News search engines offer a great way to receive targeted traffic related to breaking topics or to help with a public relations launch. In this session, industry experts Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, Lisa Buyer, President & CEO of The Buyer Group and Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR look at how to make use of press releases and news content to tap into the power of news search.
Lisa kicked off our session explaining that optimized press releases are a vital part of any news SEO strategy.
The first step to defining the online PR opportunity is to define the media segment. With your online PR campaign are you targeting editors, journalists, analysts or the media?
Media relations does not just mean getting your story found in the search results, but rather helping journalists find their story online.
So, how are journalists searching for news?
- Reaching out to social networks including Linked in and Facebook
- Searching in Google and Yahoo news for sourcing
- Requesting an email including link to Press release on PRWeb
64% of journalists report they use Google or Yahoo news services to follow the news. While 70% report they check a blog list for news on a regular basis.
Strategies for news search:
- Distribute over regular distribution networks (PRWeb & Businesswire)
- Leverage newsforce.com for to get headlines in top tier publications
- Have a newsroom blog or web site newsroom
- Being first to market, best opportunity for news search results
Consider developing a 12 month press release editorial calendar, including keywords relevant to a national event to increase visibility.
A marriage made in heaven – PR & SEO influences:
- News search results for optimal SEO
- Optimized web content
- Social media
Some things to know about Public Relations & Search:
- Currently under the radar when it comes to influencing SEO
- SEO agency should be working in synergy with your PR agency
- 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 competition
- Integrate with PPC/SEM campaigns for best results
What’s cool about optimized press releases?
- Journalists find you and write about you
- People find you
- Online branding
- Lead generation?
Lee provided some best practices for optimizing news content to increase online visibility.
Most journalists have a beat and know the story, but they are searching online for sources and ways to populate that story. Increasingly, they are turning to social networks including Twitter and Facebook to find sources.
Most SEO efforts optimize for lead/sales generation, however news content is optimized for a different audience and outcome. Most journalists are looking for facts and trends, yet the outcome of both SEO and Online PR can be mutually beneficial.
News SEO Fundamentals:
- Focus on facts, research, and case studies
- Include keywords in news titles, navigation, content and hyperlinks
- Archive newsroom content and press releases by category (not just by date)
- Offer photos, video and demos
- Promote content and attract links
- Monitor social and web analytics
What news content should you be optimizing?
- Press releases
- Online newsrooms
- Corporate blogs
- Reports / white papers
- Email newsletters
- Podcasts, internet radio shows
- Interviews (coach interviewee on keywords)
Digital Asset Optimization (DAO) is a holistic approach to optimization, taking SEO to the next level. DAO is the practice of taking inventory of all available news content, optimizing it based on relevant keywords, and then promoting it to distinct online marketing channels.
Yes, optimization is important, however, Lee stressed the need to never stop acquiring inbound links.
Inbound links can come from:
- Pickups on blogs
- Syndication (RSS)
- Online newsroom
- Blog post
- Social bookmarks
Bottom line: Package news that will travel
Newsroom optimization best practices:
- Create an optimized template
- Include title tags
- Keyword rich categories
- Keyword rich anchor tags
Press release optimization best practices:
- Think upward and to the left
- Optimize for people first, search engines next
- Use keywords in title, subheading, and body of the release
- Don’t obsess over keyword density
- A 500 word release should include the keyword 2 to 4 times
- Use keywords when linking back to the company web site
- Add media: images, podcast, video, pdf/word doc
Press release SEO analytics to measure success:
- picks ups (traditional & bloggers)
- inbound links
- Google & Yahoo news inclusion
- Social bookmarks
- Keyword ranking for press release
- Keyword ranking for target web page
- Traffic to web site
- Conversions: media inquiries
Lee provided a few parting thoughts to optimize online campaigns, including:
- Journalists increasingly rely on search for news sources
- If it can be searched, it can be optimized
- Focus news SEO for the media more than sales
Greg shared a case study on press release optimization, in which the campaign was designed to address the challenge: How do you optimize for ‘not’ news when the initial campaign launch failed?
If your campaign is newsworthy, but was ignored by both the press and the bloggers, what’s next?
The answer: combine a push / pull strategy to get your message out there:
- Push: through blogger outreach
- Pull: with optimized press releases
A multi-phased launch approach can help you determine what works in the first phase and then amplify that approach in the second phase.
In a multi-phase campaign launch:
- Outline the content for each phase
- Leverage keywords appropriately for that content
- Include images to increase results
In conducting blog outreach, Greg stressed the importance of being transparent of who you are as well as the need to provide useful, ‘insider’ information for blog readers.
Extending the campaign to include blog outreach can increase online coverage and the number of credible inbound links to a web site.
- Focus on creating useful information, and rich content using keywords
- The more useful content you have, the greater the chance it will get picked up
- Creating good content pays off and can increase editorial (authoritative) inbound links
How are you incorporating SEO into your newsroom, and online PR campaigns?