SEO and News Releases


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News releases can be easily optimized to help companies meet their SEO goals. This presentation steps the reader through writing and distributing an optimized press release.

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SEO and News Releases

  1. 1. Search Engine Optimization for News Releases Schwartz Communications
  2. 2. <ul><li>Process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via “natural” or “organic” search results as opposed to paid inclusion. (Source: Wikipedia) </li></ul>What’s SEO? Your company here
  3. 3. <ul><li>They’re generating leads and/or selling through their websites </li></ul><ul><li>It’s one of three primary sources of website traffic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand recognition—people already know you and go straight to your site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links from search engines and other sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Improving SEO means getting found by audiences online </li></ul><ul><li>Less expensive than the marketing alternatives </li></ul>Why Do Businesses Care About SEO?
  4. 4. <ul><li>Things beyond PR’s direct control such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Website architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Age of the website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heavy use of technologies like Flash </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Plus, lots of things PR can affect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backlinks—Links from credible websites (e.g., news media, prominent blogs) to your own </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords and keyword phrases—Prominence and repeated use of terms people are searching on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeliness—Search engines favor fresh content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistency—SEO works only when pursued over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Releases let us pull together all of these elements </li></ul></ul>What Affects SEO Rankings?
  5. 5. Two Ways to Use News to Support SEO Writing Distribution links keywords
  6. 6. <ul><li>Terms or phrases your customers use to find information online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re what customers are looking for—in their own words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re often not your company or product name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must be some search volume on a term for SEO to work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Up to about 5 keywords or keyword phrases per release </li></ul><ul><li>How do you find them? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examine top-performing keywords in site analytics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider performance of your AdWords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check whether people who searched on certain terms spend longer on your website site—these terms may be more promising than others </li></ul></ul>Step 1: Pick Your Keywords
  7. 7. <ul><li>Google AdWords seems to be the most widely used tool </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There are lots of others available—search on “free keyword research tools” </li></ul><ul><li>Terms with lighter (but still significant) search volume are easier to impact, so choose your niche carefully. Don’t assume that the terms with the highest search volume are best for you. </li></ul>Don’t Know Your Keywords?
  8. 8. <ul><li>Most important keyword or phrase goes in the headline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Headlines are heavily weighted by search engines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subheads likely matter, but unclear how much; put one or two supporting keywords here </li></ul></ul><ul><li>May blow up “[Company] announced [thing]” approach and make you write about stuff your customers search on </li></ul><ul><li>Write short </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PR Newswire recommends 80 characters or fewer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BusinessWire suggests about 60 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google News Alerts display the first 60 or so characters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have to write long, put your keywords first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You want to trigger and have people click on Google Alerts, so make the keywords immediately apparent to readers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If using PR Web, think “clickable title” for syndication to blogs and websites via RSS </li></ul></ul>Step 2: Put A Keyword In the Headline
  9. 9. <ul><li>Put more keywords in the first few sentences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beginning of the release is more likely to be read than the end </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep working your keywords and keyword phrases into the body of the release </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This shouldn’t supplant good writing or otherwise warp your style </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use quotes, particularly if you’re distributing via BusinessWire (the wire’s EON service relies on them to keep material fresh in Google’s eyes) </li></ul><ul><li>Check your work for proper use of keywords </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PR Newswire ( ) lets you make sure you’ve got the proper keyword density—this is free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add or remove keywords as you draft, before release has been through approval cycles </li></ul></ul>Step 3: Write the Body of the Release
  10. 10. <ul><li>Link to your website, blog, YouTube channel—something you “own” </li></ul><ul><li>Rule of thumb: 1 link for every 100 words </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t go overboard or search engines will ID your release as spam and may not index it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t add links to the headline or subhead </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They don’t carry through well in syndication to other sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do add a link in the first sentence to the company’s name and the name of a product or service if applicable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is largely for the convenience of readers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The higher up the link, the more likely it is to be clicked on </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make sure your logo on BusinessWire, PR Newswire or other service is clickable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Go into their online systems used for loading press releases for distribution and ensure that a URL is associated with your logo </li></ul></ul>Step 4: Add Hyperlinks
  11. 11. Three Ways to Use Hyperlinks Anyone searching on “Digium” will get to the company’s website anyway, but here’s the link for convenience Anchor text—the link to the website is associated with words that someone who doesn’t know Digium may type into a search Full URL, including http://, for websites that don’t support anchor text
  12. 12. Make Smart Use of Links <ul><li>Link to terms that people really search on, not just your company name and product names </li></ul><ul><li>Link deeper than the home page at least once </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Second- or third-level pages that contain the keyword or keyword phrase/s that you care about are better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you can’t find such a page, consider creating one </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If it’s not too distracting as you read, consider adding full URLs alongside anchor text </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g., AsteriskExchange ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is most practical in the body of the release, past the first paragraph, which readers should be able to skim </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many sites that syndicate news still don’t support embedded links </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vary the words you use as anchor text </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g., “VoIP,” “voice over IP phones” and “business phone systems” may all link to the same page on your site </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Step 5: Make a Call on Formatting <ul><li>No clear agreement on the value of using bold, italics, bullets, etc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PR Newswire and BusinessWire advise to use them judiciously, but do recommend bolding keywords, for example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HubSpot believes too much formatting causes Google to toss releases out </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HubSpot also notes that many websites that take syndicated news releases have trouble with formatting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Finish up by checking your work again </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Step 6: Choose a Distribution Method <ul><li>Free </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many sites claim to boost SEO rankings substantially </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They often require that you mess with HTML </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>,,,, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not free </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BusinessWire, PR Newswire, MarketWire, PR Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All constantly evolving their platforms to improve SEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndicate to websites large and small </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BusinessWire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EON now mandatory to hit Google Web and Google News </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PR Newswire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>URL in page title, geographies noted to support local searches </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both encourage use of multimedia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social media releases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t replace traditional—goal is to stimulate conversation </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Be Clear on Your Goal <ul><li>Regardless of the distribution service you choose, remember that the goal of SEO is to bring visitors to the website, multimedia/social media newsroom or blog </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Include links to appealing content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link numerous times to your own website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make your own choice about the value of pushing as much content out online (via a wire service’s multimedia offerings) versus giving readers a bit of info and trying to draw them to your site for more </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If your goal is getting the content in front of as many people as possible, it may be worth the extra money to pay for multimedia press release distribution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If your top goal is bringing people to your website, house key content there and only there (i.e., not on the wire service’s website) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. In Sum <ul><li>Understand and use keywords and keyword phrases </li></ul><ul><li>Add hyperlinks (including http://) </li></ul><ul><li>Know that consistency and patience are required for success </li></ul><ul><li>Good Reading </li></ul><ul><li> , @gregjarboe </li></ul><ul><li>PR Newswire, Michael Pranikoff, @mpranikoff </li></ul><ul><li>BusinessWire, @MalcolmAtherton </li></ul><ul><li>Lee Odden, @TopRank, </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Watch, </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Journal, </li></ul>
  17. 17. Thank You Headquarters Prospect Place 230 Third Avenue Waltham, MA 02451 781.684.0770 P 781.684.6500 F San Francisco Office 595 Market Street Suite 2000 San Francisco, CA 94105 415.512.0770 P 415.882.5787 F Stockholm Office Blasieholmsgatan 5 111 48 Stockholm Sweden +46 8 599 085 00 P +46 8 599 085 01 F London Office 2 Sheen Rd Richmond Surrey TW9 1AE United Kingdom +44 (0)20 8973 2630 P +44 (0) 20 8973 2631 F