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Google update renders free press releases void

November 23, 2013 - 11:00pm -- richard

 

Until last month, a company or individual could upload a 'press release' to a free press release website with a decent Google Page Rank and catch some of its link juice, boosting their keyword positions in Search Engine Results Pages...

More potent results still could be achieved through extremely expensive Online Visibility Packages from other Press Release Distributors. Here, for around £300, they would ping your press releases across a couple of hundred news websites (or at least obscure corners of them) and provide some link-backs... that is, before your release vanished from those sites some weeks later.

Public Relations professionals would then point out to clients the widespread 'pick-up' their release had 'achieved' across this multitude of impressive-looking websites, which might include the likes of Google News, Yahoo! Finance and Marketwatch. One or two of these results would show up under a Google News search, but clicking on the link it brought up would lead to a sort of internet desert that real readers of that website's content would never visit.

To prove the point ... I once heard of a client asking their PR how to find their new press release on a big news site they had seen they were running on from a Google News alert, because their PR had paid an online press release syndication service to put it there.

The PRs response, finally, was to have to tell their client the press release couldn't be navigated to from anywhere on the site by a person - it could just be identified in a Google News search if you pasted the release's headline into the search bar.

'So what if no-one can find an SEO press release that's meant for search engine's crawling spiders?', I hear you ask. 'It's not like it's a proper press release containing an important communication someone needs to get out to journalists?'

Firstly, no newsroom journalist would ever visit the backwaters of these syndication sites to see such a press release. Secondly, Google has just decided to pull the plug on using this sort of online syndication of press releases as a link-building strategy.

Google's new guidelines on press releases explain how they are restricting use of keywords as optimised anchor text to link back to a website or blog.

"Links with optimised anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites,” now violates their guidelines, they stated.

Key here are the words: “distributed on other sites", in so far as using online press release syndication sites is concerned.

For many in the online paid newswire release business it means previous SEO rewards are now changing to penalties, in a major drive by Google to improve the content of press releases.              

The search giant is, in short, weeding out the companies and brands looking for an easy (and they would argue, unethical) way to elevate their rankings in Google SERPs.

Adding "rel=nofollow" to ALL links (not just optimised anchor text/keyword links) before sending the release to a distributor will reduce the prospects of punishment, however. And non-keyword linked headlines, intros, and products may still be - and should be - optimised, regardless of the clampdown on optimisation elsewhere, where it’s used to manipulate ranking results.

Despite all this, Google does believe there is great value to using press releases. But a press release should be exactly that - a medium of getting a message out to the press about your expertise, new service or product with the ideal outcome being that the press will then write your press release up and link back to you without using nofollow - a link that search engines will reward you with, tangibly. If you're in any doubt about that, look at the index Page Ranks of news sites like the BBC or New York Times, longstanding 9/10s on the Google-respect-o'meter.

Presswire has never offered the wholesale paid-for syndication of press releases across sections of news sites, and never will. We distribute client's press releases to the most relevant journalists, so your message receives maximum exposure so you can clinch mainstream or trade media coverage within your target market.

If you'd like to hear more about how we work please use the live chat function below, or drop us a note here, and we'll be happy to discuss how we can help you.

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