Why Penguin Demands Good PR – Pole Position Marketing

At 24-7PressRelease.com press release, we had been trying to find some further information about the most recent penguin updates.  The folks (Jennifer) at Pole Position were wonderful in contributing a blog post (below) to help clarify and clear up some information.  Thank you Jennifer & team!  Without further adieu, here is the article.

Why Penguin Demands Good PR

It’s a real zoo around here. Thanks to Google’s recent Penguin updates (and Panda in 2011), search engines are feeding spam and black-hat SEO to the lions. Meanwhile, affected websites are dropping in rank while site owner/managers run around like monkeys, wondering how to fix the problem.

Of course, most experts say the solution to getting out – or staying out – of the dog house with Google is fairly simple: straighten up and fly right. Create quality content. And, while I agree with that 100 percent, you can’t assume that quality content alone is enough to reach your target audience. You have to know how to crow about it and, even more importantly, how to get other influencers in your industry to do the same.

PR Pros in Good Position for Penguin

When Google brought Penguin out of its cage in April, unnatural links – along with keyword stuffing, cloaking and content spinning – became a primary target.  As any good Penguin knows, if something smells fishy (like the link from an Alaska-based fishing charter site to a tanning salon in Atlanta that Eric Ward mentioned), it probably is fishy and ripe for devaluing.

However, Google’s Matt Cutts assures us that it’s not time to “write an epitaph” for the importance of links as an algorithm signal. Rather, link building – like content – needs to be managed strategically and on the up-and-up.

Enter the public relations pro, whose role amid rapidly evolving technology now transcends traditional press agentry and publicity. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), PR in the digital age is defined as a “strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

On the Web, these mutually beneficial relationships are often showcased via website links and shared content. In light of Penguin, an experienced PR specialist is well positioned to make the kind of connections an organization needs to keep and improve its site rankings.

PR that Pleases Penguin

Of course, good press is still important, and links from influential sources like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and ever-popular Mashable are at the top of the food chain. However, getting coverage and links from such major outlets isn’t practicable for most businesses. However, opportunities for PR and quality links still abound, if you know how to come by them honestly and with the sweat of your brow.

In a post-Penguin world, here are some key PR activities you should pursue.

Research Industry Influencers

Before you create scads of beautifully written and keyword-optimized (not keyword-stuffed) content, you need to find out who the influencers are in your industry. Hopefully, your PR strategy already includes building relationships with reporters and editors at valuable-to-you news outlets. However, to get a variety of links from multiple, reputable sources, you need to open the bard doors wider. You also need to be busy as a beaver because search, discovery and due diligence is a time-consuming process

Annalisa Hilliard, link building strategist at Pole Position Marketing, recommends the following tools for finding your influencers:

• Open Site Explorer – In addition to helping you determine where your competitors are getting their links, this paid tool will also assist you in finding people who have clout (not to be confused with Klout). In addition, it shows total links, number of unique websites linking to a page and social likes/shares. Armed with this information, you can gauge where you stand among your competitors for targeted keywords.

• Organic search using unique queries – One free tool to enhance this type of search is Solo SEO. Enter a keyword and you’ll usually get a long list of search queries. Results are available for Google, Bing and Yahoo.

• Comb through blog directories. Sites like Technorati and Blogarama index blogs by niche.

To her list I would add these tips:

• Mine social media sites. Each site has a unique set of users, as well as unique ways to search for influencers. Twitter and LinkedIn searches are particularly useful in this area.

• Stalk your competitors. Find out who they are having conversations with on various social channels.

• Read the comments. This includes comments on YouTube videos, news articles and blog posts made by influencers and competitors you’ve already identified.

• Add your comments. Don’t forget the importance of adding your position to the conversation. This also may be a great way to get the attention of the individual or organization that published the content.

• Look for evangelists. Who has come forward via social media or other outlet and expressed their undying affection for your products, services or organization? Invite them to submit user-generated content on your site or another well-respected one. Or, provide content for them to publish on their site. Lots of options here. This is a fantastic PR opportunity you should not waste.

Pitch Content or Concepts that Appeal to Influencers

Once you have a list of influencers you’d like to approach, it’s important to recognize what’s important to them. The biggest mistake marketing people who try to be PR people make is pitching a blogger or reporter with “markety” stuff. Influencers don’t like to hear how wonderful you are. They want to know what your business or organization can do for their readers.

So, respect their time and get to know their audience. Read their site and several blog posts thoroughly. Build a relationship with them, and only send them content that matters.

Even better, offer to guest post on a regular basis – especially about industry topics that are hot. This will build your credibility and theirs. It’s a win-win situation.

Create an Outstanding News Room

Most companies that have news rooms on their site find that they are high-traffic areas. Visitors want to know what’s fresh – and so do search engines, incidentally. So, it’s important to keep your news room up to date with a reasonable number of press releases. Include navigational links to other pertinent areas of your site, such as your company overview, your blog, recent media mentions, events, statistics and more. Don’t forget to offer RSS syndication.

Write Natural Press Releases

With Penguin, everything is about what looks “normal,” as opposed to something that appears to be gamed. So, when writing news releases, it’s still important to include keywords and links, but think variety and originality.

Don’t overuse website links, keyword phrases and anchor text. Instead, focus on writing fresh content for readers first and search engines second. And, be sure to use a reputable press release distribution site with a track record of legitimate success.

Be Genuinely Social

Don’t forget to give your news a little extra push by publishing it on social sites. But, make sure you have your audience in mind. Companies are often “markety” on social sites. Sometimes it’s because they don’t have enough time to engage each site’s audience properly. Other times, it’s because they don’t understand how to be social. So, share news (your own and industry tidbits) in an engaging way that will help you make connections and build relationships with influencers.

As Penguin continues to impact search results and rankings, PR strategies like these will rise in importance. To Google, it’s about rewarding the most authentic links and content. Well-versed PR pros are among the best equipped to take that bull by the horns.

Jennifer Carroll | Pole Position Marketing | @martijen Previously a freelance business writer for more than 10 years, Jennifer specializes in content marketing and social media consulting for Web marketing agency Pole Position Marketing. She also contributes to the company’s blog, eMarketing Performance. A self-proclaimed word nerd, Jennifer’s favorite escape is historic fiction and anything by J.R.R. Tolkien, preferably in old-fashioned, ink-on-paper form.

Earn Guest Blogging Opportunities to Promote Your Brand Online

Another fantastic blog post from the fantastic folks over at http://www.brickmarketing.com. Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a Boston SEO company.  For more information please call 781-999-1222 or visit http://www.brickmarketing.com.

In order to compete online, businesses today need to have a content marketing strategy.  Without content that is published and shared online, it is difficult for prospects to find you.  Every industry is competitive online, and the businesses that come out on top are the ones that are creating quality content on a regular basis.  Content improves brand visibility, builds inbound links, generates website traffic, and supports a social media strategy.  The best places to share content are websites that target audience members visit on a regular basis, such as other industry blogs.  Guest posting is a great online marketing strategy, but it takes work to earn a guest blogging opportunity on a quality blog.  Here are some guidelines to follow to achieve guest blogging opportunities:

Keep your own blog active

The first thing a blogger will look at in order to determine whether or not to publish a guest post from you is your own blog.  Is it active?  Are the posts worth reading?  Do you have a following?  If the answer to any of these questions is, “no”, you may have a hard time convincing them to allow you to post on their blog.  Your own blog should always be your top priority.  A quality blog that is updated often will establish credibility in the industry and among other bloggers.

Find the right blogs to submit to

There are plenty of blogs out there that will accept guest submissions from just about anyone that cover a wide range of topics.  It’s best to avoid those blogs and spend some time researching the ones that are more related to your niche and have a better chance of generating traffic to your site.  It takes time to write a guest blog post, so you want it published somewhere that will matter.  To find blogs, you can start by browsing blog directories or conducting a search.  Also, take a look at websites owned by social media followers and the people that comment on your blogs.

Establish a relationship

Once you have a decent list of blogs that are worth submitting to, it’s time to establish a relationship with the blog owners.  Follow them in social media and share and re-tweet their content and write thoughtful comments on their blog posts in order to get noticed.

Inquire about guest posting opportunities

Once you’ve communicated with a blogger and established a relationship with them, create your “pitch”.  You’ll never know until you ask.  You may need to sell your writing ability or provide a proposed blog post.  Make sure that it’s good!

Follow up

After you’ve submitted a guest blog post, you’ll need to check in to see if it’s been published.  Often, guest blog posts don’t go live immediately.  Find out what the timeframe is.  If a significant amount of time goes by, feel free to follow up and ask what the status is.  If you don’t hear back or they can’t publish the post for some reason, simply submit it somewhere else.  There are plenty of opportunities for good blog posts, they won’t ever go to waste!

About the Author:

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a Boston SEO company.  For more information please call 781-999-1222 or visit http://www.brickmarketing.com.

SEO Advice: Being Brave Enough to Try Something Different

About a month ago, SEO expert and High Rankings founder and CEO Jill Whalen wrote a blog post on daring to be different in order to get noticed by Google.

Her article is here, but the general gist of it pointed out that it can be almost impossible for small mom-and-pop type businesses to attempt to compete with the big box stores when it comes to marketing efforts, including online marketing. Without the budget to hire an SEO team, have a professionally designed, coded and elaborate website and to pay for countless other resources that will boost your marketing campaign, the chances of beating these companies in the search engine rankings are slim to none for an individual business owner with no expert SEO knowledge and 101 other jobs to do in a day.

Therefore, her recommendation to one of her clients in this predicament was to try something different. One of her many tips was to include some keyword phrases that were perhaps more obscure (so less likely to be the ones favoured and used by big-budget competitors) but that were still relevant to target customers and the type of business a company wants to draw in.

This could be as simple as a bit of rewording. For example, if you are a small cafe in Brooklyn, New York, rather than competing with some major restaurants and restaurant chains which will opt for the popular keyword “restaurants in New York” or “New York cafes”, try “budget cafe in Brooklyn” or “vegan cafe in Brooklyn, New York” instead. Play around with keyword phrases, always trying to put yourself in the shoes of your consumer and what they would be likely to type into a search engine if they were trying to find an establishment such as yours. Then search these phrases and see how many places and what kind of places are coming up. Are they competitors of yours? Similar in size and scale? If so, this is probably a good thing – the keyword phrase is attracting the right kind of business, and if that business is on a similar scale to you then probably their marketing budgets are too, meaning that it won’t be so fruitless to compete against them in the search engines or the marketplace.

Once you’ve come up with some new, less competitive keyword phrases, pay your web designer to embed these into the coding of your site for an extra boost to your SEO efforts. It will be worth the small cost for the designer’s time, and hopefully you should find your search engine ranking performing much better in no time!

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tip: The Importance of Good Content

Despite what you may have heard, one rule should always be remembered when tackling SEO: Good content trumps SEO every time.

SEO expert Matt Cutts discussed this in a recent article, and posted a video addressing the issue (see below).

This rule is based on the premise that Google wants to ensure it is rewarding sites that post quality content, even if their optimization is poor. This is why Cutts recommends focusing on content quality rather than search engine optimization efforts, if there has to be a choice between the two (ideally, both would factor in an overall online marketing plan).

A perfect example of this is when a company or individual uses press release distribution as a search engine optimization tool. While a good press release service will offer multiple SEO benefits, a well written press release is integral in producing the greatest results. If a press release is well written and informative, the chances of it being picked up widely are greater, which leads to an increased number of back links.

For more on press release distribution and its links to SEO, contact 24-7PressRelease.

 

Press Release Writing Tips To Improve SEO

We received some excellent information from Nick Stamoulis, president of Brick Marketing, an SEO Company offering content marketing services.  Please find some tips to improve SEO from http://www.brickmarketing.com

Article from Nick Stamoulis, http://www.brickmarketing.com

Press Release Writing Tips to Improve SEO

An important part of SEO is building inbound links to your website from trusted sources.  In order to achieve these links, you need to create content that other websites will want to share.  Other websites aren’t just going to link to your site for no reason.  Content that is typically shared on other sites includes guest blog posts, articles, and press releases.  Press release distribution can be a great link building tactic since the links are primarily coming in from news sources.  In addition to improving a link portfolio, a well written press release that gets picked up in news outlets can improve brand awareness and generate traffic back to your website.  To improve your press release efforts for SEO, follow these guidelines:

It must be newsworthy

The goal of a press release is to get picked up by as many news outlets as possible.  If your press release doesn’t include anything newsworthy and is just a weak attempt at getting some links, it won’t be picked up. Don’t waste your time.  If there is nothing newsworthy going on in your company, don’t write a press release.  Instead, spend your time writing a blog post or an article.

Distribute through a paid service

As they say, you get what you pay for.  If you are only submitting press releases through free services there isn’t much benefit.  A paid service will improve your exposure and allow you to do more with your press release (include links and images, choose a day and time when it will be published, etc.).  Prices vary depending on which “extras” you choose.  If the news is big, it’s worth the extra cost to get it seen by as many people as possible.

Incorporate keywords

Online press releases are indexed by the search engines and can be found in an organic search result so it’s important to incorporate keywords that searchers would use to find your products or services.  Although, you don’t want to go overboard.  Write the press release for your target audience first and then naturally incorporate a few keywords where they fit.  Keywords are especially important within the title of the release.

Add links

If you are hoping to get an SEO boost out of an online press release, it’s important to include links.  Typically the free distribution services don’t allow links which is why it’s worth spending the money on a paid service.  Include a few links throughout the release, but no more than one link per 100 words.  Use the full URL of your website and a few anchor text links.  Don’t link to the same keyword over and over.  Vary it and link to the brand name so that it appears natural.

About the Author:

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, an SEO company that offers content marketing services to clients.  For more information please call 781-999-1222 or visit http://www.brickmarketing.com.

Quick SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tips and Tricks

Richard Burckhardt at Search Engine Journal put together a hugely informative article a few years ago, titled 55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love.

Despite the fast-changing world of search engine optimization, many – if not all – of Richard’s tips remain relevant and useful today.

We at 24-7PressRelease have highlighted a few below, but encourage you to read Richard’s article for the full list of tips and tricks that can take your SEO campaign from ho-hum to top notch. Click here for the full article.

Tip #5: Be sure you have a unique, keyword focused Title tag on every page of your site. And, if you MUST have the name of your company in it, put it at the end. Unless you are a major brand name that is a household name, your business name will probably get few searches. (For more on titles and title tags, see our previous blog post here.)

Tip #14: Your URL file extension doesn’t matter. You can use .html, .htm, .asp, .php, etc. and it won’t make a difference as far as your SEO is concerned.

Tip #17: When link building, think quality, not quantity. One single, good, authoritative link can do a lot more for you than a dozen poor quality links, which can actually hurt you.

Tip #20: If you are on a shared server, do a blacklist check to be sure you’re not on a proxy with a spammer or banned site. Their negative notoriety could affect your own rankings.

Tip #34: SEO is not a one-shot process. The search landscape changes daily, so expect to work on your optimization daily.

Tip #42: Links (especially deep links) from a high PageRank site are golden. High PR indicates high trust, so the back links will carry more weight.

For more on how 24-7PressRelease and press release distribution services can help your search engine optimization, contact us.