In the article “Guest Posting has ceased to be legal,” we wrote that Google updated the section “Link Exchange Schemes” to include artificial “links with text optimized for search engines placed in articles and press releases published on external resources.” Some content marketers and search optimizers have taken a negative view of Google’s innovation, as it prohibits some of the usual link building methods.
Indeed, the world's largest search engine directly called links in press releases artificial. The acclaimed search spam fighter Matt Cutts recommended everyone to close such links with the nofollow attribute. What does this mean for business projects that use press releases to increase the visibility of their resources in search engines?
Is this important news for SEO and content marketing? Go guess!
The world's largest search engine has long been trying to deprive press releases of any significance in terms of SEO. If you go back to 2006, the links from the press releases greatly increased the position of the sites in issue. In 2013, the role of such links decreased significantly, but they nevertheless had a positive effect on the position of resources in issuing prior to these updates in the “Link exchange schemes” section. Obviously, now the publication of press releases with links has lost its meaning.
But what about previously published releases that have links that fall under the new definition of Google’s artificial links? Will a severe search engine punish websites that are referenced by thousands of previously created documents with anchor links? Perhaps content marketers should use a neutralizer?
Brands for many years published press releases on third-party sites in order to get external links. Removing these documents or neutralizing external links also takes far more than one minute. Moreover, content marketers simply will not be able to remove press releases from many old sites, aggregators and linkwashing machines.
In addition, it is not known how a sharp decrease in the external reference mass will affect the resource position. Definitely one thing is clear - the latest innovations from Google will have a very negative impact on the business of sites that provide services for the publication of press releases.
Do not optimize links, focus on news feed and site quality.
Content marketers and optimizers are guessing in the coffee grounds what to do with previously published press releases, as well as how to publish them in the future.
As for further work with press releases, brands should be aware that this type of informational message has the right to life, despite any updates to search engine algorithms. Of course, if these messages are not similar to the example discussed in the article "How not to write press releases."
Publish press releases if you have a really important news story. Carefully choose a site for publishing a press release. Send your messages to industry media and leading online portals in your region. Be sure to include one or two links in the press release. Just close them with the nofollow attribute. You should be interested in the direct transitions of users that you get due to the quality of the sites and the importance of the news feed, and not search engine optimization of the site.
For reference: the American edition of the New York Times published the first press release in 1906, and its author was the famous journalist and founder of PR Ivy Lee. Until the mid-1990s, brands predominantly published their releases in authoritative print media. So, press releases existed long before the advent of Google, so they will exist after updating the search algorithms.
Digital way of press releases: it's not just SEO
Updating the Link Exchange Schemes section has a positive effect on content marketing. Now, marketers will recall that a press release is not one of the link building tools, but a means of disseminating important information. It should not be used to cheat PR and TCI, but to interact with journalists and consumers.
Bloomberg, Reuters, AP, Dow Jones, Lenta.ru, Vedomosti, and other online media receive thousands of quality press releases every day, many of which turn into equally good news. Many news resources independently explore sites for publication of releases, for example, PR Newswire or AllToday.ru, select the most interesting messages and turn them into news notes.
Do not forget that the information disseminated through press releases, gets into social networks. It generates user interaction with brands, shareings, subscriptions. Press releases make your company news visible to users of search engines, news portals and aggregators, as well as social networks. They give you natural transitions, views, clicks, and not external links for rating.
How can you optimize press releases?
Using press releases to disseminate information about your business, you can optimize them, but this is not about search engine optimization. Adapt your news feeds for live users. It is much more effective bet on search robots.
When optimizing press releases, use the 12 recommendations listed below:
- Add links closed by the nofollow attribute. They will help interested readers quickly navigate to your site.
- Make press releases interesting, informative, and convenient for consumers and journalists.
- Try to make the press release visible to search engines and social network users. To do this, add 1-2 key phrases to the release text.
- Use the press release as a teaser that will attract users to your website or blog.
- Use a press release as a teaser for journalists that encourages pen workers to turn a release into a great news article.
- Include useful information in press releases. Of course, the format of the press release does not imply the publication of a full-fledged consumer guide, but you can easily include a brief step-by-step instruction.
- Install new contacts with releases. To do this, at a minimum, include your contact information in press releases.
- Publish press releases only if you have really important news about the activities of your company or the industry as a whole.
- Include photos or videos in the release. The Internet allows you to move away from the classic format of press messages.
- Make a video message for the press. Use YouTube or Google+ Hangouts for this.
- Create a press release in infographic or multimedia presentation format.
- Publish the release on social networks. Perhaps this is how you will quickly receive a response.
So, Google considers press links as artificial. Therefore, do not use press releases for the sake of obtaining external links, calculated on the manipulation of search results. Avoid anchors saturated with keywords. In extreme cases, close them with the nofollow attribute. Also avoid overloading the release text with search phrases. Remember, a press release is a tool for interacting with the media and consumers, not a search engine optimization tool. In this case, you can use it to promote projects and avoid search engine sanctions.