Google Cracking Down on Online Press Releases?

by Wiz

police crackdownThere’s been a lot of talk recently that, in an effort to clean up web spam, Google is now “cracking down” on online press releases. As is often the case, the facts point to a different story.

First off, Google is not interested in press releases, advertorials or online articles per se. They’re actually “cracking down” on link schemes – which they define as links that are intended to manipulate Page Rank or a site’s ranking in the Google search results. In their documentation, Google cites “links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites” as violations of their guidelines. This sounds like the death of press releases, right?

Here’s where a careful reading of the Google guidelines comes into play. Google cites the following example:

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.

One of the things that identifies this as a link scheme is that all the optimized keyword links in the above passage point back to the same site. In other words, this is a blatant attempt to game the search engines into ranking this site for all of these keywords.

So if Google will be scrutinizing them, are press releases still effective? Yes and no. “Yes” if you’re looking to attract leads and build credibility in your market. But “no” if your primary motivation is gaming your SEO.

So what’s all this mean for press releases?

Here at B2B Scribe, we’ve always advocated that an online press release is best used as a lead generator and a credibility tool. A properly written online press release can readily establish you or your company as an expert in the field, and at the same time differentiate you from your competition. And with a strong call to action, it can bring highly qualified web traffic to your site.

But what about links?

It’s only natural that there should be a link or two – including your full URL – pointing back to your website. But one strategy we recommend is to have external links pointing to sites and pages other than your own. No, I’m not saying to send your competitors free traffic! These external links would be to sources that confirm the points you make in your press release; offer additional in-depth information that the reader can visit for further study; or quotes by recognized authorities that support your position.

I know it’s counterintuitive – but these off-site external links go a long way in establishing your credibility with your readers. They not only show that you have confidence, but they also project an understanding of the reader’s internal dialog. You recognize that they may not want to just take you at your word, and are willing to help them verify your points. That inspires trust.

So Google’s crackdown on link schemes not only gets rid of a bunch of web noise, it also helps to restore the effectiveness of a properly-written press release. And that’s a good thing – for you and for your market.

More posts on press releases:

Attracting Prospects through the Online Press Release

50,000 press releases. How to get yours to say, “Pick me!”

 
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Photo credit: “woodleywonderworks” via PhotoPin.com

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