Anchor Text: Build a Channel for Your Organization's Message

By Scott Huegerich, Product Communications Manager, PR Newswire

You've written an interesting and tightly-focused press release, and you need to convert online traffic into sales, bump up your organization's online profile and get your message seen. You know that PR Newswire's network of over 5,700 web sites affords you a massive boost in online visibility. However, just because people see your release in places like Yahoo!, AOL or Google doesn't mean you've closed the lead generation loop. You need to give interested readers somewhere to go for more information (and then monitor the traffic generated to your web site!).

First, include anchor text (embedded links) in your release. It's easy to do - just embed links in your Word document. If you've never done that before, here's how:

  • Highlight the word or phrase you wish to link in your document.
  • Click on "Insert" on your main toolbar, and then select "Hyperlink."
  • In the Address box, enter the URL to which you wish to link.
  • Click "OK." Your keyword/phrase will now be hyperlinked to the URL you entered.

Putting thought into the words that you link to in your release will help you get the most out of what links can offer. The fundamental rule communicators live by is going to lead you to success here: consider your audience. Use the language they use when talking about or searching for topics related to what you’re promoting. Doing so will increase your visibility in that audience's search results, as search engines exist to bring relevant results back to them. Some tips and overall best practices:

  • Put your most important keyword or phrase in the headline and lead sentence. Then, link that word or phrase (from the lead) to a highly-relevant page on your website (ie, a product-specific page). This is a user-friendly way to route readers to the exact page where they can find what they're looking for. Additionally, it creates a connection for search engines - by linking a keyword to a relevant page on your website, over time you can lift the placement of your message within search engine results.
  • When it comes to links and SEO, less is more. A good rule of thumb is to place no more than two anchor text links within the body of your press release.
  • If you have one or two links that are particularly important to your release, you should also spell out the full URL ("http://www..." and all) in the body of the release. Including the full URL ensures that readers still have a "next step" if they find your release on a web site that does not render anchor text links.

You've produced a great message and used links to pipe traffic into your website: now it's time to take some credit. On the day you send your message out (and the days immediately following), make sure to check your web site analytics for proof of the leads your release drove to your product or information page. PR Newswire Visibility Reports and ReleaseWatch Reports will show the visibility you've received on major websites.

Creating a focused message is a necessity online, and adding relevant links that channel back to your organization is key. Luckily, a little forethought goes a long way!

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