Thanks for the advice Christine, can you share your top three sites for posting PR ?
Local Business SEO: Leveraging Online Press Releases For Positioning and Backlinks
A common misconception about online press releases is that they are only effective for businesses that are trying to reach the entire globe. That is so completely opposite from the truth and that's why I'm writing this article today.
"I don't need an online press release because I only cater to a local market..." When I hear this from business owners and PR firms and have to take a breather before replying! A common misconception about online press releases is that they are only effective for businesses that are trying to reach the entire globe -- but that is so completely opposite from the truth and that's why I'm writing this article today.
Search engines have gotten better at displaying localized results than ever before. At the same time, search engine users have become very well versed in using search engines to find local solutions.
Someone in Golden Colorado searching for a financial planner might search for "Golden CO financial planner" verses just "financial planner." They know from using search engines that localizing their search will produce more targeted results. And if you've got content published that is optimized for that search term (notice I said "content" not just "a website"), you can put your company in front of them at the exact moment they are searching for your solutions.
How Online Press Releases Result in Improved Rankings In The Search Engines
The press release ITSELF can rank well in the search engines if you optimize the title for your target keywords. For example, a PR titled, "Golden CO Financial Planner To Offer 20% Off Financial Plans Throughout February," can rank well in the search engine results for the term "Golden CO Financial Planner" if submitted to a press release site that is optimized for SEO. Now when people search for that term, they have a chance to come across your press release content....
But that's not all.
You also want your WEBSITE ranking for that term as well. Without getting to heavy into the mechanics of what makes websites rank higher in the search engines, a significant factor in where your site ranks is driven by inbound links FROM other sites TO your site. The best kind of links are those that are embedded in the words that you want your site to rank for (this is called "anchor text").
Generally speaking, the more quality, keyword-relevant, anchor text links that point to your site, the better your site will rank in the search engine results for those keywords. Depending on where you submit your press release, you can include anchor text links in your press release to boost the inbound links to your site.
Not only do you get anchor text links from that one press release, some online press release sites will syndicate your PR out to many OTHER sites with the anchor text still in tact. This means lots of relevant anchor text links to your site.
Improved visibility in search engines isn't the only benefit of local-optimized online press releases. Online press releases offer benefits that can lift your local business to a higher level of visibility and therefore profitablity. Here's how:
Local Media Coverage
Suppose most of your customers come from your surrounding community. For example, you might operate a local gym, grocery store, car wash, or steam cleaning business. Your community likely has local newspapers and radio stations, which present opportunities for exposure. The challenge is getting the attention of reporters and editors.
Journalists aren't so different from you and I. They use search engines to find information too! The search engine is the best thing that has happened to journalists in centuries. Local journalists are always on the lookout for newsworthy stories that will be interesting to their readers. Radio stations
When they are searching Google or Google News for local happenings in your area, they can find your press release if you've optimized it correctly. Because your company caters to a local customer base, press releases about new contests, promotions, and community events, offer a perfect fit. This translates into more coverage for your business.
Clearer Distinction From Your Competitors
Consistently publishing online press releases helps you differentiate your company from the competitors and gives your company a bigger "presence." Let's say a person searching for a financial planner in Golden Colorado finds two of your competitor's press releases, their website, and their Merchant Circle profile for their company with some positive reviews. They do find your website listed among the items. Which are they more likely to think is the dominate provider in the area? Whether you're better than that competitor or not, the people usually perceive the company with the most mentions and the most exposure to be the leader.
The internet has given small business owners a way to gain quick, lasting exposure to a worldwide audience. This is one of the reasons online press releases are such a powerful promotional tool. When they are written well and distributed to the right sites, they can rank well in the search engines, generate strong anchor text backlinks to your site, and capture the attention of journalists and bloggers. It is surprising that so many smaller companies assume press releases don't fit into their marketing plans.
Should online press releases have a place in your marketing mix given that you cater to a local customer base? Absolutely. Realize that online PR generates momentum for your small business that can lead to a boost in visibility and therefore, sales and profit.
Learn more about the author, Christine OKelly.
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Updated Feb 21, 2011
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