Is The Effectiveness of Optimized Online Press Releases Declining?

Greg Jarboe, one of the original practitioners of optimized online press releases, posted an article on Search Engine Watch, “Is the Social Media Press Release a Meatball Sundae?”

In it he talks about the effort to turn online press releases into a social media submission vehicle. So far it’s been a miserable failure and will likely to continue to fail as he explains.

There’s no doubt that the effectiveness of online press releases has diminished over the past two years because of the explosive growth of submissions (it’s much harder to get noticed than it use to be) and due to the growth of social media. So press release practitioners have been trying to turn them into a social media vehicle. (read Greg’s article for a little more on this).

We still believe that online press releases are well worth the effort (they’re a relatively low cost marketing tool). However, they should be just a part of an online marketing campaign that includes focusing on social media as appropriate too.

We continue to see excellent short and long term results from online press releases. Here’s an overview of how optimized online press releases work and short and long term benefits.

Sort Term benefits of online press releases
Of course the initial and primary purpose of a press release is to help get the news out about a newsworthy topic to industry journalists, related web sites, etc. who may run the story on their sites or in print.

Depending on the service used, the press release gets indexed on Google News, Yahoo News, and other news sites within hours. The press release is then available to be found in searches on the words and phrases contained within the press release on these news search sites. This usually results in significant numbers of additional people reading the press release. In fact, more people look for news items on these news sites than they do on the press release submission sites.

The online press release is also mentioned on hundreds or even thousands of sites that display news headlines. These links can entice people to read your press release too. 

The initial affect of an online news release runs its course very quickly. The majority of the “views” of an online press release take place within the first week. This is because the news search engines ‘skew” the position of news results in large part based on the date of the news item. A press release that may have ranked in position 1 for a specific search term in Google News on the first day may be off page 1 within days (depending on the competition for that search term).  In addition, the sites that display press release headlines typically only display them for a day or two.

Long Term Benefits of online press releases
The press release is kept live on the press release submission sites for years. The links to your web site from the press release (depending on the service there are usually two or three related sites that display the press release) can continue to bring traffic to your web site for years and may help improve rankings.  (See Strategic Link Building for more information about the effect of incoming links)

We often see industry related web sites add the press release or parts of it to their web sites (such as in new product showcases, etc) often including embedded links to your web site. These “mentions” can remain online for some period of time (sometimes for years as they are often moved to archives). These links can continue to bring targeted traffic to a web site and they may help improve the rankings of web page/site they link to.

Within a few days to a month an online press release usually gets indexed into the main Google, Yahoo and other search engine databases. Once this happens the press release is available to be found in searches on the words and phrases in it. Of course how well it will do in these searches will depend on the competition for the phrases.

Once is Not Enough
One optimized press release may help bring targeted traffic to a site, but press releases should be part of a longer term campaign.

A series of press releases over time can have a dramatic effect on traffic and rankings. See Optimized Press Release Case Study for results from a actual client campaign.

Build a Media List
As you roll out a campaign of press releases it helps to try to ensure that important media outlets are aware of the press release. If you use an Advertising/Marketing firm check with them to see if they can help you build a media list of the important media outlets. Typically they (or you) will send the press release to the correct contacts at each outlet early and follow up with them (A little personal touch always helps). Building up a media list like this over the course of a few press releases can dramatically improve your ability to promote your news items.

Build Relationships with web sites that run your news items
Some months after a press release has been released we search the web for our clients to try to identify what web pages still contain a mention of an online press release. We can then contact the web site owner to start building a relationship with them if there’s a fit, consider other promotional opportunities with them (newsletter sponsorships, articles, advertising, etc) and add them to the media list.

Add an archive of press releases
After you have a few press releases it can help to archive them on your web site, providing links to them so the search engines (and humans) find them.

For More Information –

Our Online Optimized Press Release Service

Optimized Press Release Case Study

Our Srategic Link Building Service – About the importance of having other sites link to your web site and how we can help.