Press Releases No Longer a SEO Tactic?
Are you using press releases to get backlinks to your website? That technique may not work anymore says Matt Cutts of Google. On a post in the Google Webmaster Help forums, Matt says:
“I wouldn't expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however.”
The use of embedded links in press releases has been used for many years to help a website rank high in the search engines. Because press release directories tend to have high pagerank and they are considered "trusted" sites by search engines, a link from a press release can send a great deal of link juice to a website.
In the world of SEO, there are people who are going to ruin it for the rest of us. The internet is filled with junk press releases that are used solely for backlinks and now we're left to filter out the junk from real news. It’s surprising the number of online marketing agencies out there who solely use press releases to build backlinks to their site, so it's understandable why Google would shy away from promoting press releases as a SEO tactic, but whether or not it will actually happen is for us to test out and decide.
It could be a case of people taking one sentence from Matt Cutts and going off the deep end. Alan Bleiweiss of Search Engine Journal says:
“By taking a single simple snippet and spinning it into a comprehensive position statement is a serious flaw in the search industry and a major contributor to sites continually being hammered by Google, or continually focusing on tasks they shouldn’t be focused on.”
Perhaps Google will weed out press releases from free press release sites, but still count those releases that are published on sites like PRWeb where you have to pay to include a press release.
If Google Stops, So What?
Even if Google were to stop giving benefits to links contained in press releases, that still should not stop businesses from using releases as part of a SEO campaign. Back in the good ole days press releases were used to share news about your business and that concept will probably continue for many more years. You want people to know more about your business, right?
If you upload a press release to a site that doesn’t give you the option to include a link to your website, there’s still a chance that the content could make it to the first page of Google. This could bring more exposure for your business, especially if the news is compelling enough that people share it through social media channels. Google and Bing confirmed awhile back that Twitter and Facebook links do influence SEO based on a few factors including the people/entity sharing the news, which Google refers to as “Author Authority” and Bing refers to as “Social Authority”.
Moreover, let's not forget that there are plenty of news channels, influential bloggers, and authority websites out there still looking for news to share with readers on their websites. If they publish your press release with the embedded links, who is to say that your site can’t benefit from those links?
Going Back to the Basics
As we’ve learned over the years, producing unique, value-based content has been and probably always will be the “King” of the internet. Staying focused on the basics and not being distracted by hearsay will make you far more successful than knowing everything there is to know about SEO.
The “basics” include sharing information that is helpful and relevant to your business and building links from tried and true sources. After all, information is what most people are browsing the internet for. If you have information that goes beyond what every other website is sharing, people will pay more attention. And if they pay attention, they’re more likely to share that information.
The bottom line is that we may never figure out Google’s true algorithm and whether or not press releases will be given any weight in the future, so SEO professionals or site owners shouldn’t become too obsessed with what the search engines are doing and hang on every statement they say.
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