Measured By Unique Visitors
Websites need media exposure (of virtually any kind - small blogs or large international news portals) as it ultimately leads to quality inbound links from authority sites (and let's not forget exposure of our messages and brand to consumers). The formal distribution services are often so similar however that it is difficult to determine on which we should focus our attention. Tracking the number of unique visitors to each of these vendors provides us some confidence that the environment for which we choose to optimize content and media assets is worth the effort.
If you're new to using press releases as a search engine optimization technique, first read WM Contributor Michelle Wicmandy's recent article "Climbing the Ranks with Optimized Press Releases" from our recent May edition. Then, check out the only list you'll need for an SEO PR campaign top Web media distribution services on the Web and some commentary on each vendor.
PRlog.org: Unique Visitors (UV) according to Compete - 947,126
PRLog's unique visitor numbers are pretty impressive and has seemingly played the SEO game rather well as a large portion of its traffic comes from Google (49%). The distribution service is actually (really) free and offers HTML links in press release bodies (which are two of the reasons the unique visitors have doubled over the past year). Highlights include: 24-hour window to publication, dedicated Web pages, PDF version, clickable links, company profile and logo, product images, video press releases, tag based formatting and more. Used strategically, it's worth every penny.
BusinessWire: Unique Visitors (UV) according to Compete - 637,513
Consider Business Wire one of the big three in press release distribution. The company has long held a notable role in media access and now boast some 60 international and national news agencies, financial information providers and Web-based news services galore. The top referring sites for BusinessWire should catch your attention (google.com - 28%, CNN - 4%, and finance portal anotherfp.com - 4%).
PRWeb.com: UV's according to Compete - 536,904
The granddaddy of the Internet press release (media) distribution community seems to be slipping a tad (what do you expect from a 13-year-old company) as it's Web traffic has dropped nearly 50% within the past year with a 30% drop in the past month alone. 20% of its unique visitors are coming from Google and 6% are from Yahoo (2% for Twitter) so if you're pursuing access to those channels this is one of the big three to consider and ultimately the safest, and most recognized vendors among those advocates of SEO PR.
PR.com: UV's according to Compete - 210,436
Another valid opportunity to gain some footing through SEO PR is to leverage PR.com. Free press release options are available (one per month) but the full company profile (ranging from $16 to 41/mo) offers far more valuable features including listings in business, product and service directories, from four to ten free text links.
24-7pressrelease.com: UV's according to Compete - 141,070
Don't be dissuaded by the rather hokey domain name, 24-7pressrelease.com is one of the best distribution services around. While they push their paid distribution packages, if your release meets their criteria (newsworthy, includes credible contact information, includes company name in headline, etc.) the word on the street is that you'll receive some exposure in Google News.
1888pressrelease.com: UV's according to Compete - 141,480
Much like other services you'll find on this list, 1888PressRelease.com offers paid distribution packages and pushes its users in that direction. The free option is a viable opportunity however as PR publishers can include their link in the available contact box.
OnlinePRNews.com: UV's according to Compete - 67,225
Just over one year in business, OnlinePRNews.com is one to watch. Web traffic to the service is growing steadily (as indicated by the chart below) and they offer a free press release distribution service which offers a live URL in the contact area. Upgrading to the next level (the SEO PR Package includes three anchor text links and is ad-free.