According to Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder of SEO-PR, CNN was the top news site a year ago, followed by MSNBC, then Yahoo. "Today, Yahoo is #1, getting more traffic than the other two," he said. "AOL is #4, while Google News is #14. News is one of the categories where Google is actually a trailer, not a leader. Still, Google is an A-list to target."

Why are search engine marketers spending money in search engine advertising and optimization, including news search optimization? According to SEMPO, the main reason is to increase brand awareness. "A lot of people think that search engine marketing (SEM) is only about generating leads, which is important right after driving traffic to your site and right before selling things online," Jarboe continued. "But branding is really a process. If you really want to be successful in this new category of news search, understand that ranking is just a first step. Ranking well for a two-month old press release will not matter as much because news search depends on timeliness."

After timeliness, Jarboe recommends the fundamentals, including search-friendly copywriting and keyword research. "Most companies do not even know to do simple things to the content such as including a keyword in their main headline," he said. "Without it, chances of getting a highly-ranked press release are pretty slim. Also, the press release must be written has to be in compelling, persuasive English. Always write for human beings."

Other news search engine strategies that companies can incorporate are Web analytics specifically for news search engines. "We track all the way down to how many leads were generated, how much of that converted to sales, what kind of revenue, cost of optimization, ROI, and so forth," said Jarboe.

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