Google’s Panda 4.2 algorithm rollout, which began over the weekend, continues Google’s commitment to rewarding high-quality, user-focused content with higher rankings.
Here are three easy tips for optimizing your PR content for better results:
1. Go long. Many PR pros got used to writing short content because press release services provided a surcharge if copy ran over 400 words. Google now scans short content and assumes it doesn’t contain much useful information. The result is that shorter content doesn’t rank as well.
It’s now better to “go long,” says SEO-PR Chief Executive Greg Jarboe, citing a favorite football phrase. “Go ahead and write 600 to 800 words—whether for a press release, blog post or summary of a white paper behind a paywall.”
2. Use synonyms. Google will penalize you for keyword stuffing, which is using the same search term repeatedly in copy. It rewards what has always been a good writing practice: the use of synonyms.
“If you’re going to use one word or phrase in the first sentence, use a variation in the second sentence or graph,” Jarboe says. “Google understands what synonyms are and rewards them as good writing that’s more likely to be of interest to readers. The result is a higher ranking.”
3. Get visual. You’re missing a huge SEO opportunity if you aren’t adding photos and videos to your content. Over 55 percent of Google search results now include videos and over 40 percent include photos, according to Jarboe.
The most important element to optimize in photos is your caption. Make sure to plant your two- or three-word key phrase at the beginning of your caption copy, Jarboe says. “The same rule applies to YouTube titles. They can only be 100 characters long, so make sure your key phrase is at least in the front third of your title.”
Jarboe’s big SEO takeaway for PR pros is that your normal writing skills are more of an asset now than ever before, because Google rewards well-written content. So, stop writing for what you thought Google wanted—and start writing well again.
Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. SEO-PR’s Greg Jarboe and Rutgers University’s Peter Methot discussed more search engine marketing tactics in the PR University webinar, “The New SEO for PR: Skyrocket Reach and Budget with Optimized Content.”