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Press Release Titles Matter, Part Two

The intersection of PR and SEO for B2B tech and healthcare companies is My Current Obsession. Naturally, then, I’m fascinated by how Google works. We all know it’s a Google world, right, but I care in particular about Google’s treatment of news releases and content generated by the media.

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I was interested, then, in last week’s BusinessWire post on "Why Your Release Might Not Make it Into Google News." Not often, but every now and again a client doesn’t find their release on Google News and they wonder what happened. Sometimes they ask us to "call Google and fix it." Tragically, we can’t do that, so it’s going to be easier to write the release in the first place to maximize its chances of getting picked up by Google News.

In the BusinessWire blog entry, Joseph Miller lists four reasons that releases may not be indexed by Google News: the release is too short (fewer than 125 words), too large (e.g., an earnings release with huge associated tables), appears to be fragmented into unrelated bullet points and, most important, the title is too long. Specifically, Mr. Miller says, a news release headline shouldn’t exceed 22 words.

Really long press release titles should be avoided because they’re clumsy, of course. Beyond that basic guideline, we’ve understood for some time the importance of prominently including keywords in press release headlines to improve SEO–they should appear toward the beginning of titles. It’s useful to also know now that verbose headlines not only don’t help SEO, they likely hurt it by causing releases to be tossed out by Google News altogether.

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Laura Kempke

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