Studies show 95 percent of search-driven traffic comes from the first page of results. If you’re not listed, you’re missing a major opportunity to attract new customers, generate revenue and edge out the competition. If that’s not incentive enough for spending a little more time to search optimize and make sure that all of your news releases rank as high as possible, I don’t know what is! With a little help from our friends at Marketwired, we bring to you four “musts” to maximize press release SEO.

Pick the right one topic to publicize – Are you telling a product, market, company or event story? Make sure your release has the proper focus and is immediately clear to the reader.

Hitch your story on one keyword phrase – Make sure it’s a) specific and relevant to your users, b) a search phrase they already use to find your website and c) related to the content of the press release.

Work the chosen phrase and close variations throughout – Make sure your point is featured in the headline, first paragraph and final sentence as well as in multimedia elements.

Link, but not too much – Google considers too many keyword links to be a violation of its guidelines and may penalize you. Instead, use between 3 and 5 navigational keywords such as company website or product page. If you could pick one call to action, what would it be? That’s what you should be linking.

Google also recommends that all anchor links include a ‘nofollow’ flag – Marketwired automatically adds this to all press release links to comply with this best practice.

Start by working these elements into your first draft. But because many hands can touch the release throughout the approval process, you’ll need to do another check before it’s marked final. Good SEO execution will land your releases in the spotlight where more prospective customers will see them.