11 May 2012
Posted by Jennifer Angell
There are several action items you can take with your newsroom to improve your ranking with search engines. This blog post will focus on the following core fundamentals:
  • URLs
  • Meta Data
  • Tagging
  • Cross Linking
  • Social Media Exposure

URLs

The format of your URLs is key in helping with search engine optimization. Google and other popular engines benefit if your URL structure is something unique for each page, press release, blog post, executive bio, etc. You also achieve an extra benefit with easy to remember URLs. For example, your main press release section can typically look like this: http://newsroom.tekgroup.comsection_display.cfm?section_id=1. By implementing the SEO Title in your section tool for your Press Release section, you can change that to something that is both meaningful to the search engines as well as to your target audience: http://newsroom.tekgroup.com/releases/. The biggest gain with using the SEO Title is to give Google the impression that each press release is a separate web page on the server. When Google comes across a URL that uses the first URL method above (section_display.cfm?section_id=1) it realizes all section pages are ran through the same template so to speak and does not count each section as a separate page in its book.
 
The same principal can be applied to your press releases, “In the News” articles, bios, blog posts, etc. For example: http://newsroom.tekgroup.comarticle_display.cfm?article_id=3883
 
To do this, simply provide a value to be used as the last part of the newsroom URL in the SEO Title input box in your section and article tool. Because this value is used as part of the URL, you cannot use any spaces or special characters. Keep the value to strictly alpha numeric as well as + or – in place of spaces. Many people opt to use the headline as their SEO Title with dashes replacing the spaces. NOTE: when using the press release tool, the system automatically adds the .htm.  Here's an example of the SEO Title form field in use:
SEO Title Input Box
 
TIP: this can be automatic every time you add a new section or press release. Ask your Client Service Manager to turn this feature on for you.  Care is taken that URLs are not duplicated during this automatic process.
 

Meta Data

Meta Title, Meta Keywords and Meta Description are all tags applied to the source code of the web page at the time the page is being viewed. These meta tags are hidden to the human eye, but bots such as Google, read them as they scan each page on your site when indexing the content into their search collection. They use these meta tags when indexing your content as well as displaying a snippet of the page in their search result set.
 
Meta Title: this is automatically set by the software, so you do not have to worry about it. The platform assumes the Section Title and the Press Release Headline as the Meta Title value.
 
Meta Keywords: we suggest this be a group of 4-5 comma delimited keywords about the article. Example: 
Meta Keywords and Description
 
Meta Description: this is a short phrase summarizing the press release or section. It could very well be the first sentence or two of your abstract or sub-title.
 

Tags

Tagging is a new feature in our most recent newsroom platform. Tags are a collection of keywords that you use frequently across the content of your newsroom. These tags can be applied to press releases, article, bios, photos, videos, etc. They are a set of core keywords that you control across the various moving parts of your newsroom. Each of the content tools has a “Tags” input box on the form. We recommend you provide 4-5 tags for each content item. As you being to type, the input box will suggest other tags spelled similarly that you’ve used in the past. Over time you’ll build what we call a tag cloud, which is a list of the most popular keywords across the site. Tags applied to the press release will appear at the bottom of the article as hyperlinks, that when clicked, execute a search to bring back all content items on the site tagged with the same keyword. This is an easy way for your end user to grab a collection of article, photo, and video all referencing the same theme example: “journalist survey”.
 

Cross Linking

Cross linking is defined as applying hyperlinks within your content to other pages on your newsroom. As search engines spider your sites, they click on any link you have within your content as well. Link popularity is one of the factors involved in determining how valuable your page is, which translates to how high up your page appears in search engine results. Avoid linking words such as “click here” to read…. Instead, apply the hyperlink to the phrase/term that describes the page you are taking the user to. For example, hyperlinking the “Online Newsroom Survey” phrase below will take the users to TEKGROUP’s webpage for information on our popular Online Newsroom Survey results. We recommend adding 3-5 hyperlinks within your content to relevant pages on your newsroom as well as back to your corporate site to give your corporate site a boost in SEO. Ask your IT team to return the favor with pages on your corporate site linking back to relevant press releases and section pages.
 

Social Media Exposure

Promote your press releases on your corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts easily within your newsroom’s maintenance site. Provided you have done the necessary housekeeping with linking your social media sites with your newsroom, you can Tweet and Facebook in one shot within the press release tool. See “How to Integrate your Newsroom with Twitter” and “How to Integrate your Newsroom with Facebook” blog posts articles for those housekeeping tips. Google uses tweeted links and retweets (RT) as a signal in their organic and news search rankings. In addition, many users are using Twitter as a search engine in and of itself. If you have major breaking news, chances are people will be searching for it on Twitter.
 
So, how do we do this within the newsroom? Simply provide your 100 character or less “tweet” in the “Post to Twitter” input box within the press release tool and select the twitter account you wish to tweet to (you can setup more than one). Provided your article is live with a valid release date, it will appear in your twitter feed within a few minutes.  Example:
Posting to Twitter
 
Facebook is also easy once you complete the connection setup. Simply check off the checkbox for Facebook under the Social Media Feeds list to automatically post your article to your connected Facebook wall provided the article is live with a valid release date.  Example:
Posting to Social Media Feeds such as Facebook
 
Tip: Did you know that TEKGROUP maintains industry Twitter Channels that your press releases may be candidates for? Ask your Client Service Manager how to gain more journalist exposure by publishing your press releases to our StoryStream Channel or one or more of our other industry channels: 
Adhering to these best practices while publishing new content to your newsroom is a great start to get a handle on SEO.

Final Tip:  if your newsroom is currently behind a login, reconsider opening it up to the general public.  If you are only allowing journalist users to enter, Google can't get in either.  Your SEO footprint will be non-existant.
 
Instructions given here represent the most current online newsroom platform brought to you TEKGROUP. If your newsroom is not an exact representation of what I’ve described, perhaps it’s time to think about upgrading. See your Client Service Manager for any questions about this post and/or upgrading today!
 
Jennifer Angell
Client Service Manager
TEKGROUP International

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