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  1. The Secrets of News Search Engine Optimization Greg Jarboe President of SEO-PR Nov. 6, 2008

  2. In 2003, we started optimizing press releases for Google News Source: Google News, Sept. 15, 2003

  3. In 2004, we started optimizing press releases for Yahoo! News Source: Yahoo! News, Oct. 26, 2004

  4. In 2005, Southwest Airlines and we won award for linking PR and sales Source: Institute for Public Relations, October 2005

  5. Today, I’ll share the six secrets of news search engine optimization • “I keep six honest serving-men • (They taught me all I knew); • Their names are What and Why and When • And How and Where and Who.” Source: Epigraph to “The Elephant's Child” by Rudyard Kipling

  6. Optimizing press releases for news search engines tackles 6 questions • Who uses Yahoo! News, AOL News and Google News? • What search terms are people likely to use? • Where do you incorporate these terms in your press releases? • When do you add links? • Why must you use press release distribution services? • How do you measure the results of your campaign?

  7. Millions of Americans use Yahoo! News, AOL News or Google News Source: Nielsen Online, September 2008

  8. Fewer people use Google News, but they conduct more searches Source: comScore, August 2005

  9. 74% of journalists and bloggers use Google and/or blog search Source: PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey, March 31, 2008

  10. Search is top way journalists research companies and trends • 75% of journalists use Google and/or Yahoo searches as a way to research companies and trends, according to a survey of tech reporters • 66% of journalists rely on PR contacts for information Source: Fusion Public Relations, Sept. 10, 2007

  11. More knowledge workers read press releases than trade journals Source: InformationWeek, June 6, 2006

  12. Marketing and PR professionals differ on importance of audiences • In terms of target audiences for online press releases, significant differences emerged between marketing and public relations professionals • PR professionals were consistently more interested than marketing professionals in reaching traditional media • Marketing professionals were consistently more interested than PR practitioners in reaching new media or consumers directly Source: Society for New Communications Research, October 2008

  13. Conduct keyword research to find the terms people are likely to use • Think about the words users would type to find your pages • Brainstorm keyword categories that address your customer’s wants • Compile the brainstormed keywords for further review of traffic potential, competition, and other factors Source: Elliance, Search Engine Land, Oct. 23, 2007

  14. Conduct your keyword research using one or more of these tools • Google AdWords keyword tool • • Google Suggest • • Google Trends • • Microsoft’s adCenter Labs keyword forecast • • Trellian’s free search term suggestion tool • • Wordtracker’s free keyword suggestion tool •

  15. Use Google AdWords keyword tool to find approximate search volume Source: Google AdWords keyword tool, Oct. 30, 2008

  16. Use Google Suggest to find relevant search terms in real time Source: Google Suggest, Oct. 30, 2008

  17. Use Google Trends to see variation in Google and Google News Source: Google Trends, Oct. 30, 2008

  18. Keyword research involves more than looking up search frequencies • Average search term is 2 or 3 words long, so use 2-word and 3-word phrases • Use “Russian nesting dolls” • e.g. “online press release” contains “press release” • Build each press release around the top 2 or 3 phrases that you would like it to be found for • Company or description • Product or category • News or benefit Source: Elliance, Search Engine Land, Nov. 6, 2007

  19. Incorporate search terms into your headline and lead paragraph • News search engines scan the headline and at least the first 100 words of news articles • So, make sure your press release actually includes your target terms – particularly in the headline and first few sentences Source: The New York Times, April 9, 2006

  20. Optimized press release ranked #1, Consumer Reports story ranked #4 Source: Google News, Sept. 14, 2005

  21. Herb Kelleher went nuts when he saw cheap in his press release Source: Southwest Airlines, Jan. 30, 2004

  22. We had to violate AP Style in order to optimize Monitor’s press release Source: The Christian Science Monitor, August 11, 2006

  23. Parents magazine editor offered picture taking tips instead of news Source: PRWeb, May 28, 2008

  24. We optimized release for flowers instead of sex Source: Verizon, Feb. 5, 2005

  25. Add links intended to help people find interesting, related content • The unique tracking link in this Southwest Airlines press release offered a complete list of fares • It took people to a unique landing page, enabling Southwest to track over $80,000 in ticket sales back to this optimized release Source: The Measurement Standard, April 6, 2004

  26. Second link in some press releases got more clicks than the other links Source: log files

  27. Head of Google’s Webspam team says main benefit is links in articles • “I’m not against doing press releases; press releases can be a useful part of getting traffic and building a brand. • “For ranking in Google, however, the main benefit of a press release is not direct links or PageRank from the press release directly; it’s primarily the people who decide to write an article and link because of that.” Source: Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google and SEO, Dec. 11, 2005

  28. Buzzing blogger community can be excellent place to generate interest • “The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community.” • “Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the buzzing blogger community can be an excellent place to generate interest.” Sources: Technorati: State of the Blogosphere 2008, and Google Webmaster Help Center

  29. Before using linkbaiting techniques, read Matt’s SEO advice on linkbait • I think of “linkbait” as something interesting enough to catch people’s attention, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing • Especially if it’s interesting information or fun, it doesn’t have to have negative connotations • Content can be both white-hat and yet still be wonderful “bait” for links Source: Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google and SEO, Jan. 24, 2006

  30. “Looks like the optimized release got some great pick up!” • Optimized press release: 1 • News stories: 11 • Target bloggers: 80 • Blog posts: 190 • Inbound links: 202 • Downloads: 2,719 • Mention in Jay Leno’s monologue: Priceless Sources: Harlequin, June 12, 2007

  31. Ensure your press release will be “crawled” by news search engines • News search engines don’t crawl your online press room • They aggregate thousands of news sources, including the major press release distribution services • Yahoo! News and AOL News are especially picky

  32. Business Wire offers EON: Enhanced Online News

  33. GlobeNewswire (PrimeNewswire) offers SEO Wire Release

  34. Marketwire offers Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  35. PR Newswire offers Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  36. PRWeb offers SEO Visibility

  37. Measure results of PR campaign just like search engine marketing • 61% to increase, enhance brand awareness • 58% to sell products, services or content online • 43% to drive traffic to your website • 20% to generate leads for your sales force • 20% to generate leads for your dealer network Source: SEMPO, February 2008

  38. Google study found a 16% lift in brand association for top rankings Source: Enquiro Search Solutions, July 2007

  39. 4 optimized press releases linked to $2.5 million in Southwest sales Source: Southwest Airlines, July 15, 2004

  40. Publicity drove 450,000 visitors to Christian Science Monitor website • Within first 24 hours after series went live, more than 450,000 unique visitors flooded, 7 times its daily average in July • Page views for the first day broke through the 1 million mark, a massive increase from the site’s July average of 121,247 page views per day Source: WebSideStory, Aug. 13-28, 2006

  41. PR campaign generated 88,296 entries to Parents’ photo contest Source:, Oct. 21, 2008

  42. 1.3 million searches for “florists” prompted by SuperPages release • Searches for “plumber” • 8,485 Feb. 6-14, 2004 • 13,730 Feb. 6-14, 2005 • Up 62% • This was used as site traffic growth benchmark • Searches for “florists” • 342,478 Feb. 6-14, 2004 • 1,841,272 Feb. 6-14, 2005 • Up 438% • Delta of 1,286,459 over site traffic growth benchmark Source: Verizon, February 25, 2005

  43. These six secrets of SEO represent a paradigm shift in public relations • As Columbus discovered, training the crews of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria how to sail west was a relatively straightforward task • The real challenge was convincing Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand that they wouldn’t fall of the edge of the world Source: WebProNews, Jan. 7, 2004

  44. Harold Lasswell created classic model of communications in 1948 Who says what in which channel to whom with what effect?

  45. Less than half as many reporters now cover Philadelphia as in 1990 • The number of newspaper reporters has fallen from 500 to 220. • The local TV stations, with the exception of Fox, have cut back on traditional news coverage. • The five AM radio stations that used to cover news have been reduced to two. Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism, May 8, 2006

  46. News search engines reverse classic model of communications Who seeks what in which channel from whom with what effect?

  47. No online press release will ever replace the art of the schmooze • Bennett & Company found that 62% of journalists now obtain less than 10% of their content from PR firms • But 38% of journalists said the number one reason they open their email is because they know the sender Source: Bennett & Company, Oct. 17, 2007

  48. A public relations veteran can be a press release optimization expert • “For a good part of the 20th century, every part of the marketing mix was in a different silo.... • “To the extent that you can get the PR people interacting with the search people, they will discover that there are lots of things they can do together.” Source: Michael Miller interview with Greg Jarboe, SEO-PR