While we can’t say for sure, it seems that Google has recently started ranking press releases on major press release sites lower. Research done by Search Engine Land and SEER Interactive found that Google’s recent algorithm update, called Panda, could have hurt press release rankings.
The research shows that press releases on major sites like PRWeb, Business Wire and PRLog decreased in rankings after the update. In fact, Search Engine Land found that some of these sites’ SEO visibility decreased significantly.
- PRNewswire’s SEO visibility decreased by about 63%.
- PRWeb’s SEO visibility decreased by about 71%.
- Business Wire’s SEO visibility decreased by about 60%.
It might be a bit strong to say these numbers show “penalties,” but the fact remains that press releases aren’t ranking as high as they used to. Of course, this could be for a few different reasons, but the decreases are significant enough to encourage businesses to be careful about how they use press releases.
Press Releases are Still Beneficial
Press releases aren’t going anywhere. They are still widely used in the public relations and journalism industries to inform media outlets and publics about news items and events. They are the perfect way to make announcements and keep people informed about business and industry happenings.
But, like other content marketing tools, press releases need to be used correctly if you want to see SEO benefits. Remember when Google warned businesses to use guest blog posts wisely and to provide real value? The same idea holds true here.
How to Use Press Releases the Right Way
There is no reason to stop using press releases altogether. The key to benefiting from them is making sure you are using them the best way possible.
Stick with Real News
Originally, businesses used press releases to tell media outlets about newsworthy stories or information. Stick with this original use and only use press releases when you have legitimate and valuable news to share. Things like new locations, changes in leadership, new product launches and events are great for press releases.
Use Distribution Channels Carefully
Choose strategically how you distribute your press releases. Start by sending them to media outlets and industry bloggers and posting them on your own website. If you choose to publish them to press release sites, only use the highest quality sites.
You don’t necessarily have to avoid the sites mentioned above, but keep in mind that your press releases may not get the highest rankings if you use them.
Choose Value over SEO Optimisation
Like all other SEO tactics, choose value over optimisation. Focus first on providing information your market wants and needs, and let keywords fall naturally throughout the release. All links should be relevant and helpful, adding real value to the press release.
Press releases are an excellent, and in some cases essential, Internet marketing tool. When you keep these guidelines in mind you can use them to drive traffic to your website, earn links, raise awareness, increase rankings and promote your business.