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Press Releases - Are they spam?
Jez123




msg:4593189
 11:00 am on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are press releases considered spam now? I want to know as I have one planned for a UK news event about to break but I don't want to risk my already penguin hit site. If they are considered dangerous now. Any thoughts please?

 

FranticFish




msg:4597974
 10:32 am on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

@jimbeetle
Not much wiggle room there

I think there is a little :)

Given the well documented gap between what Google reps say in interview (sometimes off the top of their head) then what Google publishes in official guidance, and then what Google actually DOES in practice I no longer consider MC or JM remarks a more reliable source than any other. Worth considering, yes, but not the final word.

The example on Google's link scheme page quoted by linkbuildr refers to "Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases".

Press releases were around before Google, and if they are still used as they were always supposed to be used (i.e. NOT as a means to syndicate an anchor text link within some non-news) I'd be surprised if they could cause harm.

Just like not all directories are bad, not all link exchanges are bad, not all article sites or blogs or forums or anything else is bad, I personally would bet that not all press releases are bad.

WebWire




msg:4598022
 1:58 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Some have already acknowledged it, but we all must remember that a press release IS NEWS.

Many small companies will convey a personnel change, new product announcement, etc. via a press release, and it may not be significant enough for established media (conventional or emerging) to pick up (defined as writing an original version derived from the release). Should that company be denied the opportunity to put out there news? We believe that the answer is NO.

In fact, our WebWire and WebPost trademark language from 1998 with the USPTO (the trademark officials here in the USA) pertains to a "press release repository" for the purpose of archive and retrieval.

So, despite the clarifications concerning press releases, we know that our intentions are true to what our trademark language conveys, all driven by good original content that will remain online for the purpose of informational retrieval by whomever is interested.

Mike Schwartz
WebWire.com

Planet13




msg:4598129
 4:56 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Some have already acknowledged it, but we all must remember that a press release IS NEWS."

So it is cool to change all the links in those press releases to nofollow, right? Because after all, press releases are for NEWS, not for page rank manipulation.

So for instance, the SEO company who have a press release on your site for their tool, which finds blogs with DOFOLLOW links allowed in their comments. They won't get mad if you change the link from their press release to their site from a dofollow link to a nofollow link, will they?

(Hint, search for "dofollow" in your search bar if you are not sure which company I am talking about.)

EditorialGuy




msg:4598141
 5:46 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

So it is cool to change all the links in those press releases to nofollow, right? Because after all, press releases are for NEWS, not for page rank manipulation.


LOL. Let the shrieks of protest begin. :-)

jimbeetle




msg:4598146
 6:05 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Should that company be denied the opportunity to put out there news? We believe that the answer is NO.

Nobody's denying anybody the right to put out their news.

WebWire




msg:4598151
 6:13 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

On our end, we obviously cannot modify articles already taken onto another server and regarding articles on our server, we will probably give nofollow or not options for anchor links within future submissions, and simply naked links will probably stay unmodified.

Simply put, we will follow the trends that the anti-spam folks put out there, tempered with forums like this. We are doing the best we can, but others were stressing that a press release is simply raw materials for reporters and bloggers, and I say that many times they stand on their own as news.

Mike Schwartz

JS_Harris




msg:4598152
 6:16 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google updated their webmaster guidelines to include press releases - [webmasterworld.com...]

WebWire




msg:4598153
 6:24 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)
Another thought. Big money has gotten into the traditional players in press release distribution. Business wire is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and a big multinational called United Media owns PR Newswire. If their many, many downstream recipients of their un-modified releases have unencumbered links within, well they may have enough muscle to push back on Google to exclaim: "Hey, we're a 75 plus year old industry, let us be" (well maybe not those exact words).

Additionally, the Associated Press pretty much delivers un-modified press releases to many news outlets, and it is a big money maker for them. Perhaps the AP will say, "How about we boycott Google News?". Stay tuned (I'm just saying ...).
EditorialGuy




msg:4598154
 6:53 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebWire: Nobody (including Google) is saying that PR Newswire or AP can't deliver press releases with "dofollow" links to news outlets.

BUT: If they're going to slap those releases up on the Web and they want free traffic for their clients, they should respect Google's guidelines. (That's just common sense)

AND: If they're anticipating that news outlets will republish unedited press releases, they should be making it easy for news outlets to observe Google's guidelines. (That's just common sense--and common courtesy.)

Planet13




msg:4598161
 6:58 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't think that google plans on picking a fight with Berkshire Hathaway, United Media, nor the AP, either.

I simply think that google will further continue devalue / punish any page rank value that is floated to the destination sites from press releases.

In short, google will end up punishing the small companies until it becomes "prevailing wisdom" to use nofollow links exclusively in your press releases.

Some press release companies that have a good reputation for generating media attention will survive.

Those companies whose only value proposition was as a way to float page rank will most likely not survive.

What percentage of PR companies fall into each category, I don't know. Companies that follow your exhortation to produce press releases that "stand on their own as news" will probably do fine.

I would venture to say that they are in the minority, though.

EditorialGuy




msg:4598173
 7:25 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I suspect that most legitimate PR agencies, media-relations departments, and publicists will be happy to comply with Google's guidelines. Why? Because, if the term "press release" becomes a synonym for "SEO spam," one of the important tools in their toolboxes will become useless.

Just as real advertisers don't expect their ads to pass PageRank, real PR people don't expect their press releases to pass PageRank. Public relations is about planting a message in the media, not about manipulating search results.

Planet13




msg:4598181
 7:52 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ EditorialGuy

Exactly!

JS_Harris




msg:4598200
 8:46 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I suspect that most legitimate PR agencies, media-relations departments, and publicists will be happy to comply with Google's guidelines. Why? Because, if the term "press release" becomes a synonym for "SEO spam," one of the important tools in their toolboxes will become useless.


I agree, and I don't agree at the same time.

I agree that legitimate PR agencies will abide by Google's guidelines but I don't think that will stop their press releases from being considered spam. Why not? Because spammers know that if something works they use and abuse it and if that something starts having the opposite effect they continue to use and abuse it on their competitors behalf.

Reprinting press releases without nofollow tags, if that is now being targeted by Google, will result in a new way to attempt to tank a competitor's rankings.

In order for Google to win they need to stop saying something is good or bad, otherwise the spammers know to use it for themselves or against their competitors. Please don't say this isn't a real concern, I have 20,000+ backlinks I didn't place on various spam networks but there they are in my GWT and I'm tired of attempting to have the spammers remove them. I get a dozen spam links for every good link on any given day.

JD_Toims




msg:4598217
 9:15 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

In order for Google to win they need to stop saying something is good or bad

It wouldn't matter if they said a type of linking was good or bad if they "just threw out the bad" and counted what they consider good rather than associating a "negative" with what they consider "bad", would it?

Edited to be more specific.

[edited by: JD_Toims at 9:23 pm (utc) on Jul 31, 2013]

DigiSEO




msg:4598221
 9:21 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Press release articles (submitted by competitors) rank above my site for several terms. In my experience, Google loves them.

helenp




msg:4598237
 10:15 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

not sure what pressrelease is but I am tired to tell google about backlinks from a very big authority site to there other 19 sites, all located in there diferente press release pages in all countries..... Whats funny is that I found them doing a link:domainownedbybrand then I entered the brand and tried to find those press release pages as a user, couldn´t find them....so I guess they were done for searchengines.
It is ok to mention brands I understand, such as google, amazon etc. well this brand doing domain crowding is tripadvisor.com, .co.uk, .whatever as they are present in nearly all countries. I am just sick of these big brands trying to dominate the market using spam.

MikeNoLastName




msg:4598240
 10:34 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

When we get a press release or snippet of a press release which contains ANY links, we automatically delete almost all HREF tags. So if there is a keyword anchor text or company name it stands alone afterwards. If there was a w3 URL which was previously surrounded by an HREF it remains (without the AHREF tag) for the assistance of our readers to cut and paste into their browser if so inclined. Last I heard G has NOT decided to penalize those yet. The only exceptions are well established non-profit orgs which we use our discretion at leaving the HREFs around an address or official name. This also greatly reduces the chances of winding up 12 months from now with 50% no longer existing linked pages which have been deleted by the owner or a domain bought up by a spammer and converted to something it was not previously.

Getting back to the main topic, is G saying these kind of links hurt the linking site or the linked-to site or both?

jimbeetle




msg:4598244
 10:47 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Getting back to the main topic, is G saying these kind of links hurt the linking site or the linked-to site or both?

Google is saying that since the press release links are built by the site owner they are considered similar to advertisements and should be nofollowed. Google then considers press release links that are not nofollowed "unnatural," thus the website linked to can be subject to a penalty.

Since you deal with press releases I suggest you watch the video and hear exactly what John Mueller says. Firsthand is always best.

helenp




msg:4598246
 10:55 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google is saying that since the press release links are built by the site owner they are considered similar to advertisements and should be nofollowed. Google then considers press release links that are not nofollowed "unnatural," thus the website linked to can be subject to a penalty.


so then the links I am talking about are unnatural, however they do count as backlinks in google, from one big brand to another brand among other smaller brands.....

EditorialGuy




msg:4598263
 12:00 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Press release articles (submitted by competitors) rank above my site for several terms. In my experience, Google loves them.


Doesn't the announcement suggest that Google won't love them in the future? (I'd assume that Google wouldn't have added press releases to its guidelines if "press release" spam had no influence on search rankings.)

scooterdude




msg:4598279
 1:13 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

So with these updates, have they finally banned all editorial links

[support.google.com...]


Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For 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.


The paragraph above potentially covers any editorial link you can get
Then would it be down to the individual reviewer to decide?

rish3




msg:4598281
 1:20 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nope, he [John Mueller] flat out said that all press release links should be considered advertisements and should be nofollowed.


Interesting, since Google doesn't nofollow links in their own press releases.

EditorialGuy




msg:4598285
 1:48 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

So with these updates, have they finally banned all editorial links


They aren't banning editorial links, they're warning against SEO-driven links in "articles or press releases" that are distributed on other sites--which they also describe as "links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page." (My italics.)

Real PR people aren't going to be inconvenienced by this; they can simply nofollow their links, and their ability to deliver a public-relations message won't be affected.

rish3




msg:4598288
 2:09 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

They aren't banning editorial links, they're warning against SEO-driven links in "articles or press releases" that are distributed on other sites


Like this
article <snipped link> that's distributed to other sites <snipped link> and contains popular anchored search terms within links that aren't nofollowed?

(point being that we can't always control where things we write show up, and what the site owner will do in terms of applying rel=nofollow)
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 2:42 am (utc) on Aug 1, 2013]
[edit reason] removed links to specific articles, per forum Charter [/edit]

rish3




msg:4598296
 2:49 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

So it has some context, the links in my post above were links to a Google-produced article with do-follow links, with rich (money term) keywords pointing at their properties. It wasn't a press release, but rather an article that was "curated" by various other sites.

Google also has tons of press releases out in the wild, pointing to their sites, with "dofollow" links. Most are bare url's, but if you dig a little, you'll find some with money term anchors.

What rips me is that when they introduce a new rule, they don't "grandfather" the stuff that's out there already. And, as mentioned above, they are guilty of the same behavior. As are many other big brands.

But, guess who gets immunity? Big brands. Because their sites have enough "authority" to earn forgiveness.

/rant.

Rosalind




msg:4598368
 10:22 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Unedited press releases are surely duplicate content. So Google should already be able to filter out these dofollow links. The fact that we're having this discussion suggests that Google really needs to up its game in terms of detecting what kind of content is on the page, and deciding how to flow pagerank.

FranticFish




msg:4598371
 11:01 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Exactly. This appears to me to be Google saying 'We can't spot syndicated content, please help us.'

Notice also how in these instances Google always EXPECT OTHER PEOPLE TO DO something (rather arrogant) instead of announcing that THEY HAVE ALREADY DONE something.

To my mind a company that was on top of the situation and not trying to pretend that it was not only the entire search industry but also the internet in general would be saying something like 'We noticed that people were gaming press releases with optimised anchor text, so we've decided not to count links within syndicated content.'

markd




msg:4598863
 5:28 pm on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think it again shows that Google is the tail that wags our collective dog...

We have a number of b2b clients who specialise in leading edge science. They publish press releases and distribute to respected scientific websites (and their printed journals) NOT to get 'back links' or benefit from SEM as the prime objective, but mainly because they have a good story and want to reach their community with their information. They will include a link back to their website which provides more information on the subject matter. They also use a news service to distribute their news (printed and online) for the same reason.

Many of these are published on these sites (which have strict editorial policy on the quality of the content they publish) simply because they provide good information which is useful to the readership of the site.

Are they now to stop this in fear of Google throwing the baby out with the bathwater for organisations like these? God forbid that they might have a big news story which is picked up by a lot of sites in their industry. Surely the BBC must be worried?

Google, for all its much vaunted algo must be able to differentiate between news release spam which says 'if you want blue widgets, or a blue widget maker, then blue widgets are right here...' and on and on, from organisations who provide quality news releases which will rightly gain attention, backlinks etc. from the site which publishes high quality, industry-relevant news.

It does make me weep that one search engine can influence the activities of organisations so fundamentally who may both want to publish news and have the audacity to hope that their website may be found in searches relevant to their business activities...

Planet13




msg:4598906
 7:54 pm on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Are they now to stop this in fear of Google throwing the baby out with the bathwater for organisations like these?"

No, but it would certainly be a good idea to nofollow any backlinks in the press releases.

Since they are doing the press releases for the "right" reasons (publicity instead of page rank manipulation) I am sure they won't mind that the backlinks are nofollowed.

"It does make me weep that one search engine can influence the activities of organisations so fundamentally who may both want to publish news and have the audacity to hope that their website may be found in searches relevant to their business activities..."

As someone who remember what search engine traffic was like BEFORE google became the dominant player in search, might I remind those who weren't around that it was, to put it mildly, CRAP!

Yes, webmasters do things to please google.

But it was a lot harder when webmasters had to try and please google AND yahoo AND msn AND inktomi AND Lycos, etc.,

FranticFish




msg:4598915
 8:35 pm on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wait a moment. Doesn't 'nofollow' mean 'I don't vouch for this website?'

So why should the publishing site (for it is their link and their decision) 'nofollow' the link?

In the scenario described by MarkD above, a site that only features REAL NEWS has made an EDITORIAL DECISION to feature some content that they think is interesting. The content is genuine, the link is therefore genuine and freely given.

That fact that it is syndicated does not make it abusive.

Surely the more sites that pick up on the release the more interesting it must be. This is a perfectly natural way to measure popularity and sentiment at an expert level, so why the heck should PageRank NOT flow from those sort of links?

If the comments in the interview are to be believed (as opposed to the official published guidance, which focuses on abuse of anchor text) Google is asking expert editors to say that they DO NOT VOUCH for the sources of the news that their readership subscribes to them for! That's just plain cracked.

How about they fix their own flipping algorithm rather than trying to get others to do it for them eh?

EditorialGuy




msg:4598929
 9:38 pm on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Doesn't 'nofollow' mean 'I don't vouch for this website?'


That's one meaning. It also can mean:

- 'Somebody paid for this link or the text in which it's embedded,'

or...

- 'Our commenting or publishing software automatically 'nofollows' all links, so don't assume anything,'

or...

- 'I was reading SEO for Dummies by Complete Idiots, and it said I can hoard PageRank and score higher in Google if I add rel="nofollow" to my links.'

And sometimes, 'nofollow' can simply mean 'Don't follow this link.'

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