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1. Make it newsworthy:
-It will pay off in the long run if your press release is actually about something.
2. Make sure you keywords are in it:
-Placement is a different story. Use your keywords in the title if it works, or the opening paragraph. You can add additional keywords in the 'about us' section as well, but try not to stuff the entire article.
3. Choose the better newswires:
-There are some great free newswires that will give you ample exposure. Am I able to list them here? Not sure.
That's about it. My press releases are almost always guaranteed to show up in google news.. but they very in duration depending on the quality / relativity of the release.
You can add additional keywords in the 'about us' section as well...
No, you shouldn't do this. The "about us" section of a press release is only for the benefit of the news source using it - it is not part of the story itself and should be deleted before being made public. This part of the press release is effectively dead.
A couple of our specialist vertical market sites get picked up by Google News. The stories they're picking up are third party press releases I pick up from specialist news wires.
What I've found is that, from a publishers perspective, using an image with the story is very helpful in increasing the profile of that item within Google News - especially (as is usually the case with press releases) when other sources are sure to be using the story too.
If I'm going to be using the press release pretty much as it comes, then I make a point of rewrite headline and standfirst (the introductory paragraph), whilst ensuring keywords are profiled here, and this generally helps separate "my" story from the other versions of it in the results.
If a number of other key sources have also picked up on the same story, I find that "my" unique headline and standfirst are in the first two or three shown. Traffic via it is aided by the image and its link and the text link underneath it, so, instead of just having one clickable element showing - the headline - I get three links per story.
This increases the likelihood of people clicking on mine, rather than other version of the same news item.
It can be extremely difficult to be approved as a news source for Google news, and there are certain criteria that has to be met beforehand.
Have a search in these forums and you'll find a list of them.