Tag Archives: Search Engine Optimization

8 Ways to Leverage Search in Press Releases

search_engine_publis_relationsIt should come as no surprise that with the transition towards a digital distribution model for news delivery, the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has only grown. It simply must play a role in any digital public relations campaign. This is hardly a revolutionary thought. What makes this task a challenge, however, is the fact that the factors behind how search engines work keep changing, and the fact that you just have to think a little differently when writing a press release. It is no longer reasonable to simply try and write the best announcement – you must think about SEO as part of the process.

Take Google’s latest Hummingbird algorithm update. Many public relations leverage keyword linking as part of their SEO strategy. Now, keyword relevance has declined in importance, at least according to searches performed in Google. What is more important now are search “phrases” as said in conversation. Google is now placing more relevance on conversation queries, and how they can be best addressed from within a search engine window (ideally from a mobile device). Here are a couple of good articles: FAQ: All About The New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm and How Google’s Hummingbird Update Impacts a PR Agency.

The take away is that you need to either invest the time to educate yourself on the latest trends impacting search engine optimization, or need to hire someone to do so.

Here are 8 other suggestions on how to best optimize your search engine placement, resulting in better awareness and exposure for your press releases that are issued as part of a public relations campaign:

  1. Be sure to pay the fee and publish your press releases through a news distribution service, such as Business Wire or Marketwire. The ones that offer a “linked” online presence is best. Your story will simply be viewed more times and seen as more relevant via Google, Yahoo and other news search engines.
  2. Use good content in your Press Releases, and publish a copy of the release on your website
  3. Offer a .pdf of your press release, optimized for SEO, on the same page to help maximize your online footprint; .pdf files are indexed just like an .html page
  4. Integrate this release page with other content that someone might want to read after finishing reading the press release, to further engage them on your topic
  5. Offer a registration page at some point during the process to then follow up with these visitors
  6. Write a complementary blog post on a similar topic, to then offer further content and support for those seeking to learn more about the news event you published
  7. Leverage any free PR distribution sites, especially if they offer HTML linked keyword submissions
  8. Broadcast the issuing of your press releases by the social media channels best for your audience so your followers get first notification, which will then also help your search engine rankings

 

As is typically the case with disruptive innovations, the scope of change is often wider than originally conceived at the point of inception. In a paper-based news world, the only distribution options were paid subscriptions and walk-up sales at newsstands. In a digital world, news is found in many different locations in different ways, which includes the searching of relevant topics by keywords. In this world, SEO plays an important, continuing role to ensure messages are heard in a timely manner, by the right audience. In fact, I would argue through a better distribution model that is more efficient than the world has ever seen.

 

Gordon Benzie is a marketing and public relations professional, and a business plan adviser, that specializes in preparing and executing business plans and marketing strategies. Gordon can be found on Google+ or at gbenzie@yahoo.com

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5 Ways to Shorten Copy

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

Blaise Pascal, (1623-1662) Lettres provincials

 

It would appear the challenge or writing concise communications has been with us for a long time.

Today, shorter copy is needed more than ever. Just look at the success of Twitter, the “ultimate” short copy communications platform. Messages are mostly limited to 140 characters per tweet, requiring a new mastery of short communications.

Upon reflection at my own writing, I probably could do better. So I came up with five reasons why my communications might be too long, to try and write with greater brevity.

 

  1. Too many examples – When presenting complex topics, the inclusion of examples to help explain a concept is sometimes necessary. If your objective is to teach, then providing more content may be right; in a business communication, perhaps it might better to offer a link or source for an example that already exists.
  2. Too long an introduction – Perhaps your topic or challenge being solved is complex, or there are different nuances to the business challenge, and you need to be sure to explain what variation you are solving, requiring a longer introduction. I can’t think of a shortcut here, other than trying to condense your topic down to a paragraph or less.
  3. Too many industry buzz words – This is tough when seeking to improve Search Engine Optimization. The more industry terms, the better your chance of showing up higher on Google. Links to other web pages might help address this challenge.
  4. Too many editors – This is a tough one. Often I have two or more stakeholders invested in my document with different points that must be included. More time to perform more edits is the solution, but, sometimes deadlines contradict this goal.
  5. Too worried about missing a key point – When tasked with writing an important document, such as a business plan, as they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Considerable care must be taken to be sure all relevant points are included. Keeping a prioritized list can help address this challenge; if a point has already been made, perhaps it doesn’t require duplication in a later section. Alternatively, future communications can be added to address omissions.

In the end, the path to shorter copy is to spend more time … time planning to identify the most concise wording, and time writing more efficiently using shorter phrases that are edited several times. In the end, your goal is to make a lasting impression – getting your content read and understood – which is simply easier with a shorter message.*

 

*Note the first version of this post exceeded 700 words; final version has 450.

 
Gordon Benzie is a marketing adviser and business plan writer that specializes in preparing and executing upon business plans and marketing strategies. Gordon can be found on Google+.

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Filed under Business Communications, Marketing Communications, Search Engine Optimization, Technology Marketing

Avoiding “Article Vomit”

Q: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?

A: No, if no one is there to hear it.

In the same way, you may have the greatest product or service, but if no one knows about it, then all your work has been for nothing (and your marketing prowess could be called into question). As a marketer today, you must incorporate the Internet in your marketing communications … which means you need to understand Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

As a concept, it isn’t hard to comprehend. Your prospects will typically go to an Internet browser when considering a product purchase, performing a search by keywords of what they seek. Some will already have an idea of what your product is called or what your industry terms are. Some will not, so will search by the challenge they face. It is up to you to know which is relevant, and then build search engine optimization into your marketing communications to match these search profiles.

Search Engine Marketing

Keep SEO a top of mind item when preparing marketing communications

The challenge is that you are competing for these words with often hundreds or even thousands of other sites, many that have dedicated staff working every day to improve their rankings. This is an onerous task to those just getting started. There is a first mover’s advantage. Those building their keywords and search phrases first tend to secure the top rankings and can defend them effectively. The best offense to a well placed competitor is to further refine your keywords to be more specific to a smaller sub segment of the market you are trying to reach. And, create a lot of new content.

There is another angle … game the system, known as “Black Hat SEO.” A recent approach has been to post a lot of content on different sites with links to your site, to help increase your ranking. This is against Google’s policy – it is artificially raising your rankings. JC Penny just got busted for it (read more here), and now their site has been black listed from Google. Just last week Google announced they are changing their search engine algorithms to put a stop to this type of behavior, penalizing sites that really are only comprised of “Article Vomit,” as Chris Knight, CEO of Spark-Net Corp coined, as stated in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

There is really no substitute for continuing to add new content. New information, commentary or announcements – especially with links coming from other websites – is a great way to demonstrate to Google, Yahoo!, Bing and the others that you are an authority in your field. This is one of the biggest reasons why blogs have become so popular. They are a great way to show frequent new content that is specifically tied to the needs of your target market.

So, next time you are writing a press release, web page or piece of collateral, think carefully about how your document might be found on the World Wide Web. What need you are serving and what problem are you helping to address? What words would be used in a keyword search on that topic? Then, go back and finish your piece. After all, if no one finds it or reads it, it might as well have not existed!

 
Gordon Benzie is a marketing adviser and business plan writer that specializes in preparing and executing upon business plans and marketing strategies. Gordon can be found on Google+.

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Filed under Marketing Communications, Search Engine Optimization, Technology Marketing, Uncategorized