Are Press Releases Still Effective for SEO?

Are Press Releases Effective for SEO?

Press Releases have long been under attack by Google. Most Press Release distribution websites are not strict enough about what they allow on their network, meaning most users can quickly and easily pay for a press release distribution with over-optimized keyword anchors and have these posts distributed to hundreds of websites overnight.

Google has a few concerns with this entire process:

Google doesn’t like paid links

There’s no way to skate around it or justify paying for these links; without paying the premium that these press release websites charge to have your links published around to these websites, they will not accept your press release. Google has long made any websites that offers paid links their enemies, and Press Releases have lately crossed through Google’s crosshairs.

Google isn’t a fan of content syndication

Having software that automatically syndicates articles to hundreds of different websites does not look that great in Google’s eyes, and is even in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Not only are these websites not closely related to your website, but the content that is linking to your website across hundreds of different websites is not unique or natural-looking. Google has long since adapted to heavily discount these syndicated PageRank-passing links, and it’s even suggested that these links can hurt you.

Google admitted they don’t benefit rankings

Building hundreds of dofollow syndicated links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Not only that, but Matt Cutts himself recently even said “I wouldn’t expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings“.

Google hates unnatural links with over-optimized anchors

What is one thing that Google hates more than paid links that are syndicated across hundreds of websites? Over-optimized paid links that are syndicated across hundreds of websites. Paid over-optimized anchor text links being distributed to hundreds of websites have caused unnatural link building warnings and penalties for websites, and Google is cracking down harder than ever on these in 2013. This evidence further supports that Google is not a big fan of Press Releases, and may even penalize sites that pay for these.

In my opinion, Press Releases aren’t worth the premium that these websites are charging for them. While the publishers that your Press Releases are being published on may be high domain authority websites, the content they are publishing is duplicate content that is in no way related to their website, and in many cases, these syndicated pages are actually set to “noindex” so that they are hidden from Google completely (many publishers choose to do this to protect their own websites from unnatural link building penalties and duplicate content penalties).

How do you feel about Press Releases? Leave your comment below!

Comments:

  • No doubt a cause of frustration for many agencies. However, content repeated en masse isn’t normally of any great value to searchers, which is obviously Google’s key audience on the SERP, so you can’t help but see the big picture here.

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