Posts tagged ‘SEO’

November 4, 2010

It’s a news release, not a novel.

We’re in the business of communication, but we could stand to do a little less of it. According to Mark McClennan, Senior Vice President and Research & Measurement Lead at Schwartz Communications, public relations professionals are simply being too wordy.

He speaks in length about the billions of dollars spent on search engine marketing and optimization in 2010, and the actions taken by practitioners that undercut these efforts.

News releases will always play an integral role in communications. McClennan added, “an optimized news release can vault to the top of search results and attract the attention of key influencers.”

The Schwartz Communications Research Group/Business Wire researched how well professionals are doing with release optimization. The group analyzed the headlines of more than 16,000 news releases issued over Business Wire in a 31 day period.

Findings revealed “only 18.4% of all releases have headlines with 65 characters or fewer (which will fully display them in Google).” This does align with a common SEO suggestion to keep all headlines under 70 characters. McClennan also stated:

The majority of releases are under 150 characters, but 2% of releases had headlines in excess of 300 characters, with one headline that was over 1,000 characters. The shortest headline was 18 characters, which is also probably not ideal for SEO as it’s unlikely that enough of their keywords were included. Overall, the analysis found the average headline length to be 123 characters.

Other surprising findings from the study found:

  • Companies located in the tech hubs – Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Austin, etc- often do the worst job of optimizing headline length. The releases from New York, Philadelphia and Chicago were the best at keeping headlines short.
  • We love buzzwords – but not in headlines: While PR people overuse buzzwords at least we don’t use them in headlines. Only 14% of releases have the most common buzzwords in the headline.

Moral of the story? Keep it simple, Stupid. Effective communication can and should be done with brevity. In order for more individuals to see our messages, we must condense.

McClennan sums it up best by suggesting:

1. Keep the release headline under 66 characters so the whole thing can be displayed in Google Search.

2. Keep the headline under 23 words so that it can be displayed fully in Google News.

3. Favor keywords over buzzwords whenever possible.

What do you think: In six words or less (ha, I’m kidding), are PR professionals being ineffective communicators by simply saying too much?


Source: PR Pros: Stop Cramming Everything Into the News Release Headline