Optimizing for news search

News search engines have grown in popularity over the last few years. This session covered how to make the most of press releases and news content to tap into the power of news search.

Moderator:
Dana Todd, CMO, Newsforce

Speakers:
Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR
Lisa Buyer, President & CEO, The Buyer Group

Lisa:

Some background on the press industry. Journalists are lucky to have a job and will now most likely work for more than one publication.

  • 64% use google or yahoo to follow news
  • 85% visit a corporate blog once a month

In addition, journalists use LinkedIn and Facebook to find sources. Lisa gives the example of a journalist who uses Google News to find the top 20 technology stories and build a digest. It is also common for journalists to use Google alerts to keep up on subject updates.

Lisa made the point that often press releases are written using too much jargon and industry-specific language. The AP Style Guide (used frequently by journalists) recommends using 7/8 Grade English level. The advice here is to use this in press releases.

If you need help optimizing releases, there are a number of tools available, including:

It is important if you use agencies, that your SEO and PR agencies should work together around strategy and operations.

Remember to think about lead generation as well when it comes to measuring the value of PR.

Multimedia content
Adding multimedia content to releases can really help boost visibility. For instance, YouTube clips can be embedded in PRWeb releases.

Images are always useful, as journalists (especially trade journalists) are always looking for images. Don’t forget to think of graphs if you are stuck for good quality images.

Lee:

Beyond straight press release optimization, think of how you display your releases on your site. Often this is by date order which isn’t that meaningful for search engines. Think about ordering PR releases by category or even keyword.

You should consider optimizing the following:

  • Press releases
  • Online newsrooms
  • Corporate blogs
  • Whitepapers and other marketing collateral

You’ll often hear SEOs talk about keyword density but don’t obsess over this for press releases. Just try and include the core keywords at least 3-4 times.

Measurement
Measurement is key. Think about press release analytics and social media monitoring.

Greg:

Greg went through some examples and showed how adding an image to a PR release helped generate a thumbnail in Google News (which in turn led to greater visibility).

Blog outreach programs are useful to push a new idea. However, you should think of blogs like publishing houses – sell content that will appeal to their audiences. Don’t just pass on press releases.

When it comes to measurement, Quantcast is a good independent way to gauge traffic.

During the questions, Dana Todd cited this Website Magazine article which explains how your website can be included as a Google News publisher.

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