What Do Google Really Think About Press Releases?
Well….we all now know what Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, does on his Christmas day. And I’m pretty sure it’s the same as most of us – post on the Google Webmaster Help forum. No, you don’t? Strange.
It’s pretty good of him to be honest, though it is a bit wierd also. And apparently it’s actually a Cutts tradition, and he does it every year. I know where I’ll be next Christmas day!
With a single line comment on a fairly innocuous thread (to view the entire thread in question click here), Matt has managed to stir up the entire SEO industry, with many a debate and argument generated since. This, in no small part, is attributable to the intentional vagueness in his delivery.
On a post regarding the value of press releases towards SEO, Matt had this to say;
“Note: I wouldn’t expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however.”
Now, there are, and have been many in SEO that have used press release websites as a form of link building. Write a press release – it doesn’t matter too much if it’s not newsworthy – include a couple of external links, submit to a non-discriminatory press release website and wait for your rankings to improve.
From Matt’s comment, it seems clear to me that this form of “PR solely for the benefit of SEO” is what he is targeting. Many have believed for a while now that Google does not take great value from the external links to a site from the press release website itself. Many so called press release sites do not have the greatest quality control, and in essence a link from those sites is no better than a paid link on any other site.
However, this is no sly announcement of a Google update – Matt is clearly just stating a fact of their algorithm. Therefore this news really should not affect your current marketing strategy. Press releases still have great value and should not be ignored because of this comment.
If done correctly, press releases are an effective method of letting the wider public know about your news. But only if you ensure that your content is newsworthy. This a big ‘if’ too – many will write a press release on a topic that really isn’t news to anyone else but the writer. So what is newsworthy? Maybe an introduction of a new product, that was backed by research into a given field. Maybe the start up of a new company.
The goal of a press release should be the enhanced visibilty of your message, not the increase in your rankings. Journalists still use press release websites, and if they see your content and like it then hopefully they’ll include it within whatever news medium they work with – be that online, print or other. Don’t expect a link, even a citation will give your site and company great value.
And don’t not include a link either – you want your target readers (journalists, influencers and customers) to be able to find out more about your company, and your website is the best way to do this.
To conclude; if you feel you have a newsworthy announcement that you want to promote then you should include a press release as part of your marketing strategy. It will only help the visibility of your message. If you go in with this attitude then you have nothing to fear – and who knows, if it’s good enough you might even gain a few rankings too