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Hot Tips and Tactics – The ‘Nitty Gritty’

Posted on 3.24.2008
SES NY Universal Search Session Notes (Part 3)

Optimizing Press Releases, Images, Local Business, and Product Submissions.

Sometimes note taking doesn’t lend itself to long winded paragraphs. Sometimes notes are best served as bullet points and here are some good ones. Below you will find the no-nonsense ‘nitty gritty’ notes on universal search optimization taken directly from this years SES NY session. Just the facts, nothing but the facts - Enjoy!

Optimizing press releases and media relations for news results

Press release optimization for news search engines is 5-step process
  1. Conduct keyword research to find two to three relevant search terms
  2. Make sure release includes terms in headline and lead paragraph
  3. Add links intended to help people find interesting, related content
  4. Use one of the leading press release distribution services
  5. Measure results of a campaign in PR outputs and business outcomes
Conduct keyword research to find two to three relevant search terms
  • Think about words users would type to find your news
  • More than half of search terms are 3 or more words long, so use longer phrases
  • They often convert at higher rates
  • What about my brand?
  • Unless your brand already well-known, don’t use it as a search term
  • Instead, use a search term for your product category or customer benefit
Make sure release includes terms in headline and lead paragraph
  • News search engines scan the title, headline and at least the first 100 words of news articles
  • So, make sure your press release actually includes your keywords in the headline and first few sentences
Add links intended to help people find interesting, related content
  • “I’m not against doing press releases; press releases can be a useful part of getting traffic and building a brand."
  • “For ranking in Google, however, the main benefit of a press release is not direct links or PageRank from the press release directly; it’s primarily the people who decide to write an article and link because of that.”
World of news search SEO larger than press release optimization
  • News search SEO should include media relations focused on the top 20 general news sites in the U.K.
  • News search SEO should also include blog outreach focused on group blogs that are Google News sources
  • 93.9 million unique visitors a month visit general news sites in the U.S.
  • You should continue to optimize your press releases for the major news search engines
  • But, you should also focus your media relations efforts on the other top 20 general news sites
Source: comScore World Metrix, Dec. 2007 From Google News, users head downstream to a variety of sites
  • Google News drives traffic to several other Google sites
  • Google
  • Google Image Search
  • Some news sites and wire services “punch above their weight”
  • New York Times
  • Reuters
Source: Hitwise, Jan. 19, 2008 90% of journalists say that visuals are important to their stories
  • 41% of the journalists surveyed said that visuals could dictate their content
  • “A release e-mailed with a jpg or tif file has a much better chance of making it into our newspaper,” said one editor
Source: Bennett & Company Media Survey, Aug. 15, 2006 Articles and posts referred 34.4 times more visitors than releases Referrers Articles Posts Releases
  • PR generated a total of 166,984 non-paid referrers in September
  • 139,768 referrers from news articles (83.7%)
  • 22,502 referrers from blog posts (13.5%)
  • 4,714 referrers from press releases (2.8%)
Source: SEO-PR Fortune 500 client, Sept. 2007 SEO PR can generate web traffic more cost effectively than PPC ads
  • Average cost per click nearing $2.15
  • So, PR generated equivalent of $359,000 in PPC ads for 166,984 non-paid referrers
  • $10,000 (2.8%) from releases directly and $349,000 (97.2%) from media relations and blog outreach
Source: SEO-PR Fortune 500 client, Sept. 2007

Optimizing Images

Images – How Google Treats Them
Google analyzes the text on the page adjacent to the image, the image caption and dozens of other factors to determine the image content. Google also uses sophisticated algorithms to remove duplicates and ensure that the highest quality images are presented first in your results.
Images – How Google Wants Images Identified
Use the alt attribute to provide descriptive text. In addition, we recommend using a human-readable caption and descriptive text around the image.
First, Optimize Your Site’s Images by giving the images meaningful names such as pineapple.jpg and not 0156a.jpg

Here's an Example of Optimized File Name Combined with ALT Text (Use ALT text and add keywords in Photoshop during creation):

Use ALT Tag to Convey Message
  • No ALTs on decorative elements
  • Instead of “dog pushing cart,” there is the call to action conveyed by the dog pushing the Cart
Online Photo Galleries
  • Photosharing
  • 23
  • AOL Pictures
  • Care2 Connect
  • dotPhoto
  • Faces
  • Flickr – owned by Yahoo!
  • Fotki
  • KodakEasyShareGallery
  • MyPhotoAlbum
  • Picasa – owned by Google
  • PhotoSite
  • PictureTrail
  • Pixagogo
  • Ringo
  • SmugMug
  • Webshots
  • Zoto
Optimization This is how it should be done:
  • Title – Keyword-rich
  • Caption -- Meaningful
  • Tags – Use like keywords Links
  • To other photos
  • To other sources
  • Anchor text – Use it to help define Keywords in Caption and Title should be reflected in the tags

Optimizing pages and submitting listings for local business results
  • 143 million searches a month on Google Maps from within the U.S. Source: comScore qSearch, Dec. 2007
  • Use the Local Business Center to create free listing on Google Maps
  • Use the Local Business Center to edit your listing whenever you like
  • Your Google account gives you access to Local Business Center
  • You can create separate listings for each of your business locations
  • Google business listing description is limited to 200 characters max
  • Choose up to five categories or sub-categories for your business
  • Specify when you are open and what types of payment you accept
  • Add up to 10 photos, images, diagrams, illustrations or logos
  • Fill in other details customers may want to know about your business
  • Let Google know how you would like to validate your business listing
Majority of online product research leads to offline conversions
  • In 2007, a survey from Accenture reported that 58% of respondents said they locate items online before going to a store to purchase
  • The Kelsey Group’s research indicates that with purchases of more than $500, where the Internet is the starting point, more than 90% of the transactions finish offline
Source: Kelsey Group Blogs, May 11, 2007 You can create coupons for any active listing you have submitted
  • Coupons can include an expiration date, an offer code, and other related information
  • If you have multiple businesses or business locations, you can create coupons associated with any or all of them
Google’s My Maps feature lets you create your own custom Maps
  • You can add placemarks, draw lines and shapes, and embed text, photos and videos.
  • Your map automatically gets a public URL, or you can publish your map for inclusion in Google Maps search results.
  • Google shows organic local search results with red pushpins; user-generated results have blue pushpins.

Product Submissions - The Process
  1. Create and register the feed
  2. Upload the information – Up to 20MB via Google’s own interface
  3. Google processes the data
  4. Verify that upload and processing was successful
  5. Do it all over again, as needed
Selling Requirements for Items Listed
  • Attributes must fit item type and be included in the submission.
  • Shipping must be across the continental United States.
  • Prices on feed and landing pages must be in US dollars.
  • Products must have a fixed price – no auction type pricing.
  • Landing pages must be eCommerce-enabled.
  • The landing pages must not have required cookies.
Attributes Describe Items These Are Required
  • Title – The name or title of the article, up to 80 characters
  • Description -- Maximum length of 10,000 characters, write for SEO
  • Expiration Date – YYYY-MM-DD
  • Product Id – Your own number, once submitted don’t change it.
  • Image link -- Use your full-sized images; do not use logos or graphic that states “image unavailable”
  • Link to Landing Page – Can be a product page on your site
  • Price – in US dollars
  • Product Type – Long list of pre-defined types at Attributes Drive Traffic
  • There are many pre-defined item attributes including:
  • – Model number
    – Payment types accepted
    – Payment policies
    – Pickup vs. delivery
    – Price negotiability
    – Quantity available
    - Shipping
  • There are also specific pre-defined attributes for product types
Creating the Feed – 5 Formats
  • Tab-delimited– can be done in Excel
  • XML formats 4 types
    1. RSS 2.0
    2. RSS 1.0
    3. Atom 1.0
    4. Atom 0.3
Try Getting Found in Universal Search
  • Video
  • News
  • Maps
  • Images
  • Products
  • All lead to revenue

Credits for these notes and for an excellent session on Universal Search are due to Greg Jarboe Search Engine Optimization Public Relations, and Amanda Watlington, Search for Profit. Not enough can be said about how informative this session was and how appreciative the search world is to their efforts.

Dante Monteverde, Website Magazine Contributor is a Search Strategist specializing in Search Engine Optimization. He founded in 1996 and has over 10 years of SEO experience. Visit SpiderBait's SEO Expert blog: for more useful resources on a variety of search topics.
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