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February 20, 2008

SES London 08: News Search Optimisation

By Li Evans

Dsc_3184 Ann Kennedy introduces the panel of Tim Gibbon, Greg Jarboe and Lee Odden for the News Search Optimization Session.

Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR:
Last year's SES London, he told you somethings about press release optimization.  Everything has since been turned upside down.  This is bigger than a bread box and impacts all of us.

On 2/1/08 queries for Microsoft Yahoo spiked.  Google's Hot trends will show you the top 100 trends over the last 24 hours.  This is where hot keywords can surface.  This is where "the fish" are.  Brand new term "microsoft yahoo", somewhere around 7 a.m. in the morning.  Something happened.

If you went to Google and typed in that new term, what comes up first, it's news results not the typical blue link.  Shows Microsoft has bid on Yahoo!  If you had scanned down the results, you find "blog posts" at the bottom of the page.  Those blogs listed there were not on MS's blog relations list.  But it was hard to find what triggered this, but the end was a press release and letter from MS, he had to work hard to find "Microsoft Yahoo".  But this story triggered over 10k stories.

Everything you knew a year ago is wrong.  Press Release optimization is a tactic in a long strategy.  But everyone is doing it now, you need to take it to the next level.  Where you want to take it next is into a new realm, new relations - blogger relations.  You can focus on media relation.  The news sources for Google don't include the usual suspects. Google news is important, in December 3 million in the UK.

Focus on BBC News, Google UK News, Times Online, Google, Reuters UK, Guardian Unlimited, Google UK Image Search, Press Association.  Press Association was not part of Google News until Aug of last year.  Their content is now hosted in Google News.

90% of journalist say that visuals are important to their stories.  41% surveyed visuals could dictate content.  A release e-mailed with a jpg or tif file has a much better chance of making it into our newspaper. 

In many industries, blogs have become the new trade press.  Blog post generated 30 times more visitors than identical news articles. Articles and posts referred 34.4 times more visitors than releases.  Google is filtering press releases, they don't appear in the results.  The art of schmooze has turned news search SEO upside down.  If you think beyond the press release there is a world of benefit.

NewsKnife.com can give you a listing of all the news sources used by Google.  News sources also seem to take the "hard leads" first.

Lee Odden of TopRank Blog:
Intersection of SEO and PR - Pull PR.  Push being outreach, this is turning the news optimization world upside down.  Pull PR - standard search, news search, blog search, media search. Pull PR = SEO.

Why Optimize News?  Make sure whoever your intended audience is it's easily available to them in the formats they prefer.  Ranking on search engines brings credibility not unlike media coverage.  PR tactics used to improve search rankings.  Optimizing press releases and newsrooms are good tactics.

64% of journalists report they use the either Google or Yahoo! news at least once a week.  85% visit at least once a month.  Optimizing news makes it easy for users (journalists to find).  You are creating a wider footprint on the web.

PR content to Optimize - new releases, op-eds, media kits, corporate PR content, blogs, white papers, reports, webinars and demos, email newsletters, interviews, podcasts.  Optimize both onsite and offsite content.  Onsite - press releases, etc.  Offsite - social media profiles.  Inventory your digital assets and identify the appropriate channels of promotion.  Start with the outcome in mind, do keyword research.  Publish on your version first on your site and link back to it using "originally posted at" or "source of release".

Dsc_3185 Tim Gibbon of Elemental  Communications:
More people are using search to find what they need.  We need to communicate and challenge the way we meet media and bloggers.

Services like aggregators, news wires, news sites, portals. Each site offers different services and reach different audiences.  Evaluate them - who are they, how credible are they, where will your news appear, how did other releases do on their site, who are they affiliated with?

Manage your content, take control of it, optimise it, build quality content on your site, manage it.  Submit to generic and niche resources and sustain your efforts.  Fundamental SEO tactics should be applied to press releases.

Tim then shows some successful PR initiatives with clients.  Do's and Don'ts... Do's - implement measurements before you begin, prepare variations of the release, time releases for off and online communications, reach out to vendors and ask questions.  Don't - overload press releases with key words and phrases, expect online PR and social media to be a silver bullet, ignore offline media.

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» SES London Day Two Recap from Search Engine Land: News About Search Engines & Search Marketing
Day two of SES London is now complete. Here is the coverage of the conference that I found through my daily travels of the world wide search web.... [Read More]

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