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SEO 101 for Press Releases Webinar Q&A

This post was written by Laurie Mahoney, Product Marketing Manager for CisionWire, Cision’s new press release distribution service, and Brandon Andersen.

Thank you to those of you who participated in last week’s webinar “SEO 101 for Press Releases”. Based on the large number of questions received during the event there seems to be a huge interest in press release distribution and optimization.  Since we were unable to get to every question on the webinar, we put together the following blog post in hopes of answering the majority of them.   You can also find more press release SEO tips in our previous blog post: Press Release Optimization for Search Engines.

Q: Can you please discuss what keywords are? – Katie V
According to the glossary of terms in “SEO Made Simple”, A keyword is a word that is entered into the search form or search “window” of search engine to search the web for pages or sites about or including the keyword and information related to it.

Q: How do you choose keywords? -Craig J
Think about your customers. What words are they putting into the search field to find your company or product? If you have a cupcake shop in Chicago that you’re trying to promote and you’re using the keywords “cupcake” and “Chicago”, but your consumers are searching for “Bakery” and “Chicago” you will be missing out. If you’re not sure what keywords your consumers are using to find you, why not ask them?

Q: What is a keyword bible? -Elena B

A keyword bible is a glossary of keywords that you want to incorporate into your press releases. Unfortunately, it is not something you can find on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or in a nightstand drawer at a hotel. It is something that you should be working with your Marketing team to create. Keep in mind – this is not a static list. You may need to make changes as your product or industry evolves.

Q: Could you repeat some of the free web sites for researching keywords? -Alexis R

Some great free keyword tools are Google Adwords Keyword Tool, WordTracker,  and Keyword Discovery.

Q: Should the anchor text be the same words as the actual title of the page that is being linked to? -Mark S.

Anchor text is the clickable part of a hyperlink.  Anchor text provides context for both people and search engines about the page that it links to.  A link that reads “click here” is telling the user and search engines that the subject of the page you’re clicking to is “click here”.  That’s not very useful if the page you’re linking to is actually about “underwater basket weaving”.

Try to make your anchor text the same or similar to the title of the page that you’re linking to.  It doesn’t always have to be exact, especially if the page you’re trying to optimize might have more than one keyword that you’re focusing on.  As a rule of thumb, use anchor text that incorporates your main keywords for the page you’re linking to.

Q: To clarify, is…tagging a release like [tagging] a blog post? -Matt K

Tagging is a simple method of applying keywords to content allowing others to locate it via a search. For press release tagging, it is similar to tagging a blog. It’s a way to classify your release so the search engines can group it together in a category with other releases that cover a similar topic. It helps users discover related press releases, even press releases issued by different companies, or press releases issued long ago.

Q: When hyperlinking/anchoring in press releases we have started using shortened URLS, such as bit.ly or tiny url to  help with measuring for click throughs…is it better to embed the long URL verses these brief versions? -Larkin G.

URL shorteners are great for Twitter, but they can wreak havoc on your SEO efforts.  URL shorteners put an extra step between your release and the site you want to optimize.  Most URL shorteners will preserve most or all of the “link juice” from your links, but the extra step can take some of that “link juice” away.  And what happens if the URL shortener that you’ve been using suddenly goes belly-up and all of your links no longer work?

If you really want to track your click throughs from press releases and use a URL shortener, your safest bet is probably goo.gl, Google’s URL shortener.  It’s pretty safe to say that Google has made this tool as search engine friendly as possible.  Plus, Google’s future looks pretty good right now, so you don’t have to worry about it going belly-up anytime soon.  And if it does go belly-up, we’ve probably entered the apocalypse and you probably have bigger problems on your plate than broken links.

Q: Do Bloggers really increase your SEO? I have several bloggers asking me daily for products and they all claim that our SEO will increase due to their review of our products….I find that hard to believe…. – Julie O.

Great question!  As a matter of fact, having them write reviews about your product and linking back to your site will INCREASE your SEO.  Every link that you receive from another website counts as a vote for your website.  The more popular the blog, the more valuable that link becomes.  Also, if they link to your site using anchor text that describes what your page is about, it also counts as a vote for the context of your page.

Some SEO firms even BUY blog reviews for their clients to gain inbound links, which as you can imagine is quite a controversial practice.

If your company happens to make very expensive cars, we at the Cision Blog would be more than willing to write a review for you. 🙂

Do you have a press release SEO question of  your own?

Please ask below in the comments and we’ll help you out!

Want more?

The webinar, “SEO 101 for Press Releases” was the first in a series that we will be presenting on press release optimization.  You can find and register for future PR Webinars on our website.

About Brandon Andersen

Brandon is the Director of Marketing at Cision US. In his role, Brandon leads Cision’s US marketing team and develops strategies for engaging marketing and PR professionals. He is a host of the popular Cision Webinar series, and blogs about everything from inbound/content marketing tactics to future trends in communication and technology on Cision Blog. Find him on Twitter @brandonchicago

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