Search Optimization Practices, Problems And How To Fix Them

There's nothing more aggravating than wading through a bunch of garbage in a press release to find the punch line. Optimizing press releases may seem boring, but similar to Web sites and ad copy, in this busy world it's become a necessity.

Business Wire Wednesday released a guide to optimization, highlighting 10 tips to optimize press releases for search engines. It also provides standards for social media, mobile behavior, and search engines as algorithms change.

The guide suggests using Google Autocomplete to optimize copy. For example, if you are writing a press release for an oil company that uses fracking as a way to extract petroleum from the ground, take a look to see how people search beyond just the word "fracking." In the query the top result shows the majority of people searched for "fracking is good." This does not necessarily mean that the majority of people searching on Google believe that fracking is good, but it does mean that more people are searching for this on Google.

Knowing that people search on "fracking is good" might suggest marketers should use the headline "Is fracking good for the community?" for the press release, per the white paper.

The guide also details the process of optimizing for search engine algorithms, changes in formats, using natural links, how to work around the phenomena known as "Google not provided," and keywords that marketers just should use. The paper reminds marketers that optimizing for Google search is based on phrases and not just keywords. Excessively repeating keywords and overusing natural anchor text links reduces the ability to read the release, likely causing search engines to flag and penalize your content in search results.

Shift Communications published a list of the 50 most overused PR words in 2013, based on an analysis of nearly 63,000 press releases. "New" ranked the No. 1 overused word at 110,059; followed by "first" at 56,724; and "mobile" at 28,538. Other words include professional, most, current, leading, annual, public and private.

Other tips in the study detail integrating multimedia, social media, and use responsive design for mobile campaigns.

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