Steal 4 SEO tips from the search giant’s own releases
Google issues few press releases: 13 in 2013, 17 in 2014 and just 10 in the first eight months of 2015. Most of them are earnings releases.
So when Google announced that it had acquired Nest, the release itself gave some insights into what Google rewards in releases.
Here are four techniques to steal from Google:
1. Write a short, active, hype-free headline.
Google results pages display up to 65 characters of headlines, so keep your headline to 65 characters or less. This one weighs in at 22 characters, including spaces.
When it comes to news, the verb is the story, so make yours strong and active. Note that Google’s verb is acquire, not a “PR verb” like announces, introduces or launches.
Skip the hype: Nobody searches for “unique, award-winning, best-of-breed gizmo,” so adjectives and adverbs take a toll on your SEO efforts. Take a tip from Google, and make your headline hype-free.
2. Rethink links.
Remember the glory days, when PR pros could stuff their releases with anchor links, secure in the knowledge that as those releases got posted on news portals and other sites, the client would reap the rewards in the inbound links that make up 75% of SEO results?
Those days are gone.
In our David vs. Google world, the giant always wins. In this case, Google’s 2013 algorithm update took on link schemes. Now, Google penalizes releases that use this approach.
That doesn’t mean you can’t include links in your release: Go ahead. Just be sure to include the NOFOLLOW attribute, which tells search engines to ignore these links. You’ll reap no reward, but you’ll also pay no penalty.
But note that Google includes no links in most of its releases, including this one.
3. Use plain, active language.
I’m sure Nest is “the leading home automation producer of programmable, self-learning, sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors, and other security systems.”
But “Nest’s mission is to reinvent unloved but important devices in the home such as thermostats and smoke alarms” does a better job of reaching humans — and search engines.
Keep your language simple and clear. Write about people doing things, not about “us and our stuff.”
If you can’t find a verb in your release, you’re on the wrong track. Notice these short, active verbs in Google’s release: reinvent, built, buy, save, keep, bring, fulfill, join, build. What verbs are in yours?
In fact, this release is so clear, you can almost read the legalese at the end.
4. Keep it short.
Google’s release is 223 words long. Folks, 400-word releases are so 1994. If you’re not putting a stamp on it, keep your release to 200 words or so.
Google’s approach works. The Nest acquisition story appears on 6,440 web pages and on 183 news sites.
What’s in your release?
Thanks to Stephen Kenwright of Branded 3 for bringing this release to our attention.
Reach Readers Online
Reaching online readers is complicated:
- Google’s algorithms seem to change daily, pitching websites whose writers don’t keep up into search results hell.
- Every hyperlink is a decision readers need to make — to click or not to click?! — distracting them from your message.
- Reading online is so onerous, it can cause symptoms ranging from eyestrain to back pain, from cognitive overload to — gulp! — death.
It’s enough to make a communicator pine for print!
In this environment, how do we Reach Readers Online?