SEO 101: Questions From Our Press Release Optimization Webinar

July 26, 2010


For this edition of SEO Tip Jar I culled some questions from last week’s webinar on Press Release SEO presented by Alison MacDonald, Raschanda Hall and  yours truly.  We’ve held this webinar a few times now, and some questions keep coming up.  In that vein, I thought I’d start a mini-series answering your basic press release SEO questions.  Here we go!

What does it mean to optimize your press release headline?

When you are talking about search engines and your press release, optimizing headlines means incorporating your most important keywords. Keywords being the words or phrases you’d like to rank well for in search engines. This is not a simple task, as your headline should also be compelling to your target audience and convey the content of the release.

Since search engines heavily factor page titles when determining rankings, optimizing the headline is the single most important task within press release optimization.

What is a deep link?

A deep link is a link, be it on a press release, blog post or webpage, to somewhere other than your company’s homepage.  For example, a link to Business Wire’s webinar archive rather than homepage. Typically, your homepage will receive the lion’s share of links and highest search ranking for broadly relevant terms, but it’s important to link to pages within your site to help unlock their ranking potential.  These pages often address specific audiences.

What and where is the title tag?

The Title tag is part of the HTML code that makes up a webpage.  Depending on the browser you are using, you’ll often see the Title in action on the top of your browser or tab window.  The title tag is also used when displaying webpages in search results.

Don’t fret.  You don’t need to know HTML to add a Title tag to your press release.  Your headline will become your press release’s title and is automatically inserted into the Title tag.

What does SERP stand for?

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page.  This is the page of results served up by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing when you search for something.  It is typically composed of both organic and paid search results, as illustrated below with an image from Google’s SEO guide (pdf).

What is rich text?

In the context of online press releases, rich text is copy within your press releases that is formatted with styling such as bold or italics.

How many words should comprise my press release headline?

There is no hard limit for the number of words in your headline, but if getting into Google News is a priority, you should make sure headlines contain fewer than 23 words to be within Google News’ guidelines.  In addition, Google SERPs often limit titles displayed to roughly 67 characters, so you should limit your headline  67 letters and spaces if at all possible.

That’s it for now.  Please let me know via comments, e-mail or Twitter if there’s any questions you’d like answered.


Business Wire Boston First Summer Mingle a Success!

July 22, 2010

This week Business Wire Boston hosted a summer mingle for members and friends at the Lobby Bar & Kitchen in downtown Boston.  The July 20th event drew a lively crowd of public relations, investor relations and marketing professionals from the New England area.

Take a look at some photos from the event:

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Local Business Wire offices host dozens of events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


28th Annual NAHJ Multimedia Convention and Career Expo in Denver: El Grito Across the Rockies

July 22, 2010

by Pilar Portela, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Florida

Business Wire’s West Coast Media Relations Specialists, Eric Thomas and Pilar Portela, were in attendance at this year’s 28th Annual National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) Multimedia Convention and Career Expo in Denver, June 23-26. More than 700 journalism professionals, a majority Latino, gathered across the Rockies to meet and hear from their peers.

Eric Thomas; Mariela Dabbah, author of "The Latino Advantage"; Rebecca Aguilar, founder, Wise Latinas Linked; Pilar Portela

This year’s title was “NAHJ En Denver: El Grito Across the Rockies.” For those of you that are unaware, the Spanish-language word “grito” means “shout” in English.

According to the association, it’s an apt title because there are distinct messages – gritos – it wanted to reverberate in all directions from the conference in Denver. The first message NAHJ wanted to make clear was that although 2008 and 2009 exacted a toll on groups such as NAHJ, their organization is still strong. Secondly, NAHJ remains committed to providing members with the training they need to thrive in spite of these tough economic times. NAHJ has long considered itself the voice for Latino journalists and for the kind of fair, accurate, balanced, nuanced and informed coverage that the industry needs.  At this moment, as an organization, NAHJ believes this role continues to be relevant and they will not falter in their stance as that voice citing events in Arizona that reaffirm this point.

The convention programming included media training sessions on topics such as Mining Your Beat, Multimedia Photojournalism and Web Publishing. There were also workshops on Convention Do’s and Don’ts, Twitter 101 and Marketing Yourself in a Multimedia World, just to name a few. As the voices behind Business Wire’s Twitter account @BWLatinoWire, Eric and Pilar tweeted some of their convention experiences.

Michele Salcedo and Eric Thomas

Michel Salcedo, Editor, The Associated Press; Eric Thomas, Business Wire

One of the most anticipated events of the convention was The Newsmaker Luncheon on Friday afternoon.  This panel of distinguished immigration experts grappled with how public opinion shapes the immigration debate.  Panelists approached the issue of immigration from their respective fields of study, giving each one a slightly different viewpoint.  Nelson Castillo, an immigration attorney, said the political will to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform within one year is not there.  Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, likened the immigration debate to the title of a book about abortion, a “Clash of Absolutes.”  Camarota said talking about immigration is difficult because it is an issue that strikes at people’s core beliefs.  Paul Voakes, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder, called immigration a third-rail issue.  Voakes, who studies how media cover immigration, said part of the problem, is that people don’t like talking about immigration.  He said that in the mainstream media, immigration receives relatively little coverage until close to election time.  However, in talk-show media, hosts blend news with opinion, distorting the issue, Voakes said.

Unfortunately, NAHJ’s message was overshadowed by rumors of the organization’s financial woes and dwindling membership. The 1,300 member organization dependent on monies made from the convention has seen a rapid decline in registrations for the annual event.  In 2006, 1800 people came together in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  This year the number teetered just over 700.  Moving forward NAHJ officials said the organization’s future includes a commitment to training and continuing annual conventions but not depending on them as “cash cows.”

Manny Garcia and Pilar Portela

Manny Garcia, Executive Editor, El Nuevo Herald; Pilar Portela, Business Wire

Next year’s 29th Annual NAHJ convention will be held in Orlando, FL. For more information on NAHJ visit the association’s website at www.nahj.org.



Upcoming Business Wire Event: Chicago – August 4

July 21, 2010

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out this upcoming event in your area:

Chicago’s Media is “Transforming”: Discover New Placement Opportunities

Hosted by Business Wire Chicago

Our companies and clients understand that the reductions in local newsroom staff can mean less opportunity for pitching and placement, but are we missing opportunities with local news organization start-ups with rapidly growing audiences that can give our properly-crafted pitches a new place to call home? Join Business Wire Chicago as we speak with the editorial management staff behind some of Chicago’s newest media outlets.  They will talk about how professional communicators can best work with their staff and what kinds of untapped PR opportunities exist within their organizations. Speakers include Kyle Leonard, Managing Editor at Triblocal and Tracy Schmidt, Editorial Director for ChicagoNow.com. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, August 4 at 8:00 a.m. CT
Maggiano’s Little Italy – Chicago
Amarone Banquet Room
516 N. Clark St. (banquet entrance is on Grand Ave.), Chicago, IL 60654

To register: Please RSVP to Abbie Sullivan at abbie.sullivan@businesswire.com by Thursday, July 29. Please include your name, company name and phone number.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


New Resident on the Blogroll

July 21, 2010

CyberAlert is a longtime partner of Business Wire, providing the technology and innovation behind NewsTrak Clips, our suite of media monitoring and measurement services. Bill Comcowich, president and CEO of CyberAlert, recently launched his corporate blog to share information on media monitoring with PR and marketing professionals everywhere. As Bill notes in his press release, “We couldn’t find an adequate definition or description of media monitoring anywhere else, even in Wikipedia where the write-up for ‘media monitoring service’ is, well, dreadful.” The new blog enables and encourages comments from readers and expects to publish articles from guest bloggers. Check out Bill’s first post, “Media Monitoring:  What It Is.  How It Evolved.  How It’s Done Now,” and make sure to be a frequent visitor there!


Get Better Tradeshow Coverage with EventTrak by Business Wire

July 21, 2010

by Leon Harbar, Vice President, Global Tradeshows & Events, Business Wire Los Angeles

It may seem obvious, but many companies often go into an important tradeshow sending hundreds of generic emails to the registered media list and hoping for the best: A meeting with any journalist or blogger. Unfortunately, the result is a series of awkward meetings that result in very little targeted coverage.

A more efficient process would be to actually know before the show which influential attending journalists and/or bloggers are actually covering your target market, then putting special emphasis on setting up meetings with those people before your competitors do.

EventTrak by Business Wire is the solution to enable you to set up smarter meetings before your important tech tradeshow.          EventTrak logo

For each specific show, EventTrak provides your public relations team with a “pre-show” report up to 2 months prior to show start detailing media/blogger coverage of the prior year’s show. The report includes publication name, author, date published and a direct link to the article. Users may search within this data, download and export contacts and review “hot themes” for the upcoming show. Approximately two weeks after the show ends, the user will receive a post-show report in the same format with updated coverage data.

For an overview on EventTrak, click here.

For a listing of tradeshows where EventTrak is available, click here.

Business Wire is the official wire for hundreds of events worldwide and when that’s the case, our Online Press Center is integrated within the media area of that event’s website. In addition, we continue to provide free distribution of 100-word profiles to exhibitors/sponsors/presenters of certain events.

If you have any questions on distributing news for a specific event, adding your event to TradeshowNews.com or just need advice, please email tradeshow@businesswire.com.

Follow TradeshowNews.com on Twitter @TradeshowNews or become a fan of us on Facebook!


Business Wire Responds to Client Demand with Launch of Online Newsroom and Investor Relations Website Solutions

July 19, 2010

by Ibrey Woodall, VP of Web Communications Services, Business Wire Florida

Ibrey Woodall

BW VP of Web Communications Ibrey Woodall

In response to multiple client requests, Business Wire announced the upcoming August launch of the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center solutions. The new products complement Business Wire’s current suite of services, improving communication and constructing an enhanced workflow for communications strategies and investor outreach.

NewsHQ and InvestorHQ are often referred to as microsites. Microsites are auxiliary websites that cater to specific needs and interests. NewsHQ and InvestorHQ were developed specifically to help corporate communicators and investor relations officers house and maintain information for a myriad of audiences, including journalists, bloggers, investors, consumers, analysts, key influencers and others.NewsHQ-InvestorHQ

There are many benefits to employing these content management solutions. One of the main reasons the online newsroom came into existence was because public relations representatives were having a hard time getting cooperation from their technical, or IT department, when they needed a press release posted quickly. Investor relations officers also needed a means by which they could get the most recent financial news and data to their company’s investors and analysts.

So, control was an initiating factor for this technological evolution. Communicators needed to be able to post and organize content in a timely manner. They needed to be able to get their message on their website, and delivered directly to those who were interested in their organization.

NewsHQ and InvestorHQ are tools that enable communications professionals to edit and manage the overall functionality of the website, without having to acquire complex technology skills. Posting content to the site is as easy as using word processing functions such as bold, italic, underline or upload image.

The NewsHQ and InvestorHQ solutions also make it much easier for those interested to research the status, history, and news of an organization. All of your company’s press releases, photographs, executive biographies, SEC filings, quarterly and annual reports, relevant stock and background information, along with other components can be accessed and downloaded from one central location – a headquarters – no matter where the site visitor resides. Journalists, investors and analysts expect this convenience 24 hours a day. They do not want to wait for the communicator to “get back to them.”

Search engine optimization is important in every communications campaign. The goal is to optimize your content to gain a higher ranking within search results. The ability to create links and URLs, and add keywords and tags are available within both the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center. These features will help strengthen your SEO efforts.

Business Wire’s clients will truly see a return on investment with the NewsHQ and InvestorHQ solutions. Simultaneous posting of formatted Business Wire press releases into your online newsroom and investor center, along with streamlined email and SMS alert distribution, and automatic placement of press releases onto your company’s social networking sites, reduces the amount of steps you have to take to post and distribute content. ROI is also realized with the simple equation of placing a dollar figure on the amount of time you spend answering the same questions over, and over, and over again.

If you are interested in learning more about the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center, please email HQ@businesswire.com.


A Closer Look at the BRIC Countries: India

July 16, 2010

by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media, Business Wire New York

BRIC Country FlagsBrazil, Russia, India and China, collectively referred to as the “BRIC” countries, are widely seen as the pistons powering the 21st century global economy.

Previously, we’ve profiled Business Wire’s powerful partnerships in Brazil and Russia, key markets where our unique strategic relationships provide Business Wire members with privileged access to the financial, government, corporate and media sectors. Agencia Estado in Brazil and Interfax in Russia are the most prominent business and financial news services in their respective markets, whose influence extends far beyond the investment industry.

This month’s spotlight is cast on India, whose economic growth in the past quarter-century has been nothing short of explosive. It is clearly a market that is on everyone’s ‘short-list’ in terms of potential  business development opportunities. Creating a brand identity and reaching business decision-makers in India has become a top priority for companies seeking to stake a claim in today’s Southeast Asia gold rush.

Once again, Business Wire has captured the high ground by offering the most comprehensive distribution platform available.

Business Wire India [BWI], a licensed affiliate with offices in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, has established itself as the country’s leading corporate news service. Many of India’s best-known multinational companies are clients, using BWI for both their domestic and international distribution needs.

Read the rest of this entry »


Editor’s Corner – July Edition: What’s all the Hype about Hyperlinks?

July 16, 2010

With 30 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.

What’s all the Hype about Hyperlinks?

Direct the Media and Viewers Beyond Your Home Page

Nicole DeJarnatt

BW Denver Editor Nicole DeJarnatt

From financial filings to product updates to new personnel announcements, it’s vital that today’s press release not only encourage your target audience to read your news, but to “click” through your text and go beyond the scope of your company’s home page.

Including a variety of “active” or “clickable” hyperlinks in your press release is an easy and cost-effective way to showcase a particular product and generate traffic to your website. Moreover, it enables your audience to learn more detailed information, keeping them engaged with your company longer, in a fresh and interactive way.

When adding hyperlinks to your press release, consider these tips:

  • Pick relevant, up-to-date links that reference a specific Web page, rather than generic links like your company home page. For example, emphasize your investor relations page, link to the registration site for an upcoming conference, showcase a product and where it can be purchased, or highlight executive bios/photos and personnel quoted within your release.
  • Don’t link your headline. This can actually hurt the searchability of your release on sites like Google.
  • Don’t wait for the boilerplate. Readers often skim the news so include links early on and not just in the “About” section.
  • Don’t repeat links. Mix it up and reference a variety of resources/Web pages.
  • Don’t overdo the blue. Too many links can actually flag your release as spam and make it hard for the reader to focus on what’s important. Business Wire recommends one link per 100 words.
  • Link to interactive multimedia like photos as well as video and audio clips.
  • Optimize and reinforce keywords/phrases with online search engines by hyperlinking them in your press release.
  • Copy/paste embedded hyperlinks whenever possible (i.e., don’t re-key long URLs).
  • Use Business Wire’s Short URL Generator to convert long URLs for use in your release and other marketing communications.
  • No dead links. Double check that all your links are live and working.
  • When uploading your company logo via Business Wire Connect (free), be sure to include the URL/link to your home page so readers are automatically directed there.
  • Gauge your return on investment by reviewing your NewsTrak reports to determine a summary of viewer interaction with your release, including links and click-throughs from referring URLs. Evaluate which keywords/phrases are getting hits and which aren’t, and adjust your media strategy accordingly.

Adding “active” and “clickable” hyperlinks expands the reach of your press release and transforms it from a basic public relations tool into an interactive online portal for media, analysts, investors and consumers. Now click your mouse three times and say…“There’s a better place than the home page.”

For questions about how to embed “active” and “clickable” links within your news release, contact your local Business Wire newsroom.

-Nicole DeJarnatt, Newsroom Editor, Business Wire Denver


Media Relations in the Digital Age Event Recap

July 15, 2010

by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire DC

Members of the Business Wire/DC team were in attendance at Media Relations in the Digital Age held at the US Navy Memorial & Heritage Center on Wednesday, July 14th.  The event, which was organized by the Professional Development Committee of the PRSA – National Capital Chapter, welcomed four journalists – Ceci Connolly, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, Greg Ip and Jordan Rau – to discuss “how to fearlessly pitch big-league media and get big-time results.”

Ceci Connolly

Ceci Connolly

Ceci Connolly is the national health policy correspondent for the Washington Post.  She has been a staff writer at the Post for over a decade and has covered politics, health care and several major disasters.  Prior to joining the newspaper in 1997, she covered politics for Congressional Quarterly and worked at the Washington bureau of the St. Petersburg Times.

According to Ceci, public relations practitioners need to think strategically about which news organizations they are targeting.  “The more you can be targeted, the more you can be effective,” she said.  Assist reporters by providing factual information with credible sources, understanding deadlines and knowing what beats they cover.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for the Washington bureau of Marketplace.  Previously, she worked as a newscaster for NPR and WAMC in Albany, New York, as well as an anchor at Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Nancy reminded the audience that “the early bird gets the worm.”  Send pitches with plenty of lead time and plan events around days when journalists may not be as busy.  Mondays, Fridays and holidays work best.  Marketplace will generally be seeking out stories during these times.

Greg Ip

Greg Ip

Greg Ip is U.S. Economics Editor for The Economist and also contributes to The Economist’s blog Free Exchange.  Before joining The Economist in 2008, he served as chief economics correspondent of the Wall Street Journal and created the paper’s online blog Real Time Economics.

According to Greg, reporters at The Economist are generally looking for experts with deep knowledge about the subjects they are covering.  He suggests inserting your organization into the context of a story.  “Describe why something affects you in a positive or negative way.  Examples are very valuable,” he said.

Jordan Rau

Jordan Rau

Jordan Rau is a reporter for Kaiser Health News.  His KHN stories have been featured in publications such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as news sites including NPR.org and MSNBC.com.  Prior to joining Kaiser Health News, he covered government and health care politics for the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Concord Monitor.

When it comes to public relations, Jordan recommends focusing on “people, data and dish.”  Find people who are affected by the issue your organization is concerned about and truly illustrate the story.  Provide quantifiable data which can easily be used in a story.  Finally, don’t be afraid to dish out information about your competitors.  “Some of the most successful people in public relations are the experts in opposition research,” he said.  Pitches that suggest conflict with competitors often get more attention than stories that highlight your organization’s own products, services or success.


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