You probably heard about Google‘s early August introduction of a new “in-depth articles” feature. Its purpose is to facilitate meaningful research by helping direct web surfers toward the most thorough reporting on a given search topic. Of course everyone would love for their clients’ work to show up in the “in-depth” box at the foot of the results page, so how can we create content with a better chance of appearing in this feed? Google’s general webmaster guidelines apply, with some tweaks. Here’s the new page.
First and foremost, the content needs to be well written. It also needs to be at least 2,000-2,500 words long to be considered. Long is good.
The current algorithm favors established publishers with big names, valuing existing readership over subjective quality of content. But Google also promises to feature “great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs”, and the algorithm should include more such content as it evolves. OK, what else?
Here are some more technical guidelines:
- Rather than focusing on keywords, make sure that the content in question touches on every angle of the topic at hand.
- Make sure that this topic is relevant now and will continue to be relevant into the future.
- Try to spin the subject: we have no idea how Google’s algorithm measures the unique qualities of a given article, but it reportedly favors “original content” that offers readers a different take on things.
In case you missed it, the PR world agrees to disagree with ZDNet’s click bait freakout headline “Did Google just kill PR agencies?”
OK, so what did the big guys’ changes to webmaster rules on links and keywords do? They forced PR pros to change their SEO press release strategies—and this is not a bad thing.
See, Google really doesn’t like what they call “link manipulation schemes” which provide “unnatural boost[s] to the popularity of a piece of content” via tactics like the dubious repetition of certain hyperlinked keywords/phrases which all go back to the same client’s address as well as the placement of press releases on numerous sites to improve search placement and “game [Google’s] algorithm.” According to ZDNet’s Tom Foremski, Google sees these PR practices as the equivalent of the “keyword stuffing” tricks that they hate so very much.
Their warning to publicists pushing clients’ content: If you continue doing this, your client company may well be penalized or even blacklisted.
Bad news, right? Not really…
Today we bring you a guest post via Sheldon Levine. Levine is community manager for Marketwired/Sysomos, an innovative social intelligence company offering global news distribution and reporting services as well as state-of-the-art social media monitoring and analytics powered by Sysomos. Marketwired and Cision recently partnered to allow Cision customers to connect with media, influencers and customers through Marketwired’s distribution channels.
With thousands of news releases being distributed every day, PR pros are constantly looking for opportunities to reach a broader audience and drive more views. Incorporating multimedia is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal — especially when some sources credit multimedia embeds for traffic bumps of up to 77%.
Perhaps we can, armed with this knowledge, officially declare text-only press releases as a thing of the past. We know visual storytelling is a critical pillar in any effective communication strategy. Just look at how brands continue to invest in image-driven social networks like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. At Marketwired, we believe this best practice shouldn’t be limited to social media. Creating multimedia –photos, video, audio, or infographics, for starters – is a smart PR tactic. As an added bonus, the fresh content can be shared on blogs or across social channels, thereby spreading a release’s main messages even further.
Whether we’re considering products, food or information, we consume with our eyes. Multimedia often offers the extra “sizzle” journalists and bloggers are looking for in their content, and in some cases such releases become stories in their own right. Here are five tips to make your multimedia press releases “pop”:
We love Mashable for giving us up-to-the-minute tech news, but a recent snafu shows us that they are not immune to the “reporting on a less-than-accurate press release” phenomenon.
Here’s the deal: “bitcoin” is a new kind of digital currency that’s popping up all over the news. The appeal behind the product is the ability to deposit, exchange and spend money without going through a bank (ICYMI, people aren’t too keen on banks right now). In Europe, which is still suffering through the aftershocks of the latest economic crisis, more and more people have become interested in the bitcoin concept — and yesterday several sources including Mashable reported on this press release announcing entrepreneur Jeff Berwick‘s plans to open the “world’s first bitcoin ATM machine” in Cyprus, the country hardest hit by the current crisis. (Note: “plans” is the key word in that sentence.)
The problem? The ATM featured in the video below is not the one mentioned in the PRWeb release — and it wasn’t created by Jeff Berwick.
Media relations in the Internet age is a funny thing, isn’t it? Today representatives from The History Channel and the producers of its extremely successful series The Bible had to reach out to various media outlets in order to clarify that they did not intend to cast a Barack Obama lookalike as Satan. Yes, you read that right.
We’re not exactly sure how this crazy rumor managed to spread (we’re looking at you, Glenn Beck), but today producer Mark Burnett, the man behind such reality hits as Celebrity Apprentice and Sarah Palin’s Alaska, had to issue a statement labeling this latest wave of short-term paranoia “utter nonsense” while the channel’s spokesperson assured the public that “The History Channel has the highest respect for President Obama.”
Of course Burnett is right, but this is the world of crazy Internet rumors that spread like wildfire no matter how reliable they may or may not be. We don’t really get it, because when we saw this picture our first thought was “Middle Eastern Obi Wan Kenobi.”
We will say one thing, though: somebody needs some moisturizer.
In case you haven’t heard, long-struggling daily deals leader Groupon finally dumped its controversial CEO Andrew Mason yesterday. But we have to say that his “resignation letter” was the most amusing pseudo-press release we read this week–and the Internet seemed to agree! His letter, in full:
(This is for Groupon employees, but I’m posting it publicly since it will leak anyway)
People of Groupon,
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
Today we may have witnessed a first: a press release delivered via 6-second Vine mini-video. The makers of Sonar, a “social discovery app” that allows users to find others by geographical proximity (which Mediabistro profiled in this Elevator Pitch video), just received a big investment from Microsoft‘s Bing Fund–and they chose a unique way of letting the world know about it:
— Sonar (@sonar) February 28, 2013
TechCrunch hopes this move doesn’t become a thing. What do we think? Can you imagine companies announcing new hires or clients with little clips like this one?
This week we told you that no, the press release isn’t dead. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority sort of proved our point today with a “Superstorm Nemo” release that goes to great lengths to explain how the incredibly awesome MTA is so on top of things this time, you guys (and that they won’t screw up royally like they did in 2010).
Beyond claiming that “The MTA network has assumed a storm-fighting posture in response to the severe weather forecast”, the release also takes time to hype its “fleet of snow and ice-busting equipment.”
Now, we don’t want to give anyone the impression that this release stands as an example of great writing or anything–the rest of it is mostly boilerplate stuff about how subway and bus service might be a little less convenient than usual this weekend due to all the ice and snow and notices reminding drivers to “operate at reduced speeds due to wet roadways”. But that first sentence did get our attention. Cheeky!
So if you’re going to issue a press release on behalf of an organization famous for bureaucratic inefficiency and poor customer service, you might want to slip in at least one clever phrase to make sure that it’s not too terribly dull.
Before we leave for the weekend we feel an obligation to share what is, without even the slightest doubt, the very best press release of the week (if not the year).
This one comes to us from the tragically, hilariously misnamed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its news agency, KCNA (don’t even bother clicking on the link if you want to retain your sanity).
According to the amazing release we’ve captured via screenshot below, archaeologists representing the DPRK and its Very Important History Institute “have recently reconfirmed a lair of the unicorn rode by King Tongmyong, founder of the Koguryo Kingdom (B.C. 277-A.D. 668).” Note the use of the word “reconfirmed”–it was there all along, but they just had to make sure.
Does it get better? Oh yes.