Hotel Online  Special Report

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 Five Tips for Driving Sales through Search Engine
Optimized Public Relations Writing
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Polly Wade, Director
Search Engine Optimized Writing and KeywordCapital
Softscribe® Inc
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February 28, 2006 - A recent study indicated that 93% of survey participants would conduct online research, primarily via search engines, when making a business to business purchase.  And the majority of click-throughs to a particular website occur when it is one of the first three listings of a search engine’s results.

Statistics clearly show that purchasers are using search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN as research tools in the early stages of their buying cycle, and they are clicking through to the top listings in their search results.  Optimizing your public relations writing can help boost your company’s name to a top ranking on search engines, which increases inbound sales leads and solidifies your brand.  This article suggests five ways to optimize your public relations writing. 

Public relations and search optimization – a terrific match

The process of improving your website’s position in search results is known as search engine optimization.  Google and its competitors rely on high-quality, relevant search results to provide the information users demand.  Google is continually changing the rules to ensure that the websites it delivers in its search results are relevant to what searchers want.   To increase the likelihood that your site will rank high in an Internet search, you can apply these five search engine optimization techniques to your public relations writing: 

  1. Target market analysis
  2. Keyword research evaluation
  3. High-quality content with optimized writing
  4. Link building campaigns
  5. Fresh content via news releases and articles
Target market analysis

Knowing your target audience is critical for an effective search engine optimization marketing strategy.  Who buys your product or service?  How do they get information about what you offer?  What keywords do they type into a search engine when looking for this information?  Invest a brief amount of time to get into your audience’s mind.

Information is readily available about your target audience through survey results, market research, discussions with your sales team or even by chatting informally with customers.  If you have a website, study its traffic patterns using software tools such as Webtrends, Urchin, Index Tools  or Clicktracks.  Most of the popular tracking tools reveal the number of visitors to your site, which pages are most popular, which search engines generate the most traffic, how long visitors are staying on certain pages and much more.  Use this information to better understand what visitors are looking for on your site and as a benchmark for future improvements. 

Keyword research – get into your audience’s mind

Once you know more about your audience and its Web searching behavior, identify keywords and keyword phrases that your audience uses in searches.  Again, get into the mind of your audience.  For example, your marketing material may describe your product as a “compact disk playing system,” but your audience thinks of it as a “CD player.”  Compile a list of possible search terms related to your product or service.  Then, using a tool like Alexa, Google, and Wordtracker®, analyze the usage patterns of each term.  Your goal is to find terms that are frequently searched but have low competition from other sites.  Softscribe provides this service to its clients.

High-quality content with optimized writing

Search engines favor websites that contain useful information about the topic being searched.  Make sure your site provides relevant content, such as Frequently Asked Questions, how-to’s, tips and statistics.  Get creative!

While developing content, keep your keywords in mind but do not get hung up on using them frequently at this point.  Write for your reader first, then – using your keywords - slightly rewrite content for search engine spiders.

Once you are comfortable with your copy, optimize it for the search engines in these ways:  incorporate your keywords into the title, subheads and body content to make your relevant material visible to the searcher while keeping it readable.  Search engines will note this and consider your site for a higher placement in search results.

Link building campaigns

Search engines use links as one way to determine if a site offers relevant content.  If a high-ranking, popular website with important content provides links back to your site, then search engines will consider your site important as well.  This concept, known as link popularity, becomes important as we discuss the next topic.

Fresh content via news releases, articles and blogs

Search engines raise a website’s ranking when the site offers new material; news releases, articles and blogs offer opportunities to freshen your website with high-quality content.  In addition, news releases also let you increase the number of links to your site.  Here’s how: 
When you distribute an optimized news release through a reputable wire service that understands search engine technology, your story will appear in all the major search engine news systems.  Furthermore, by hyperlinking your keyword phrases and company contact information you increase both the number of links to your site and the likelihood of higher placement in searches.

The same principle holds true with articles.  If you write an article and add even one link back to your site in the “about the author” section, then publish it in multiple online outlets, you will have significantly increased your qualified link popularity.

Get to it

There is no question that a high search engine ranking drives significant sales opportunities to your website.  Optimizing your public relations writing is a powerful way to leverage your PR investment to reach a higher ranking and also attract both inbound sales leads and queries from editors.

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Polly Wade is Director of Search Engine Optimized Writing and KeywordCapital with Softscribe® Inc  She has achieved certification in
advanced search engine marketing strategies through Search Engine Workshops.
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Contact:

 Julie Keyser-Squires, APR
Softscribe Inc.
Julie@softscribeinc.com
(404)256-5512
http://www.softscribeinc.com

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Also See: Customer Stories Drive Sales and Reduce Marketing Costs / Julie Keyser-Squires / January 2006
Leading Tech Vendors Drive Sales with Online PR / Softscribe Adds Online PR Product to Fuel Technology Clients’ Sales Growth; Debuts New Website / November 2005


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