Because you're a savvy marketer, you've already mapped out your competitive search marketspace and know precisely the terms you should target in order to reach your key publics through the search engines.

Now that you're involved in your company's PR efforts (which is only right, because search engines are the primary PR vehicle of the online space, inasmuch as many aggregate news sites and blogs and typically include links from such sources as key factors in determining relevance), you must ensure that your main keyphrases find prominent places in your press releases.

Tips for Maximizing Your PR Efforts in Search Engines

Include a section targeted specifically towards bloggers with links to related blogs written by your employees as well as instant message and phone number contact info for key people.

Include company name and your most important keyphrase in the title of the press release.

Include company name and keyphrases in line with your PR and SE presence goals throughout the release, though not conspicuously and not to the detriment of readability or sense

If you're publicly traded, include your ticker symbol in the title of the press release.

Link your keyphrase in the body of the press release to the page on your site that's optimized for this keyphrase.

Other tips, these culled from Tom Foremski's Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die!:

Sectionalize the press release into quotes from execs, quotes from customers, quotes from analysts and include relevant news and reference links.

Tag (Title) these sections for easy story assembly (from an SEM perspective it's easy to forget that the press release is about helping others write about you)

A quick word on the reasoning behind these techniques:

When search engines collect news items, as opposed to pages they gather from the wild web, they're more likely to determine relevance based on key phrases utilized. Determining how relevant a page REALLY is to a given search term takes quite a bit of time, and news, by its nature, makes standard relevance determination tougher because of its short shelf life.

Google Finance, Google's recent entry into financial news coverage, includes blog entries and recent news stories for every publicly traded company. This fact means that your company must start blogging, or at least cultivating relationships with bloggers in your space. It's fairly certain that Google uses an algorithm for its finance section that's similar to the one in its news section.

This makes the inclusion of your full company name and your ticker symbol in the press release title - plus the title of related blog posts that your company writes - even more important in order to reach the buyers and sellers of your company's stock.

We employ keyphrase linking in the event that automated sites, bloggers or reporters lift that portion of the press release and give it a permanent non-dynamic page.

Though you should typically NOT be sending press releases to bloggers unless you've contacted them before hand, the press release you put on the wire should include links to your blog in addition to a non-directorial contact person, someone who will be seen as more authentically and meaningfully involved in the news relating to the press release than a VP or someone equally trained in spin.

This person should be lightly basted in PR principles and current PR goals, but must be allowed to speak plainly and frankly.

The concept of treating employees as a media-creating public may be difficult for readers steeped in traditional PR. Please familiarize yourself with the Cluetrain Manifesto and the techniques surrounding cultivating your employee generated media.

Also check out John Battelle's recent interview with Gary Flake of MSN for an example of whom should be talking with whom. I see this particular blog interview as a PR masterstroke for MSN. Call me and I will explain: 919-433-3139. (I'll get around to blogging about it eventually if you're nervous about talking to me ;)

Here are a few sites - which I have not tested personally - that distribute press releases on the web:

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

April 12, 2006

Garrett French is the co-founder of Ontolo, Inc., and co-creator of the Ontolo Link Building Toolset, which uses your target keywords to find and grade link prospects. The Link Building Toolset reduces link prospecting and qualification time, letting you focus on the most important part of link building: relationships.

Search Engine Guide > Garrett French > Creating the Search Optimized Press Release