The traditional SEO press release is dead. You know the press release I’m talking about…the one stuffed with targeted keywords and that includes optimized links with keyword-rich anchor text back to your website. It wasn’t that long ago that press releases were a valuable link building tool. But with all of the algorithm changes Google has made in recent months, things have changed greatly. And if you’re still using the old link building tactics in your press releases, you’re going to do more harm than good.
Let’s rewind to a couple of months ago. Google updated their link schemes webmaster guidelines. Whenever you violate Google’s linking guidelines, you could face stiff penalties, which means your site’s rankings will drop off the face of the earth.
So, when Google updated their link schemes guidelines, one of the areas they focused specifically on was press release links. Here’s a brief rundown of what their new guidelines say about linking in press releases:
“Additionally, creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines. Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that violate our guidelines:
- Text advertisements that pass PageRank
- Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank
- Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For example: ‘There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.’
As you can see, Google now equates press releases to advertisements, and therefore, they see the links in press releases as paid links. According to their guidelines, you need to take steps to prevent paid links from attempting to pass PageRank, and the way you do that is by “adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag.”
Press Releases Still Matter
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “The press release is dead!” Stop. It’s not. The press release is alive and well, thank you very much. Don’t believe me? Just ask Google’s John Mueller, one of the company’s lead Webmaster Trends Analysts.
SearchEngineLand.com reports that according to Mueller “there is still great value to using press releases. The goal of the press release is to get the word out to the press about your new service or product. When the press hears about what you have to offer and if/when they decide to write about it on their own sites, those links do not need to be nofollowed. In fact, those stories written editorially are the links that Google values the most.”
Adjust Your Links Going Forward
eReleases along with our newswire partner, PR Newswire, have been using nofollow links in all of our press releases for nearly a year now. We saw the writing on the wall, and adjusted our approach accordingly.
If you’re distributing press releases online, here’s what you need to do with your links going forward:
- Don’t use keyword-rich anchor text
- Add the nofollow attribute to your links
- Stick to navigational links (e.g. “For more information, visit www.ourwebsite.com” or “Click here to learn more.”)
- Focus on creating high quality, newsworthy press releases that other sites will want to pick up
What are your thoughts about the current state of the press release? Leave a comment below to let us know.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here: http://www.ereleases.com/7cheaptactics.html