June 10, 2016
Topics: Usability, Public Relations, Media Relations
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June 10, 2016
By Ryan Malone
In 2013, Google added new parameters to its Webmaster guidelines, indicating that overly optimized press releases may violate linking guidelines and harm search engine rankings for businesses.
Does your business use online press releases to get the word out about company news, products, and services? Read on to find out how Google’s linking parameters have changed and what your business can do to avoid penalties.
Here is the example Google gives in its webmaster guidelines to illustrate a problematic press release. This example shows a press release excerpt from a company providing wedding services.
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.
In the example above, you may notice there are five links pointing to one domain, “www.example.com.” The anchor text for all five links includes major wedding industry keywords. In the past, using keywords to point back to a home page was an SEO best practice. Now Google is indicating this type of linking in a press release is “unnatural” and warns webmasters and marketers to shy away from these types of links in press releases.
Ultimately, Google wishes to improve the quality of content in its search results. The search engine wishes to promote natural content and demote content (like the example above), which is created solely for SEO purposes.
Here’s what your business can do to optimize press releases and avoid Google penalties for unnatural links:
Use Press Releases Naturally: PR and SEO experts are not advising companies to stop using press releases altogether. News releases are still a great tool for connecting with journalists, media outlets, and investors. Organizations should continue to use press releases to build awareness but not as part of a link building strategy.
Are press releases a part of your ongoing marketing strategy? Please leave your questions or thoughts about press releases and SEO in the comments below and we’ll be happy to respond.
About the author
Ryan Malone is the founder and Chairman of the Board of SmartBug Media and is a veteran of Deloitte & Touche, Seagate and several venture-backed technology companies. When he's not leading SmartBug and helping clients build high-octane marketing organizations, he's loving his wife and daughters and unsuccessfully learning the guitar. Go Terps! Read more articles by Ryan Malone.