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Search Engine Guide: Use Press Release Optimization to Boost Traffic, Leads and Sales

Here’s something from a December 2004 survey from the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization: Search engine marketing is poaching the budgets of paid listings on shopping directories, Web display ads, e-mail programs, magazine and newspaper print ads and more than half a dozen other established marketing programs.

Though the lion’s share of this money is shifting to paid placement, one of the newest and fastest-growing areas of search engine marketing is press release optimization.

Each month, more than 27 million people nationwide use Yahoo News, Google News and other news search engines to find the latest information on a range of topics. When they conduct a news search, they often find relevant and recent press releases from companies and organizations along with relevant and recent articles from traditional and nontraditional news sources.

However, press release optimization differs from Web page optimization because news search engine algorithms differ from search engine algorithms.

For example, Yahoo News and Google News use “recency” as well as “relevance” to sort results while Google and Yahoo mainly use relevance and link analysis. In addition, Google News displays thumbnail photos next to relevant stories while Google doesn’t.

Press release optimization provides clients with numerous benefits, including:

· Getting high keyword ranking for up to 30 days in Yahoo News, Google News and other news search engines.

· Creating publicity from the more than 70 percent of journalists who go online daily to find press releases.

· Building links to interesting, related content that follows Yahoo and Google’s quality guidelines.

· Increasing Web traffic to your site from people who just read your news.

· Generating Internet leads from prospects who give you their e-mail address or fill out an online form.

· Boosting online sales.

A number of brand-name organizations are adding press release optimization to their marketing, including:

· The Wharton School’s executive MBA and executive education programs, which are optimizing press releases to attract senior executives, business leaders and other working professionals as students.

· Verizon SuperPages.com, which saw searches for “florists” surge 438 percent on its site – from 342,478 the week of Feb. 6-14, 2004, to 1,841,272 Feb. 6-14, 2005 – after distributing an optimized press release.

· Southwest Airlines, which has tracked $2.3 million in ticket sales to unique links in a series of optimized press releases distributed since February 2004.

Even highly skeptical Internet marketing veterans are noticing. In May, Larry Chase’s Web Digest for Marketers said, “Press releases and other PR materials are an underutilized ‘sweet spot’ for keyword optimization, and doing something strategic about them can really help Web site rankings, press response and your business.”

For more articles from The Direct Marketer’s Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing, visit www.dmnews.com/search .

A PDF of the guide is available at: //www.dmnews.com/pdffiles/semguide.pdf

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