press release offer some kind of free resource such as a white paper. For example, in a case study published on MarketingSherpa, one company that distributed a press release online announcing the release of a white paper reported that within one week of publication, the release enjoyed a top 5 ranking on several search engines for keywords used in the release, while 58 prospects had downloaded the white paper promoted in the release.
The steps for creating and distributing an effective online press release are simple:
1. Identify a newsworthy announcement. This could be as simple as announcing the release of a new white paper on a subject of interest to the firm's clients
2. Identify appropriate keywords to highlight in the release.
3. Write an optimized press release incorporating your most important keywords. However, don't just stuff these keywords into your release. Copywriting can't go out the window. Instead, make sure that even after incorporating your important keywords, the press release remains a compelling read. Also, avoid using your keywords too frequently within the release; that might be considered spam by the search engines. Instead limit "density" of single keywords to 3-5 mentions, and critical keyphrases to 1-2 mentions.
4. Identify pages on your website relevant to the release and hyperlink to these pages from the release (e.g., a landing page offering the white paper).
6. Track traffic on the hyperlinked pages with a tool like Google Analytics and downloads of any free resources offered on those pages. For an additional cost, services such as PR Web will provide access to stats showing the number of page views of your release and clicks on the links in your press release.