Matt Cutts: Links in PRweb releases no good
Matt Cutts clarified in the Q/A of his post about Rand's Newsweek article that anchor text links in prweb press releases (or releases in general) offer no linking value in Google.
"And I doubt Rand was expecting any direct PageRank impact from Avatarís prweb.com press release."
"a legit press release can get you written up by reporters, or editors/sites may subsequently choose to link to your site. But the actual content of the press release itself doesnít directly affect a site. For example, on [gives example release with anchor text links] those hyperlinks donít help avatarfinancial.com (in Google)."
I think a misconception many people have is where the link value really is, as a result of distributing press releases. It's in the pickups, not the release itself.
Good news to hear.
In my opinion it's pretty stupid that anyone would ever submit a press release just for link building or SEO purposes. Either have something people really want to hear about or just shut up. That's not the point of a PR so don't it.
The only time a anchor text link in Prweb is going to benefit you is if and when someone picks that articles up and post it to their website with your anchor text remaining. As stated anyone who does press releases for the sole purpose of link building is wasting good money. These releases in my opinion are better served as a way to increase your sites traffic.
I was talking with the lead editor today at PRweb and was just talking about this same subject about articles building links. In this discussion it was relayed to me that PRweb may be increasing their prices to include anchor text links in the articles to $240 per submission. This in my opinion will weed out a lot of people trying to release news articles for the sole purpose of building links. Our real estate company does use anchor text in the articles but we use it to point the viewers to the appropriate pages as it relates to the press release.
I agree with Lee's assessment, press release aren't good link builders. They "used to be" though if you did them right. I have a some sites that are still getting links from sites that picked up the releases long ago. Today if I do a press release for a client its for one: reputation management, or two to optimization for seasonal keyphrases, or three: they have something interesting to say.
One of the interesting things to watch is the press releases that come out of the SEO/SEM industry. Some companies think its there natural born right to send a release out every week on everything from Jim gets a P.O. box to XYZ company signs said clients, to releasing dumb articles and white papers on basic SEO topics and so on. I have to wonder how many people actually read all the silly releases they send out and if at any value they have for the actual news.
You are 100% right, but I will say most people probably do read them if there is a catchy heading. Another point you brought up is an issue we have in the real estate industry. You get Jane, Dick and Spot doing a press release on we just flushed our gold fish down the toilet content.
I say if you dont have anything of true interest to the public dont do a press release. The other issue and I have to laugh about it is when you have someone who does a release on a good topic and then someone turns around and copies that topic and just rewords it. That is a waste of consumers time and will lead the consumers who look for press releases to stop because of the same old content.
Interesting subject. I also read Rands interview and then Matt's "critique" on it and was wandering about benefits of press releases from seo point of view... its really ridiculous what people do nowdays.. just look, alsmost every single small business has a blog where they blog about them blogging and linking to their sites while blogging... PRWeb was a great marketing idea on driving legit traffic - now its a "junk articles" distributor. I did a press release once for my own site and it was read 44K times, picked up by about 1550 resources and printed out 16 times... well, I was really pleased to see that picture, but when I searched for my press release, I was upset to see how many content scrapers and junk sites picked up my release - majority just trash...
Press releases are great traffic drivers and they built great links for us, too. We got lots of industry coverage for avatarfinancial.com with that release Matt pointed to, and over 1000 visitors that morning throuhg Google and Yahoo! news. I'm with gemini - you can get amazing value, despite the many scrapers.
Rand Fishkin - CEO & Founder of SEOmoz, a community resource dedicated to providing news, information, tips, tools and more for those in the SEO/M industry.
We send about 50 press releases per month and have been using the tactic of optimizing releases since early 2003. While there has been a significant increase in scraping of press release content, it's still a valid tactic for distributing news. Although, pitching journalists directly is far more effective.
Many sites and blogs walk a fine line between scraping and syndication, which is particularly easy with PRWeb releases since they offer RSS feeds for each release, or group.
Despite that, and I agree with Rand and Gemini, press releases can deliver many things for an online marketing campaign. In the same way that interesting content attracts links to web pages, compelling news generates the the most pickups and links. Sending out crap dilutes the newswire's credibility and likelihood of being taken seriously.
Ha, I'm sure Rand can have that "fixed" pretty quickly. - BTW, thanks for the interview Rand!
I would note that the vast majority of the releases we send out are in concert with traditional public relations activities - i.e., getting clients visibility in print as well as online publications. Only about a third are limited to online PR and SEO focused activities.
In fact, one of the things we track for offline public relations clients are rankings and referrals for certain target phrases. No SEO work of any kind is performed on their web sites whatsoever. I many cases rankings have increased significantly for their most important keyword phrases as a result of latent pickups in electronic form: web pages, pdf files, word docs, etc.
I do believe the future of effective link building involves traditional public relations and activities ala Eric Ward more than many realize.