With Google’s recent release of Panda 4.0, panda-monium has hit publicists, making their jobs increasingly difficult as they have to alter their press releases to make sure proper exposure is still generated.
While there are some filters that Google has enacted that can’t be bypassed, here are some methods that you can enact to optimize the reach and viewership of your upcoming press releases.
1.) Write your headlines for humans:
Your headline is the number one incentive for readers to choose to open and read your release, so it is in your best interest to write for the reader, and not for the search engine. Keep your headline clear and concise (no more than 70 characters long) and make sure it is engaging!
2.) Use, don’t abuse, keywords:
One of Google’s biggest innovations was the ability to have a conversation with its users and to anticipate their questions – now it is critical for publicists to try and anticipate the users’ questions as well, and not just input generic keywords into their releases. This will help to target the correct audience for your release. Use Google’s intelligence to your advantage!
3.) Don’t overcrowd your release with links:
Since Panda 4.0’s release, having a surfeit of links in your release is most likely going to hurt your ranking, and it’s definitely not pulling an increase in viewership. Only include links if they enhance your message, increase the viewers’ understanding, and provide additional information to the story. If not, leave the links out.
4.) Multimedia isn’t an option, it’s a necessity:
In this day and age, it is critical to have a variety of multimedia embedded in your press releases. Text only won’t cut it if you want to make yours stand out! The simplest elements to add are photos – they’re easy to implement, eye catching, and can really assist in the development of your points. Videos are also a great method to relay your message, but make sure the video downloads quickly – a slow video is one of the quickest ways to dissuade readers. Along with pictures and videos, infographics are a trending method to convey information, while keeping the reader entertained with color and images. All of these various methods can be employed to increase readership by an average of 5-10 times (as opposed to text only headlines).
5.) Timing, Timing, Timing:
With a press release, timing is everything. It’s critical to think about what time is good for the topic and the audience that you’re writing for. You should rarely ever send a release out at 4:00 pm on a Friday because no one is going to see it. If you’re writing for editors, try to target a time well before their deadline or meetings to optimize their use of your story. If you want to target a general audience, consider when and where they will be online, and send out your release then. Timing is one of the key factors to actually reaching your target audience so don’t overlook it’s importance!
And just remember, Panda 4.0 is designed to give the reader the best results for his or her search, so keep your release natural and designed for humans and you should be ready to roll.
How are you altering your press release style to capitalize on Panda 4.0?
** Written by Consumer Public Relations intern Sara Boretsky, business administration and marketing majors at Boston University (Class of 2015).