by Fred Godlash, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire
2013 has been a monumental year for search, with some of the biggest changes in more than a decade happening with Google. Earlier in the year we saw some game-changing modifications for how links are treated in a press release, including improvements to how quality content is ranked. The latest algorithm, called Hummingbird, focuses on user “needs” versus answering a string of keywords. The update is a significant change transitioning from a keyword based, Boolean search, to what is referred to as a semantic search- meaning the search engine can understand conversational, mobile-friendly speech queries. Here are the big changes you should be aware of when writing your press release.
Google is using a semantic mobile-friendly search
Hummingbird favors conversational speech, meaning long-tail keywords are your friend when writing a press release. If you do a Google search for “Chinese Food” you now get a map with local listings of restaurants in your area even though the keywords alone do not equate to eating locations. The same semantic idea is true for writing a press release. Content in the release should be intuitive enough to answer the user intent in the query. Make sure to include quotes, which are useful for conveying everyday speech and for answering anticipated questions. Also make sure your targeted keywords are incorporated into a natural language flow.
What about links?
Quality links are still very important for SEO, they should however, be used with the intent of providing additional relevant content that your audiences are likely to share, and that’s providing you with valuable earned links. One great way to capitalize on the recent algorithm changes is to link your FAQ page in the boilerplate of the press release. A FAQ page is full of useful answers to potential queries that may be asked of your brand.
Hummingbird now has a knowledge graph
The knowledge graph is yet another example of how Google is transitioning from a keyword search engine to an answer engine. Google takes information about your brand from Wikipedia and your Google + account to give users a quick snapshot of your company or person. Here are Wikipedia editing guide lines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Editing For individuals, keeping your Google + account up to date is imperative.
Google moves to a secure browser but consequently limits keyword data.
A common complaint we now hear from communications professionals is that they can no longer find keyword data in Google analytics to help them target keywords for a press release. Google says they have restricted keyword data for user security, but we believe the change is part of Google’s search evolution. Keyword data restrictions push public relations professionals to focus on content that is in line with how users ask questions in real life.
Keywords are still important for SEO and there are plenty of options for tracking press release performance and keyword indicators. Free options for keyword research include using Google Autocomplete, Google Adwords, and using social media sites to find popular keywords. Pay options include using a distribution network, such as Business Wire, that provides analytics, including social media research for in depth discovery.
Authorship of content is important
Hummingbird emphasizes trust, authority and user history. This means receiving author credit for all content is important for future success with search engine results. Make sure to tag all original content in Google + and use Google’s authentication code for original content on your owned media. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2539557?hl=en
Finally I want to leave you with the SEO periodic table from Danny Sullivan. This is by far one of the easiest guides to SEO best practices I have seen in a long time.
(Chart courtesy of Searchengineland.com)
- Focus on Content
- Claim Ownership of Your Content
- Use Conversational Speech
- Link to FAQ Page
- Update Wikipedia and Google+ Accounts
Give us your feedback. What SEO tips work for you?