Business Wire Establishes New Standards for SEO with the 2014 Guide for Press Release Optimization

January 8, 2014
by Fred Godlash, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire

As we enter into 2014,  we are still receiving a lot of questions about how SEO should be used with a press release. One of the biggest misnomers we hear is that you cannot use any links in a release and that keyword research is not applicable anymore.  In an effort to clear up some of the confusion with SEO best practices for researching, writing and distributing a press release, Business Wire has put out a new guidance report titled “A Guide to Press Release Optimization.” The download is available for free and will answer all of the questions regarding press releases and SEO for 2014.

Business Wire PR and SEO in 2014The press release guidance report shows the major changes that have occurred with the press release including updates from Google that have redefined how the release is written. Additionally the report discusses best practices moving forward including future SEO and social trends in 2014. The guide is structured chronologically as a reference that will walk you through all of the steps of a press release from research and planning, through writing content, and into final distribution and measurement.

The idea is to have a standard that professionals in the communications industry can use as a guide when developing a press release for the New Year. All of the ten tips include examples and strategies including many free tools that are available to all professionals.

Tips include:

  • How to research and learn the behaviors of key constituents
  • Complete overview of the latest algorithms, and how to benefit from these updates
  • Recommended  press release layout improvements
  • How to properly use links
  • What you need to know about press release keywords and key phrases
  • The importance of high quality content
  • The role multimedia plays in increasing discovery and action in 2014
  • How to use social media strategically
  • Using a responsive design webpage for mobile
  • How to choose the proper news distribution method

The report can be downloaded, for free at http://go.businesswire.com/guide-to-press-release-optimization. Click this link to share it with your Twitter followers:  http://ctt.ec/4v0K3

Google Hummingbird

Need more incentive to download our report?  Business Wire will select, at random, 18 people who downloaded our guide to receive a hummingbird of their own!

We want to hear your comments. Let us know what you think of this guidance report and follow us on twitter @businesswire.


What We’ve Learned: A Round-Up of Tips, Tricks and Tools from Some of the Top Public Relations and Marketing Conferences

November 20, 2013
by Meghann Johnson, Sales Manager, Business Wire Chicago

Curious about SEO in the new age of Google Penguin and Hummingbird? Interested in the very latest content marketing best practices?

We were too, which is why Business Wire recently attended a wave of industry conferences including Search Engine Strategies, PubCon, AdTech and the Internet Summit, all to uncover the latest and greatest tools, tips and techniques for public relations and marketing professionals to meet their business goals.

And even though we learned a lot, there was one discussion on the top of everyone’s mind – how social media engagement impacts SEO. The number one point reiterated at every conference is that while an individual piece of content may no longer generate increased SEO, social media interactions can impact the ease in which content is found. The better the content, the more engagement it receives, the easier it is to be found. The lower the quality of the content, the fewer interactions it receives, the harder it is to be found. It’s that simple.

Below is a cheat sheet we created to help you navigate Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  We also pulled together supporting articles that provide additional insights and tactics you can use.

Facebook

Your target audience should no longer be thought of as “consumers”. Instead, think of them as “participants” in your brand conversation. Courtesy of Daina Middleton http://tinyurl.com/lmtr4m7

Developing brand personas are increasingly popular for marketers who want to better understand their target audience. We love these simple steps from marketing expert Heidi Cohen http://tinyurl.com/nxw6je6

If you’re doing Facebook advertising, focus on the newsfeed ads vs. those on the right-hand rail. These tend to get more click-thrus and engagement. Note: They are more expensive as well, but the pay-off may be worth it for your brand.

With Facebook’s recent algorithum changes users will be introduced to content based on their activities. For example, users who view more photos will be presented with more photos in their newsfeeds. Smart marketers should test different format types to determine which resonate best for their audience.

When adding links to press releases it’s important to practice SEO co-citation, or linking to relevant sites other than your own. This helps your news gain authority as a meaningful resource for more information.

Testing your website? According to Jakob Nelson, just five users can uncover 85% of usability issues http://tinyurl.com/mhr8emm

Twitter

Think visually! @Twitter introduces pictures and videos to the newsfeed http://tinyurl.com/nuzfgyt #contentmarketing #prtips

Journalist can’t cover your story? Send them a pre-scripted Tweet instead! #prtips

Follow weekly #trends on #Twitter to see how your company can participate and engage in the conversation

#Retargeting is important for today’s search-driven society, but ensure you have the right goals in mind http://tinyurl.com/kq76z4j

Marketing on @Twitter? Be sure to check out new lead generation cards to drive users to YOU http://tinyurl.com/qafwzjc

Companies using Twitter will continue to be indexed by search engines, a great plus for gaining more #visibility and #SEO

Good #stat: 50% of retweets occur in first 18 minutes of being published so make sure content is attention-grabbing @MarinSoftware

Google +

Companies who use Google+ will get indexed faster by Google than other social media sites such as Twitter. http://tinyurl.com/p7fhq6g

Adding multimedia to Google+ is a great way to boost visibility and search optimization for content.

YouTube now requires all commenters to have a public Google+ account, weeding out some posters on the popular site and boosting Google+ membership. http://tinyurl.com/kstylq7

Google+ is an inexpensive way to host conversations among audiences and can be recorded for later use.

Even with Google’s recent algorithum changes, press releases can still drive meaningful traffic to a company’s website, blog or social media sites and boost viewership across these channels.

Check out this cool infographic from @Brafton media on how to combat the Google Penguin http://tinyurl.com/qxzpyuw

What do you think of this list?  Was it useful to you? As always, you can contact us directly to learn more about any of these topics, and stay tuned to the BusinessWired blog for other interesting updates.


Covering Your Bases on The Big Issues This Election Season

May 25, 2012

by Danny Selnick, VP, Public Policy Services

by Danny Selnick, Vice President of Public Policy Services, Business Wire DC

The upcoming presidential election and national political conventions are looking to be a contentious time.  No doubt this will be an interesting election cycle where also the entire House of Representatives is up for grabs, as is nearly one-third the Senate.

So will the president (incumbent or newly elected) have a Congressional majority that can push along and support legislation that’s near and dear to him? Or will the country have a divided Congress that will keep it in political gridlock? The stakes are huge with political and economic and even global ramifications. Not even the pundits can agree. But one thing’s for sure, professional communicators with some interest in the outcomes will need to get the word out. The question is, with what strategy?

No longer can public affairs communicators rely solely on getting their message out to traditional media. They must also reach out to grass-roots supporters, influentials and voters by using social media — and use it effectively in creating powerful networks and communities. Additionally, communicators must use powerful search engine optimization tools to make sure their news is seen.

Let’s not also forget that the United States Supreme Court will be handing down its decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Should the Court let the Act remain as is, not much will change and the law that was enacted two years ago will continue to be implemented. There will be those organizations and state governments that will remain opposed, but they’ll have to abide by the ruling. However, should the Court rule against the Act, no one really knows what will happen. Dismantling what has already been in effect will not be easy, and the Republican Leadership (including Mr. Romney, as well as those even at the state level) will have to come through on their promise of a better plan.

In sum, public affairs/corporate communicators and government relations professionals should be working on their messaging and thinking about the tactics to reaching all their key audiences. One more very important point to mention is that the American public (and voters) is not homogeneous. Far from it. Communicators need to remember to include messaging to the Hispanic community (that has been growing in numbers, power and importance) as well as to African-American, Asian-American and other groups.

Selnick is Business Wire’s Vice President for Public Policy and LatinoWire Services and developed specialty targeted services that are designed to reach any organization’s key audiences — from the media to decision-makers … to getting your message in front of the public that goes online looking for news.  The Public Policy Wire also includes Issues-Focused Lists that reach beat reporters by personalized email — including Health Care and Presidential Campaign.


It’s All About Marketing and PR Convergence with Our New Smart Marketing Page

May 8, 2012
For professional communicators today, there is a growing understanding that PR and marketing efforts must work in unison to be most effective.  For example, the cost of the keywords that marketing bids on in their advertising outreach can be reduced when PR successfully gets those same keywords embedded and issued/posted/shared in their audience engagement efforts.

With press releases, we know that multimedia enhances click-thru rates and improves audience engagement.  When public relations leverages existing marketing assets, it reinforces brand messaging and helps marketing achieve the multiple touch points needed for audiences to act.  Both marketing and PR ultimately engage many of the same audiences by the very nature of how content is found and shared online.

For PR practitioners, this provides an opportunity to show how they can cost-effectively and measurably complement and boost the overall marketing impact.  As you build your next press release, work with marketing to develop and use common campaign keywords, add SEO-relevant, measurable touch points such as links from press release content deep into the organizations website, include “buy this” buttons and add multimedia visuals and videos, all driving measurable traffic, revenue and engagement tied to shared campaign objectives.

The launch of our new Smart Marketing Page provides a tremendously cost-effective new platform to achieve marketing/PR message unity that is measurable.  It helps PR grab a larger share of the marketing voice by pushing out press release and multimedia content via the powerful Business Wire news network to media and online audiences across the country, deep into your industry and around the web.  It also posts to our EON: Enhanced Online News platform, all designed to provide easy audience engagement and SEO-boosting exposure.

The Smart Marketing Page gives marketers a branded platform that is SEO friendly with assets that are easy to share, allowing for the inclusion of polls, multimedia galleries and custom branding.  It provides both with valuable multimedia tools and measurement metrics to evaluate and adjust campaigns against marketing objectives.

Check out the Business Wire SMP and see for yourself why we’re so excited about this new platform. Then contact your local BW account executive to get started.


Editor’s Corner: Best Practices for Using Links in Press Releases

March 21, 2012

by Sera Gonzalez, Senior Editor, Business Wire Dallas

by Sera Gonzalez, Senior Editor, Business Wire Dallas

With the advent of XHTML, additional knowledge is only a click away. Embedded hyperlinks turn ordinary text into doorways of information. Business Wire tracks link click-throughs, showing the link text, URL, which version of the release and how many total clicks it has received.

As an editor, I’ve seen releases with no links at all, making it difficult for readers to easily find more information. I’ve also seen releases so full of links it was impossible to determine what information was important. Finding a balance and knowing how to optimize link usage is vital for press release writers.

When considering hyperlinks in text, the writer has two options: the URL and anchor text.

A URL in the text is like this: www.businesswire.com, which works well for short URLs and at the end of boilers, linking to company home pages. Though most of the internet is XHTML compatible, there are a few sites that still post in plain-text. In these instances, a link will not be active in the body unless it is written out. Instead of saying, “Click here,” say, “Visit www.businesswire.com.” Full URL links are also useful when linking to social media sites: http://facebook.com/businesswire and http://twitter.com/businesswire. Readers see your handle and can type it in if they already have those web sites open. Registration URLs for conference calls, webcasts and trade shows help a reader easily keep the link for future use or send to colleagues.

Sometimes URLs for frequently shared pages can be really long and should be hidden from readers. These cases call for anchor text, like Business Wire, instead of writing out the URL. These links are like the icing in your release; leading your reader to more information. For names in releases, an anchor text link to the person’s biography – which commonly includes a photo – works perfectly. You also can use anchor text in product announcements, referencing a page with videos, photos, reviews or purchasing information. Anchor text links also boost SEO for your release. For example, if you wanted your release to rank on Google for the keyword “Business Wire,” you would make sure that phrase appears in the headline, first paragraph and as anchor text, Business Wire.

Make hyperlinks work for you. Lead your reader to places beyond your release, to further the understanding of your product, personnel and company. Also keep in mind that not everything needs a hyperlink; too many and your release can look like spam and discourage readers. The link is yours.

With 31 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.


80% of Press Release Headlines Too Long for Google, According to New Study

February 14, 2012

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Dallas

Are you optimizing your press release headlines? For the second straight year, our friends at Schwartz MSL Research Group have put together a study on the SEO of press release headlines using data from Business Wire releases. As we’ve previously noted, Google only displays roughly 65 characters in their search results and therefore releases with headlines 70 characters or under are best optimized for SEO.

For this year’s study, Schwartz looked at the headlines of more than 16,000 Business Wire press releases from 2011. Of those, only 19.5% of all releases had headlines with 65 characters or fewer and just 23.7% were at 70 characters or fewer. This suggests that the great majority of press releases do not have headlines fully optimized for search.

The average headline length is 123 characters, which is the same as last year’s results. The study also looked at buzzword usage and completed a geographic headline face-off to determine which cities hosted the SEO-savviest press release headline writers. You can download the full report here.

Check out more press release optimization tips here. You can also read up on why your press releases might not make it into Google News.


Social Media Press Releases, Like Color TVs, Have Been Coopted: They’re ALL Press Releases

November 1, 2011

by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Services Specialist

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

The term “social media press release” surfaces from time to time to describe a release crafted especially to appeal to the tweeting/blogging/posting crowd that comprises its purported target audience.  On its face, there is nothing wrong with this concept.  We advise crafting Google-friendly, keyword-rich headlines to make sure search engines can find press releases.

But using a separate label and special (sometimes truly ugly) formatting to create a press release specifically for sharing misses the point.  That idea may have had merit when introduced five years ago, but it now seems as dated as hailing color TV or air mail.    Today, EVERY press release should serve as a “social media press release” (search-engine-friendly and easy-to share press release) if the person crafting it does the job properly.

Business Wire recently revamped its news display to encourage and facilitate sharing.  Many of these features  enhance the social media value of releases without making them unreadable by a person with a normal attention span.  The most significant enhancements from a social media perspective are the prominence of sharing icons for popular sites (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook) and the ability to share photos and videos as discrete assets.

Below we’ve listed basic tips for building effective, web-friendly, news releases that will be found, seen and shared.  Take a look:

  • Create a short but descriptive headline
  • Put the most important information in the first paragraph
  • Don’t just tell, SHOW–include multimedia
  • Know the audience you want to reach
  • Be clear about why that audience should care

I recently reviewed videos submitted by public relations students for Business Wire’s College Video contest on The Future of Public Relations. Even though the students acknowledged the importance of social media, some speculating on future technological changes, an important thread emerged from their presentations:  effective press releases rely less on technology than on the personal connections that the press release content makes with the audience.

At its best, a “social media press release” makes that connection so those reading it feel compelled to pass it along.


Free Tools to Enhance Your Press Release Reports

July 5, 2011

 

 

This year, we’ve worked hard here at Business Wire to enhance our release reporting capabilities, pushing out a significant upgrade this Spring with even more enhancements in the pipeline.  That said, there are always companies and their agencies interested in customizing their NewsTrak reports beyond what we offer in order to gather deeper insight or simply to impress the top brass.  In this post, I’m offer tips and tools you can use to enhance your reporting and earn that gold star on your next report card.

Google Alerts

Most people are familiar with Google Alerts, but if you’ve been working with it for a long time you may be guilty of the old “set it and forget it” with the default Alert settings from a year ago or more and are missing out.  Google Alerts now offers six different classes of results:

  • News (collected from Google News)
  •  Blogs (collected from the sometimes controversial Google Blog Search)
  • Realtime (collected from the new Realtime Search, which often shows mostly Twitter results)
  • Video (mostly Youtube)
  • Discussions (likely focused on Google Groups and forums).

Setting up seperate alerts with key search terms for each of these result types will give you far more comprehensive results than setting up just one “everything” alert set to show “only the best results.”

Google Alerts even has an option to export to CSV at google.com/alerts/export , which you can then take into Excel and merge with other Excel based reports you are using.

Alexa, Compete, Delicious 

Now that you’ve augmented your reports with additional web activity, you can use public data from services such as Alexa, Compete, Delicious to show a rough measure of relative popularity (despite frequently inaccurate data) of different website and blog sources from traffic and Google alerts.  For Delicious, you can use the number of site bookmarks as a metric. For Alexa & Compete, the site ranking is a good one to use.  In every case, you can find the score simply by typing in the site address into the search in the corresponding service.

Topsy & BackTweets

It seems that no Twitter search engine is perfect, even Twitter’s own, but both Topsy and BackTweets do a pretty good job of reaching back into the distant Twitter past (ie one week ago!) and finding tweets based on URL searches. Topsy also provides broad recommendations on which Twitter users are influential.

Klout and TwitterGrader

Since you’ve used Alexa and the like to enhance your web results, why not use Klout or TwitterGrader scores to show a rough measure of influence from the Twitter users that have tweeted your release.  Unless you have a huge list of people, the quickest way to gather the data is simply to type each Twitter handle into Klout’s search box and save the corresponding score.  You can do the same with TwitterGrader, although it typically takes a long time to calculate each score, while Klout scores are reported instantly.

There’s my summer tips for enhancing your release reporting.  Try’em out and become the metrics master at your office.


Business Wire’s Inclusion in Google News Archives Means Press Releases Live Forever

June 9, 2011

Google News operates on a 30-day window for news content, meaning that when you do a standard search on Google News you are almost never going to find anything older than a month.

But did you know that Google News also works with news partners such as magazines, newspapers and wire services to archive historical news content?

Business Wire recently worked with Google News to submit data feeds of our past releases to be included in their searchable news archives.  The result is Google News users can now search as far back as the 1990’s and find hundreds of thousands of client press releases.

So if you’re a Google News fan or just looking for another way to search past Business Wire releases, take a trip down memory lane today by visiting Google News archive search and searching for: “businesswire.com” + Your Company Name.


Send Your Press Release on a High Quality Site

May 17, 2011

Conversations around Google’s Panda update have continued nonstop since Google announced the change in late February.  At the time, Google stated that the change affected 11.8% of their search queries.

That means that one out of every eight-and-a-half searches returns a different result from pre-Panda days–which could work for or against your website.   Third party data from companies around the world suggests some websites have been horrifically effected while others have emerged unscathed.

Losing sites are claiming traffic deficits of 20% – 90% or more.  Since Google’s update was so profound for many sites, the company has issued advice on “building high quality sites” in the form of questions which form part of the Google mindset.

As we’ve stated previously, Business Wire’s performance has improved since the Panda update. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the questions posed by Google and how Business Wire stacks up.

Would you trust the information presented in this article?  Is the site a recognized authority on its topic? Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?

The Business Wire brand is synonymous with press releases and wire services.  We celebrate our 50th anniversary October 2, our website has been online since 1996 (it’s come a long way), and we can count a significant number of the Fortune 500 among our current and former clients.

Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?

Press releases are new news by nature.  Every day we push out hundreds to thousands of press releases with new information about companies and organizations.

Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

It’s no secret that press releases often provide ideas, sources or supporting facts for news stories across all mediums.  As journalists are expected to do more and more with fewer resources, the value of press releases to the story process is only increasing.

Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

Press releases hosted on BusinessWire.com never contain advertisements.  We don’t want anything on the page to compete with client news.

Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors? How much quality control is done on content? Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?

We have teams of editors around the world that prepare each and every release we receive from our clients, including proofing for grammar and spelling.  In addition, we distribute releases that are written by professional communicators with expert level knowledge or access to key personnel at their companies and clients.

Branding and search are converging.  Take a deep look at the advice in Google’s post when you are considering how to distribute your news, or even how to improve your company’s websites.  Where you distribute your news is more important than ever.


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