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An Update on Our Editorial Guidelines - Search Engine over Optimization


There has been a great deal of discussion online lately regarding search engine optimization techniques which produce over optimized content. In short, over optimized content is content that is not readable in a natural language.

SBWire has always taken the readability of a press release into account for our content scoring system, however we felt that with search engines evolving rapidly in this area, it was time to address this issue with an update to our editorial guidelines.

There are two major factors we are asking our clients to focus on, the first is readability and natural language, and the second is keyword over use.


Press releases must be easy to read with clear language and easy to understand ideas. When the viewer reads your press release there is a natural flow to the content.

In an effort to develop a search engine ranking for a web site based on a specific keyword or set of keywords, there is often a misconception that you must include your keyword in every link’s anchor text. This is not necessary and in most cases makes the press release difficult to read.

Additionally, there is often the idea that it is best to replace the name of a business with a search term.

Let us take the example of a used car dealership “John’s Used Cars”. They are located in New York, NY and they want to rank high with the keyword “Used Cars”.

In their press release they have the following text:

Used Cars in New York, is pleased to announce that they are now offering …

In this case, “Used Cars in New York” is linked to their web site, primarily for the perceived benefit of search engines, while not offering any value to the reader.

Another example of this unnatural language would be:

First time car buyers will find used cars of New York credit application…

In the above case, “used cars of New York” is linked. Another example:

First time car buyers will find New York used car dealer’s credit application…

Again, the content is not readable and is designed for search engines and not human readers.

Keyword Stuffing:

The practice of keyword stuffing can take on several methods. In general keyword stuffing is the over-use of a keyword in your press release content.

One such technique is adding a set of keywords to the content which have no value to the content such as:

Used Cars, Used Car Dealership of New York offers…

As you can see, both “Used Cars” and “Used Car Dealership of New York” are not natural language for a press release and have no value to a reader. In this case the text should be:

John’s Used Cars offers…

Another technique often used is to have a high density of usage for a targeted keyword in the press release. In this case, the term “Used Cars” gets used over and over with no really natural language value to the content.

Optimize Your Content for Readers:

The best way to make sure your content is not overly optimized is to ask yourself, “Does it sound funny?” If it does to you, it will to readers.

Make sure your press release is naturally written with links only inserted to the natural text, and not as a separate thought from the content. Make sure the purpose of your press release is to convey an event, update or change from your company or organization and not solely to influence search engines ranking.

Always keep in mind one of the best ways to develop new traffic is to create quality press releases which users want to share and thus link to your site.

Actions we are taking today:

In the past, an overly optimized press release received a lower quality score but was still in most cases published; beginning today we will not publish overly optimized press releases.

If we determine a press release to be overly optimized, we will send it back to the submitter asking them to modify the content to make it readable to human visitors.

If you have any questions or feedback on this editorial policy change, please contact us.

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