Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Press Releases and SEO

Search Engines and News Distribution - The Basics

It is the goal of search engines to help people find relevant content online including news content. It is the role of services like PRWeb to help people disseminate relevant news-oriented content online - search engines as a consumption facilitator, news distribution services as a production facilitator.
Now, everything else really stems from this core symbiotic relationship between search engines and news distribution services.

Tactically, search engines use different types of algorithms to determine what is relevant to a query. What distinguished Google in the late 90s was the PageRank algorithm, which placed a lot of value in the importance of back links in determining the relevance of a page.

Now, since then, the algorithm has changed quite a bit. These changes have been spurred for proactive reasons (breakthroughs made by Google’s ├╝ber-talented engineers) and reactive reasons (to combat black hat SEO tactics). For instance, the practice of selling links or ‘link farming’ has compelled Google to make tweaks to their algorithm so these types of practices result in negative and not positive gains for perpetrators.

Anchor Text

Now let’s take this one level deeper and look at the concept of PRWeb’s usage of anchor text as a tool for search engine optimization. As the Google Webmaster blog states, “Writing descriptive anchor text, the clickable words in a link, is a useful signal to help search engines and users alike to better understand your content.” In other words, the anchor text helps explain to search engines affinities that may exist between keywords and a Web site.

On a simplistic level, PRWeb takes content from an originator and then moves it around the Web and gets it to people who consume that content and then often do something with it (like write about it). When they receive this content it includes the anchor text and when they discuss the content from the news release, more often than not they will include that anchor text in their hyperlink. Over time, the aggregate of all these individual bloggers, Web sites, etc. using anchor text and linking back to a destination site will have benefits for that destination site.

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