Law firm press releases can get lawyers more exposure on the search engines and in turn the media than a lot of other search engine optimization (SEO) done for law firm Web sites. It is a terrible waste of time and expense these days to write press releases without thinking how the releases will be treated by the search engines and circulated throughout the Internet whether in a full copy or in a link to the press release from other copy.
I asked Mike Banks Valentine, principal of SEOptimism.com, who does press release optimization and distribution, to republish an excellent article on the subject. Take it away Mike…
Greg Jarboe, President and co-founder of SEO-PR revealed a blockbuster secret back door to top search engine ranking when he presented to a comparitively small share of attendees at WebMasterWorld.com World of Search #7 conference. Jarboe presented a case study of client WineZap. Jarboe provides optimization and distribution of press releases for online companies seeking publicity and search engine positioning for websites.
Jarboe projected side by side views of a before and after optimization press release for WineZap, an online resource to research and price wines. WineZap was seeking publicity for the launch of their new website and wine search engine. The changes to the press release were relatively minor, but made major differences in the most critical spot – the headline, and use of wine related search phrases in their release. They also incorporated a call to action and discount coupon for those who clicked through from the press release to a special landing page with newsletter sign-up to qualify for substantial discount on wine purchases through the WineZap web site.
Jarboe recommends a “sweet spot of 400 to 500 words” as the ideal press release length and though he wavered on the right keyword density and recommended experimentation to find the perfect density for rankings, he showed a list of wine related terms included in the WineZap press release from “wine prices” to “wine variety” of about a dozen keyword combinations. Critical terms were included only once each, but were each included in the short 400 word release. Important keyword phrases were hyperlinked within the text and the release posted to the PRweb.com site press release archive.
Jarboe showed ranking results from within both Yahoo News and Google News searches where the release turned up in top 5 rankings, with similar results in standard web searches within a few days. This ranking is unheard of in a highly competitive wine and wine magazines online for search phrases dominated by long-time online players and was achieved within a week for WineZap, a newly launched wine website. This client had paid for tracking of results over time and Jarboe showed slides showing over 90,000 views of the press release on the PRweb site with 1400 views by journalists! This for a site launch in a competitive sector got them press notice and reviews.
Jarboe provided insight into standard search algorithms and news search algorithms, which vary dramatically and some are nearly opposite of standard rankings. News searches rank based on how many news sites are writing about the topic of your press release, how recent or “fresh” stories are, the length of the story when covered by the press and the frequency of the search term. One element of news search algorithms that’s vastly different from standard algorithms is that the number of sites linking to the release is hugely discounted because news is expected to be new, and as such, won’t have time to gather links.
As a matter of fact, the news release gets picked up and used on dozens of sites with live hyperlinks to the website issuing that release, since the item is considered time sensitive is linked very quickly. This has the effect of gaining widespread permanent links to the client site because it is reproduced by topical sites, sometimes archived, which gives the site issuing the press release both very early visibility in news sites and news searches, and in standard search engines because they’ve been linked to through that release on relevant and topical sites, therefore gaining long term rankings and visibility.
For a cost of between $400 and $2000, depending on press release length and additional services ordered, (archiving, tracking and optimization) a site can gain immediate and long term rankings for critical search phrases if they distribute newsworthy, topical and well-timed press releases. Smart SEO’s should seriously consider adding press release writing, optimization and distribution online as a value added service. Jarboe offers a partnership with PRweb and distribution channels eMediaWire.com, plus a network of promotion partners.
Jarboe presented additional items of interest about news search, including statistics showing that 98% of journalists go online daily, that 92% go online for research purposes, and the most stunning statistic claims that 73% of those journalists go online to search for press releases! News releases are typically indexed within three days. Online news search queries are for vastly different topics than standard web searches and are performed using much more targeted and intelligent phrases than standard web searches.
Probably two-thirds of WebmasterWorld of Search attendees were down the hall at the Las Vegas Convention center at a session called “Link Building and Referral Tracking” hearing about tired SEO link building techniques which are rapidly declining in effectiveness while a sprinkling of really smart attendees were listening to Greg Jarboe talk about the most underused new blockbuster technique for link building – online press releases.
Of course, link building should not be the purpose of press release distribution online and is secondary to gaining Media attention for your online business or event. But when releases are distributed to journalists online and used in major media, it can lead to television and radio appearances as well as site reviews by journalists covering online business.
Jarboe pointed out that “Public Relations” is 100 years old this month and told the story of the first press release, which was sent to newspapers by snail mail for damage control on the first train wreck by offering to transport reporters free of charge to the scene of the accident (by rail) to witness the scene themselves and give first hand accounts of the accident so that rumors and embellishments didn’t destroy the railroad industry.
Vastly different from today, where we email press releases to thousands of journalists as fast as we can write them and click the “submit” button through online press release distribution services such as Jarboe’s SEO-PR.com. Press releases online are currently used by large corporations routinely through their in-house PR departments, but small business webmasters and online businesses should learn the value of news search rankings and media attention gained through online press release distribution and optimization.
Press releases are the new back door to high search engine rankings for popular and competitive search terms and SEO’s need to learn to integrate press release strategy into their search ranking services as a value added service.
This article was first published on Mike Valentine’s blog enitiled Reality SEO – Search Engine Top Ranked Sites for Competitive Terms.