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SES 2008 – News Search SEO

  • By calcoastwebdesign
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  • 21 Aug 2008

Panelists:
Dana Todd, Newsforce
Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing
Greg Jarboe, SEO-PR
Lisa Buyer, The Buyer Group

First to the podium we had Lisa Byer. She started at SES as a journalist in the crowd, and now she’s one of the speakers 🙂

Optimized press releases are a vital component of effective search and marketing. If you’re not using this in your marketing toolbox, this you’re missing out!

The Online PR community consists of:
Editors, journalists, media, analysts

But it doesn’t stop there…
You have the people and the direct consumer news to consider too.

So let’s talk about appealing to those journalists. Where do they go to find the story?

  • anywhere! they work 24/7, they are always looking for a story, which means they frequently look online for this info!
  • 64% of journalists say they use Google or Yahoo to follow news
  • 70% reporters check a blog list on a regular basis
  • ¾ of reporters see blogs as helpful in bringing them story ideas

Some reporters Lisa interviewed said:

“I find my sources through Facebook, LinkedIn. “
“Email me the press releases with the link to PRweb.”
Google news is part of my sourcing”

Lisa reminded us (for the sake of the keyword and the sake of the customer) write for clarity – forget the jargon.

She also researched a little deeper into different styles of writing to see if behaviors changed.

Profile for real estate and technology journalist

  • Writes for major tech news site
  • Reports top 20 tech stories each week
  • Finds stories by searching Google news each day by technology related keyword phrases

Profile for a Lifestyle journalist

Writes for health and beauty publications

  • Uses Google alerts for “botox” and “natural hormone therapy” (Google alerts ROCK!)
  • Uses Google news search BEFORE visiting a corporate website or calling a PR contact
  • Puts out calls to sources on Facebook and Linkedin
  • What about the people, though?

    • Use Google alerts for interesting topics
    • They look for info on Google news
    • Remember to write AP style – literally on a seventh grade level

    How do you optimize your news content?

    Strategies & Such:
    Newsforce.com for guaranteed headlines with top tier publications – check out their eye study!!
    Newsroom blogs and web site newsroom
    Being first to market, its the best opportunity for news search results

    What about my News Search Results?
    There’s reporting through Newsforce – check it out!

    Case study: Suzanne Summers came across one of Lisa press releases online about hormone therapy, and the client was included in the book! Hmmm….I think Bill Koelzer did this for Debbie in Donald Trump’s book too.

    TIP: Create an editorial calendar and tie in your press releases with yearly events naturally. Schedule, schedule, schedule!!! Remember PR and SEO is a marriage made in heaven!

    The Current state of PR and search

    • Public Relations is under the radar when it comes to influencing SEO
    • SEO agencies should work in synergy with PR agencies. *This worked well the few times I’ve had the luxury of a PR person on the team, we really do compliment eachother*
    • PR brings boardroom content to SEO
    • PR professionals and agencies need to have expert working knowledge about SEO
    • Online public relations strategies give business a strategic advantage over the competition
    • PR & search work together

    DID YOU KNOW:
    9 out of 10 advertising respondents engage in organic SEO
    Yet there is a 10 to 1 ratio budget spent on PPC ?

    BACKWARDS, huh??? arrrrrrrrrrgh

    What’s cool about optimized press releases?

    1. SEO
    2. credibility
    3. perception
    4. vanity
    5. journalists find you and write about you
    6. people find you
    7. online branding
    8. lead generation…maybe??? But be careful. There is a time and place for this.

    More tips from Lisa: Read Groundswell and check out Toprankblog.com
    Email lbuyer@thebuyergroup.com for top 25 tips!!

    Lee Odden was up next, he mentioned how journalists are overridden with calls and emails from public relations interns. Many are looking to cut through the clutter and get to the real news. They use online sources:

    • Standard search
    • News
    • Blogs
    • Social (they’ll twitter to find people to interview)
    • Media

    Most SEO efforts optimize for lead sales generation. News content is different. Its optimized for a different audience and outcome. Its not to get a client, its to get an answer. Its to get facts, to get a trusted source, and a media relationship. Soooo, you need to write differently:

    • focus on facts, research, case studies
    • keywords in news doc titles, navigation content and links
    • Archive by category not just date (hello! Keywords!!)
    • Offer photos, video and demos
    • Promote content and attract links
    • Monitor social and web analytics

    What news should I optimize?

    • Press releases
    • Newsrooms
    • Corporate blogs
    • Reports / white paper
    • Email newsletters
    • Webinars
    • Podcasts and internet radio shows
    • Interviews…but remember to coach your interviewee on what keywords you want 🙂

    Make sure to match news to the right channel, and remember not to forget channels

    • Google, flickr, utube, technorati, you’ve seen the list…
    • Announcements
    • Press Releases
    • Images
    • Video
    • Blog / RSS
    • Media coverage
    • Social news / bookmark

    Check google trends and google insight for mainstream news. Keyword discovery also has trending – a feature which our Cal Coast clients get to enjoy 🙂

    Never stop acquiring inbound links, but try to put your release in your own newsroom because you can’t expect the PR services to keep it there forever.

    Reminder: Don’t submit a press release to Digg, its PR suicide. They hate formal stuff in Digg. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

    Press release optimization:

    • Think upward and to the left
    • Optimize for people first, search engines next
    • Use keywords in title, subheading, body
    • Don’t obsess over keyword density
    • In a 500 word release – use keyword phrase 2-4 times
    • Use keywords in links to company web site
    • Add media: images, podcast, video, pdf/word docs
    • Use a full URL, not just www (ESSENTIAL for when the release gets picked up!)

    If you name images relevantly on flickr, they very well may come up in Google images.

    How to guage your success:

    • Pickups – traditional and bloggers
    • Inbound links
    • Google and Yahoo news
    • Social bookmarks
    • Keyword ranking
    • Traffic to web site
    • Conversions and media inquiries

    A great feature to guage is the PR Web search graphs – Heidi do you have access to those?

    Finally we have Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR. He asked how many of us have optimized a press release already??? ¾ of the room has, now we will be able to do it better though!

    Greg has some turbo – charged secrets in the form of a case study. Parents magazine, launched a photo contest but they only got 4000 traditional respondants. Greg got pulled in 2 weeks after because nobody was entering their baby pics for the contest.

    Solution involved optimizing press releases and combining push and pull. Push was blogger outreach. Pull was the photos submitted!!! A campaign of press releases was devised and instead of just offering a contest, the releases offered tips for parents to take better photos of their kids. Well that’s a reason to care all of a sudden.

    The press release ranked #1, 26 days after it went out, AND, the thumbnail graphic was included because it was correctly optimized. Awesome.

    If you use multiple releases in a campaign you can see what the public responds to, and improve upon that.

    Turbo charge came through the blog outreach…200 mom blogs and family blogs were identified and given photo taking tips. Since the information was relevant to these blogs, and it was insider information from Parent’s mag, the bloggers responded and the good ol ripple effect hit 🙂

    This also generated 142 backlinks, and it tripled the website traffic to the site. Remember the 4000 original entries? Well, there was 85K photos entered by the end after the online campaign. AND, since everyone had to sign in to submit…. that’s 85K emails for Parents.com newsletter and future promotions.

    Lessons learned:

    Focus on creating useful, information rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context

  • The more useful content you have the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it
  • Creating good content pays off
  • Its Question Time:

    How many keywords should we use in Press Release tags? Follow your 8-10 words in title and about 25 or so in description – go off your normal website guidelines.

    Is it ok to add a photo to the press release that portrays a message if the product is boring? Yes, that’s fine. Also consider doing a live interview. Or a graph, a pie chart, some type of stats too. Also remember who its for. If its for the Trade press or B to B, sometimes the not sexy picture is just fine.

    What about volume or quantity of press releases? How much is too much? You do have people in the media world who don’t want to see you too many times in a week, but, there are more than just that audience now and if you have something important to say they are ready to hear it every time. Just make sure there is news and content in there.

    How do I become a referenced source on Google News? You need to use one of the major wire services. One like businesswire or PRweb. You can also apply to Google and Yahoo to become a news source, there was an article written last month in Website Magazine about it.

    When you do a press release through the services and it gets placement, are those links back to your website effective? Do they count? Not really on the wire service, but when it gets picked up by 3rd parties THAT’s what gives you value. And that’s why you need to remember the full URL!!!

    What about paying per article? SocialSpark is new pay per post place, check it out.

    What Metrics should I track and measure for my campaigns? Search referral traffic, if the release gets picked up, if bloggers pick it up, and website traffic. Sometimes blogs generate more traffic than traditional media so don’t forget about those! Also remember to compare the short term over a year.

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