Archives for May 2006

Do Optimized Press Releases Work?

My co-worker and public relations goddess Karen Sams has posted a nice list of press release optimization tactics over at Media Relations Blog. She covers:

  • Keywords
  • Headlines
  • Text links
  • Landing pages
  • RSS feeds

A question that often comes up when I talk to public and media relations professionals about optimizing press releases, is whether or not an “optimized” release can actually perform double duty as an effective communicication tool with journalists as well as search engines.

My response is that a really good writer can optimize a press release that does TRIPLE duty. What I mean by that is, a release can use keywords in the right places and frequency and form on a press release in a way that is engaging and effective for the journalists and bloggers that will receive them in their inbox or find them as they search for story ideas.

RSS Marketing Survey

If you are interested in RSS industry benchmark metrics, RSS marketing best practices and want to compare your RSS marketing results with those of your peers, then you will be interested in the 2006 RSS Marketing Survey being conducted by

Here’s the hype:

“Participate in the 2006 RSS Marketing Survey, conducted by and aiming to research the RSS marketing landscape, to receive a free copy of the full 2006 RSS Marketing Survey Report, bringing you top RSS marketing best practices and metrics to compare your RSS marketing practices with those of your peers, to improve your RSS marketing results.”

As a thank you for taking the survey, respondents will get a copy of the overview report with the most important metrics and best practices.

RSS Lesson for the Day

This week I learned a very important lesson with RSS. Particularly with FeedBurner. A reader of this blog requested that I expand the number of posts in our feed from the default 12 to A LOT more than that. I met him half way and that created a HUGE RSS file. I did this without consulting the people that I know who are far more technically adept at RSS than I (Thomas, Amanda, Rok). Shame on me. Why, you ask?

The day after I made this edit, our handy little blog here was mentioned in a Slashdot post resulting in a TON of visits. Not one new RSS subscriber came as a result. This was curious to me and then I received an email from a reader saying that our FeedBurner feed was showing an error. The feed was too big so no one could read or subscribe.

Catalog Conference Chicago

Next week is ACCM, the Annual Conference for Catalog, Internet and Multichannel Merchants at the enourmous McCormick Place in Chicago. I’ll be speaking on a panel called 15 Sizzling Hot Search Ideas for Merchants along with Lisa Papageras of What on Earth and Patricia Hursh from SmartSearch Marketing with moderation duties handled by Heather Lloyd-Martin of SuccessWorks.

As I am prone to do, my presentation will incorporate SEO into blog marketing and press release optimization as part of an overall ecommerce SEO program. This will be my first time speaking at ACCM so it should be fun. I know I’ll be looking forward to hitting at least one Chicago steak house with my RSS guru pal from accross the pond, Rok Hrastnik. Maybe Gibson’s, Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris.
Last time I was in Chicago for SES in December, Andy Atkins-Kruger and I hit up Gene and Georgetti’s (classic) and Harry Caray’s (so so). If you have suggestions for some great Chicago steak houses, leave a comment.

BOTW Cinco de Mayo Promo

It looks like the good people over at Best of the Web are celebrating two years of doing monthly promotions by having a “Cinco de Mayo” promo during the month of May. The object of desire is a 10% discount on the directory submission cost, AND an entry into their contest to win an Applie iMac Powerbook:

Am not sure about you, but a 17″ Mac Book Pro would look mighty handy on the desk, on the couch, the deck – where ever your computing takes you. More info at the BOTW blog. If nothing else, getting into a quality directory like at a discount is worthwhile all on it’s own. FYI, they also have a blog directory.

Sphere Blog Search Engine Goes Live

I signed up for a Sphere beta account late last year. I played with it a bit and like many “Web 2.0” apps, found it interesting, still in development and then I moved on. However, Andy Beal recently made a post about Sphere, so I checked it out again.

Today, Sphere V1.5 has been released and is publicly available. What’s new in this version:

  • custom range histogram;
  • sphere it bookmarklet that makes it easy to find blog posts that relate to what you’re reading on the Web;
  • top queries this hour/ this week;
  • RSS for search results;
  • community feedback buttons throughout the site;
  • expanded related media verticals including podcasts (Yahoo! API), books (Amazon API), and photos (CNET Webshots API);

Blogging Policy and Ethics

Over the past 2 1/2 years the readership of this blog has grown tremendously though networking within the industry, great search rankings, RSS and email subscribers and syndication. But in that time I’ve never established a blogging policy or standard per se. Now is as good as ever.

A while back Barry from Search Engine Roundtable posted his code of ethics and I’d like to use that as a basis for mine. Why re-invent the wheel, right?

The major item I want to clarify is about is privacy in communications I have with people in person, via email or IM. In the past year I’ve been able to meet some amazing people at conferences and industry events. What really got me thinking about this was when I blogged some comments from a conversation I had with Matt Cutts at the Boston WebmasterWorld Pubcon conference. In that conversation I had not mentioned to Matt that I might mention his comments in a blog post. He later asked to clarify, which I did via a mini-interview.