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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?

 

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.'

Planet13




msg:4598932
 9:58 pm on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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


I believe nofollow means "I am not linking SOLELY because I think this web site has AWESOME content. Instead, I am linking because of some sort of an arrangement with the website owner."

When Matt Cutts said use nofollow for sites that you can't vouch for, I don't believe he was implying ONLY use it for sites that suck.

He was saying, in my opinion, use nofollow whenever there is some sort of an arrangement between the sites.

~~~~

Anyway, if a site's backlink development / page rank acquisition strategy is paying for press releases, then they probably have bigger problems to worry about. It's extremely lazy. Any of their competitors can easily replicate that same backlink acquisition strategy, and then they would be back to a level playing field.

Better page rank acquisition strategies would leverage their own key competitive advantages and core competencies.

FranticFish




msg:4599005
 6:37 am on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ Editorial Guy
Two of the four examples you gave are still people not vouching for the link because they think it'll hurt them to do otherwise. I think we could rule out mistaken attempts to hoard PR on a site whose function it is to cite sources of news, and I can't think why you'd use 'nofollow' just for the sake of it.

@Planet13
I am not linking SOLELY because I think this web site has AWESOME content

If I want to cite a piece of content, does it follow that I enthusiastically endorse the recipient of the link? I might be criticising, satirising or just plain referencing rather than linking because the site has 'awesome content'.

Google's official guidance on 'nofollow' gives three main areas that you'd use it for:
- untrusted content
- paid links
- to keep search-unimportant pages out of the crawl allocation

If no money has changed hands, a press release doesn't seem to fit either of the other two definitions.

Better page rank acquisition strategies would leverage their own key competitive advantages

The best quality sites I see niche B2B press releases on only feature news that is of interest to their readership (they wouldn't, for example, feature a press release about a web design agency that now offers Joomla websites).

Wouldn't you call the ability to generate real news of interest to lots of people a competitive advantage demonstrating a core competency?

EditorialGuy




msg:4599078
 2:35 pm on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

FranticFish:

You're overthinking this. The bottom line is pretty simple: If you're going to distribute press releases en masse on the Web, use "nofollow" in the links. Google will be happy, you'll avoid the risk of losing Google traffic, and your ability to distribute news won't be affected. What's the downside to that?

adder




msg:4599080
 3:03 pm on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just to add my 2 cents, if you're submitting a press release and unticking the "distribute to journalists" option, (hint-hint), you're doing it wrong.

Now, to hijack the thread, there was this bit by Piatkow that caught my eye:

As a magazine editor I don't have time to go searching web sites for press releases, its your job to put it in my inbox!


I do put it in your "inbox" but you move it to your "deleted items" without even opening it :)

The only way I can get you to open it is if you already know me, which involves me attending events, meetups, networking sessions etc. And in the meantime I have to try to form relationship with 100 other journalists.

All I'm trying to say is that PR is difficult for a small business because forming relationships with journalists is time-consuming (but very rewarding)

What is your thoughts? Do you ever open unsolicited press releases?

markd




msg:4599081
 3:29 pm on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

In the scenario I outlined previously, the client submits 'text' without code. It's up to the host website how they publish this. I did have a conversation with a quite large, well-known website about nofollow and I may as well be talking in a non-native tongue. They also said that they couldn't implement any such changes without a blanket change to their system for publishing this kind of content (which they were unwilling to do).

Whether you believe this or not, it does illustrate how difficult it is for a legitimate company undertaking PR to legitimate news and industry sources to try and stay on the right side of Google. Isn't it about Google actually 'rewarding', or at least not penalising, news stories which appear on trusted, industry leading news sources? Any such press releases would have already passed the sites' own review process and not auto-published without any kind of editorial control.

jimbeetle




msg:4599083
 3:53 pm on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

If no money has changed hands, a press release doesn't seem to fit either of the other two definitions.

Yeah, but John Mueller specifically stated that Google considers press releases a form of advertising. So what we think doesn't really matter, does it?

Sitting around gritchen' and moanin' seems pretty unproductive at this point. Our job now is to take what Google has said and do what is in the best interests of our clients, or our own sites, whichever applies.

EditorialGuy




msg:4599084
 4:08 pm on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you ever open unsolicited press releases?


Yes, all the time. Unfortunately, most of them are useless because they're about subjects that our site doesn't cover. (Fictitious examples: Press releases about guinea pigs, iguanas, and parakeets sent to the editor of a site named for-dog-owners-only.com.)

But that's really beside the point. Google's guidelines are clear; you can respect or ignore them, depending on how much you care about organic search traffic from Google.

Planet13




msg:4599092
 6:19 pm on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Sitting around gritchen' and moanin' seems pretty unproductive at this point. Our job now is to take what Google has said and do what is in the best interests of our clients, or our own sites, whichever applies."


+1

~~~~~~

Really, it don't make me no never mind. Keep sending out press releases with dofollow links until google sees the error of their ways. Let us know how THAT goes.

EditorialGuy




msg:4599162
 12:22 am on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I keep thinking of the old country song, "I Fought the Law, and the Law Won."

rish3




msg:4599182
 3:51 am on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

That's several comments that imply those of us that are unhappy with this direction would knowingly put clients in harms way. That's not really a productive discussion either.

FranticFish




msg:4599206
 9:09 am on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Forgive me for not liking Google's point of view as expressed in an interview that differs from the published guidance on their website!

I am not in the habit of taking risks with people's websites or their reputation in Google; I doubt anyone here is.

fom2001uk




msg:4599253
 4:06 pm on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does anyone still use "optimized anchor text" in press releases ? We know these don't work now and they may even get you in trouble now. But press releases are still useful and a valid marketing strategy. And they still retain some SEO value (hint : you don't need anchor text to rank). So, until that changes, I'll continue to use them (sensibly).

Planet13




msg:4599266
 5:36 pm on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

"And they [press releases] still retain some SEO value..."


And I think that is what google is DETERMINED to eliminate and / or punish.

And I am sorry if some people don't like it when I voice the opinion that you are quite likely putting your client's site in jeopardy by putting dofollow links in a press release. You don't have to believe it if you don't want to. It's a free country.

rish3




msg:4599324
 9:59 pm on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

And I am sorry if some people don't like it when I voice the opinion that you are quite likely putting your client's site in jeopardy by putting dofollow links in a press release.


There's a difference between disagreeing with a guideline, and breaking a guideline in such a way as to potentially harm a client.

adder




msg:4601811
 11:51 am on Aug 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've been looking at some WMT messages lately and I can confirm that on some occasions overdoing Press Releases with keyworded anchors can land you a manual action: [webmasterworld.com...]

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