Why do we publish press releases and write articles? Because we want to get ourselves and our brands ‘out there’ — so that ultimately customers will notice and trust us! It’s a great to reach out to reporters and editors directly, but it doesn’t hurt to hedge your bets and use SEO to your advantage too. After all, journalists AND customers hop on Google to find sources and story ideas!
Today’s guest post by Shanna Mallon of Straight North will bring you up to speed if you’re just starting out with SEO. These are common industry terms and phrases that you really need to be familiar with! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments section. We are happy to help you get more visibility online!
9 Key SEO Terms and How to Use Them
Trying to make your way through the world of search engine optimization (SEO) can be a dizzying task. There is so much information out there—how can you figure out what you really need to know and why? What matters? How can it affect you? To help answer those questions and demystify the realm of SEO, here’s a glossary of some of the field’s most important terms. These are the key aspects of SEO that are worth knowing, along with helpful tips on how to use the knowledge of these terms to benefit your brand!
1. Anchor Text
Anchor text is basically the clickable text of a link that takes readers to a related webpage. For the best SEO, all press releases need to include keyword-optimized anchor text. It’s a great way to point readers to more information and delivers measurable results, as you can track how much traffic comes to your site through a given link.
Helpful Tip: Today, the best practice in press releases is to vary anchor text on links that point to a particular page.
Backlinks are the incoming links to your website, drawn from unique places all around the Web. Search engines use the number, variety and quality of these links to help determine your search rankings—that’s why, every time you write a press release, you want to include links to your website in order to benefit SEO.
Helpful Tip: The backlinks you post in your press releases should direct to relevant pages within your website, not just the home page.
3. DoFollow / NoFollow Links
Dofollow links are normal Web links, the kind with the most SEO value. Nofollow, on the other hand, are links that a website tells search engines to ignore; as a result nofollow links have little or no SEO value.
Helpful Tip: Ideally, you want to publish your press releases through a service that includes dofollow links in order to help you improve SEO rankings.
Keywords are the words and phrases people type into search engines to find your website. Much of SEO strategy revolves around targeting the right keywords to bring in the most traffic. There are two main types of keywords: Fat-head are the most popular, most frequently searched-for terms (like “company,” for example). Long-tail keywords are less commonly searched (such as “Chicago Internet marketing company,” by comparison) but are much more specific, meaning they usually bring in a higher quality of relevant traffic.
Helpful Tip: In terms of press release SEO strategy, it’s very important that you don’t always go for the most highly sought-after keywords. Long-tail keywords, being less competitive, may move you to first-page search results more easily.
5. Meta Description
Meta descriptions are the short write-ups, usually under 160 characters or so, placed beneath title tags in search engine results. While they don’t carry SEO weight, they do pull in readers, making them crucial to page views. Your meta description is like a little call to action.
Helpful Tip: When you publish a press release with Online PR Media, your summary becomes your custom meta description, so use that to your advantage! They really do influence clicks.
6. Meta Title Tag
The meta title tag is the HTML title of a webpage, which doesn’t appear visibly on the page itself.. The purpose of a meta title tag is to communicate to Google and other search engines exactly what a page is about. To Google, the title tag is like the book title and synopsis all rolled into one.
Helpful Tip: Optimize your meta title with your most important, relevant keywords to make sure Google will connect your page with those topics. On Online PR Media, your press release title becomes the title tag of your published page — so using keywords here is important.
Through a complex algorithm involving various factors, Google calculates the importance of every webpage in order to assign it a PageRank. PageRanks influence placement in search engine results pages, which determine search-based traffic. It’s important to remember that just as every website has a PageRank, so too every press release service does. When you distribute a press release through a given service, some of its PageRank will be passed through to your site.
Helpful Tip: Choose a press release service with a high PageRank in order to gain the most SEO value from the links in your press release back to your site.
8. Search Algorithm
Search engines like Google use algorithms to calculate the importance of individual webpages (what Google calls PageRank). The most important and recognizable variables involved in this process include number and quality of backlinks, meta title tags, keyword placement, age of the domain, internal linking structure, page/side loading speed and social shares.
Helpful Tip: Work to optimize your press releases to make the most of all the factors search engines consider.
9. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
A search engine results page is the page that lists results when you type a certain term into a search engine. A site’s ranking on a SERP determines how much search-based traffic it will receive.
Helpful Tip: Google adds new ways to segment SERPs all the time, such as its “news” search subcategory that subdivides results from news outlets. That’s why it’s more valuable than ever to get company news placed in local, regional, national and international news sites, as well as through press releases.
Have you used SEO to your advantage? How has it worked for you? Did we miss any must-have terms? Let us know in the comments section so that all of our readers can learn!
Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, one of the leading Chicago SEO firms. She holds an MA in Writing from DePaul University and has been writing professionally since 2004, moving from newspaper reporting to real estate marketing to her current role as a Web copywriter and food blogger. Follow Straight North on Twitter.