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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?

 

aakk9999




msg:4593209
 12:12 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you are concerned and the press release is for visitors only, you can nofollow links from press release to your site.

mcskoufis




msg:4593211
 12:26 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

As long as you don't plan on using multiple wire services to distribute it and make it more targeted based on specific publications, then I don't see a problem follow or nofollow.

I would personaly refrain from posting the same press release over and over to many PR-only sites.

As aakk9999 said, nofollow links (if you can).

jimsthoughts




msg:4593260
 2:59 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Press Releases are similar to Directories...there's a couple of "real ones" and thousands of ones that were built for the sole purpose of trying to look like a press release service website built for the purpose of giving people backlinks. Often I see backlinks from tons of "press release syndication" sites...all on the same IP block, all by the same owner...

Matt Cutts has said a few times that press releases won't pass pagerank, but I'll admit, that that was proven not 100% true [searchengineland.com...]
(although the example above probably worked because of the "low quality pr sites" that still pass something and haven't been "blocked"...but those same low quality PR sites are things that "could" get you in trouble with penguin.

We occasionally work with Press Release companies....and were in the past I might have chosen to do a press release and to submit it to thousands of places, today I'd choose a much much smaller group of sites to submit the press release to....and I'd figure that none of those will pass any link value. My goal would be to submit press releases about real news that you feel others would be interested in (not marketing pieces), and then, the goal is to have your piece picked up by real journalist and real editors and have it spread "naturally" in their (journalist) own words.

If Press Releases are done for branding, Great. If Press releases are done for "links" then I think it could be considered spam by google.

linkbuildr




msg:4593266
 3:18 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google has stated they'll just ignore links from PR sites but perhaps your news will get picked up and written about from a real source. That and don't pick some spammy anchor text as your link and you'll be fine.

Jez123




msg:4593286
 4:31 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thnaks everyone. Well, it's for a real press release - something that the press might actually be interested in but other than using spammy looking press release companies I don't know who else to approach to do somthing like this at short notice. So, I will pronbably go down the route of no follow.

Planet13




msg:4593287
 4:34 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does one have to pay to have their press release carried by a press release company? How is that different than a paid link?

FranticFish




msg:4593324
 7:26 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see a lot of Press Release sites when I'm researching links and they range from those that
- are basically SEO article directories (where the news is no news) to
- those that cover certain niches or verticals (where the news is likely to be of interest to someone in that industry).

I think that the latter are more likely to be frequented by the bloggers and journalists that you ultimately want to reach.

rish3




msg:4593366
 10:33 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Search google for "leasreepressmm" for an interesting counterpoint that shows that perhaps press release backlinks do have SEO value.

Now, being that it's a made up word, it doesn't show you how much value, but it's clearly more than zero.
.

Mod's note: For those who are wondering, the made-up word, "leasreepressmm", is the word used in test discussed in the SearchEngineLand article that jimsthoughts mentions about five posts up.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:30 am (utc) on Jul 16, 2013]

piatkow




msg:4593370
 10:49 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)


I see a lot of Press Release sites when I'm researching links

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!

A press release is B2B so IIRC opt in isn't required. (Both the OP and I are referring to the UK)

Planet13




msg:4593374
 11:04 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ rish3:

I am not 100% sure that is back links, so much as showing the power of google's understanding of semantics. (Not that it matters...)

It looks like a few of the SEO oriented blogs picked up on the experiment and said that the link(s) would be pointing at Matt cutts blog.

So it is possible that it wasn't link juice per se from the press releases, but the non-link citations that had the relevant text leasreepressmm near a (non-linked) mention of Matt Cutts Blog.

for some time now, people have been talking on the WWW forums about the power of citations.

It is noteworthy that IF this WERE the case (that the link is passing NO value, but the fact that several sites are CITING the keyword leasreepressmm and the words Matt Cutts blog), then "authority" must be an overly significant factor in the algo, because the MC Blog ranks 4th in MY SERPs, ahead of many sites that actually have the keyword leasreepressmm in the text.

Anyway, something to think about. Hoping more experiments are done.

jimbeetle




msg:4593508
 1:11 pm on Jul 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Here's the latest blurb [stonetemple.com] Matt came out with on press releases:

So the link from a press release will probably not count, but if that press release convinces an editor or a reporter to write a story about it, and thatís an editorial decision, then if that newspaper links to your website as a result of that editorial decision to write a story, it doesnít matter whether it started or was sparked by a press release or it was started by an email that you sent. Itís still someone making a decision to cover it.


That's consistent with what he said back in 2005 [mattcutts.com]:

...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...

engine




msg:4593535
 3:12 pm on Jul 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'd probably add, the really important press release distribution sites cost what appears to be a significant sum to distribute material. If you are serious about the story, and want to use a distribution service, these are the ones to invest in.

Planet13




msg:4593590
 5:04 pm on Jul 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ jimbeetle:

What would be good to know is whether those sites that wrote about the experiment linked to Matt Cutts blog using the keyword "leasreepressmm" in the anchor text, or whether it was actually just an unlinked citation of the blog in proximity with the word leasreepressmm.

(Or, could be a link with other anchor text in proximity to the word leasreepressmm.)

I think that what this really shows is the power of citations when combined with a high authority site.

jimbeetle




msg:4593655
 8:07 pm on Jul 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Matt never said that Google *ignored* the links, just that they (probably) wouldn't help in ranking. So I don't see why it can't use the anchor text as it usually does.

^^Forget that. There is a thought there, just not fully formed^^

jimbeetle




msg:4597499
 8:59 pm on Jul 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, today John Mueller weighed in with a much more direct answer to the press release question.

He first said that Google thought of press releases as advertisements, so the links should be nofollowed. He then went a bit further, stating that Google viewed press release links as "unnatural."

John Mueller Webmaster hangout [youtube.com]

Browser is creating havoc with youtube so finding it difficult to note specific video times. John's comments are within first 10 minutes.

buckworks




msg:4597517
 10:26 pm on Jul 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

viewed press release links as "unnatural."


What's unnatural is links from second-rate news release services that don't actually reach real writers and editors in your business sector.

"Natural" is doing what it takes to reach the influencers in your industry. News releases can be part of that, just don't let them be the only tool in your toolbox.

jimbeetle




msg:4597527
 11:01 pm on Jul 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

The influencers in your industry are, of course, free to link to you after they read the release with your nofollowed link.

kellyman




msg:4597542
 11:57 pm on Jul 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google specifically pointed to a press release whilst i was going for a reconsideration request, they had this and one other as an example of bad links i should clean up.

It had my web address and one keyword as anchor, so i suppose they were referring to the keyword rich anchor

Planet13




msg:4597564
 2:24 am on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thank you jimbeetle for posting the link to the video.

I don't think it can really be much clearer on google's part what they want and what they don't want from webmasters.

Planet13




msg:4597688
 3:20 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Google specifically pointed to a press release whilst i was going for a reconsideration request, they had this and one other as an example of bad links i should clean up. It had my web address and one keyword as anchor, so i suppose they were referring to the keyword rich anchor."

One thing I realized when looking through my backlinks last month is there are a LOT of scrapers out there, and they are apparently more than happy to scrape press releases and use them on content on their site.

So if you have a press release on one site then you can pretty much bet the farm that someone is going to come by and copy it and use it on their spam sites - dofollow links with rich anchor text intact.

Spammers apparently didn't fear anyone was going to file a DMCA since the whole point of press releases is for publicity - and in essence, scrapping the content WAS giving the person publicity.

FranticFish




msg:4597716
 5:00 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've recently been researching a number of niches where the top ranking websites have a ton of links from press releases that have been picked up by various niche aggregators and news sites. However:

(a) the release is actually NEWS - a merger, a new patent, a new facility with 2000 jobs, a new CEO etc. News.
(b) the links are always the url of the site, as part of the contact details for further information.

I'd be willing to bet that those links are not harmful, even if they count for nothing, whether no-followed or not.

linkbuildr




msg:4597722
 5:02 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google added a bit to their link schemes page in the last week

"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."

jimbeetle




msg:4597765
 7:02 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'd be willing to bet that those links are not harmful, even if they count for nothing, whether no-followed or not.

John Mueller replying to Rustybrick at 8m 7s: We want to really make it clear that we essentially see this as an unnatural link.

Not much wiggle room there.

dethfire




msg:4597766
 7:03 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nor sure why people resist this or are surprised. a PR is an advertisement

EditorialGuy




msg:4597774
 7:22 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nor sure why people resist this or are surprised. a PR is an advertisement


In the publishing and advertising worlds, there's a clear distinction between "earned media" (a.k.a. free media or PR) and "paid media" (advertising). With "earned media" or PR, a company or organization may pay a PR agency or mailing service for distribution of a press release, backgrounder, white paper, etc., but the publication of the story doesn't involve an exchange of money between the PR firm and the publisher--which means that PR is not an advertisement.

On the Web, there's another player in the ballgame: search. A so-called "press release" may have little or nothing to do with getting publicity and everything to do with acquiring PageRank. The challenge for Google and other search engines is in how to distinguish "press releases" from "SEO spam disguised as press releases."

Planet13




msg:4597777
 7:27 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not much wiggle room there.


Nor sure why people resist this or are surprised. a PR is an advertisement


I agree...

But let's face it; as franticFish discovered, there must be a bajillion press releases floating around out there - some probably from before from before rel="nofollow" was even introduced - that are passing page rank.

I don't know how google deals with it? Are they smart enough not to punish someone if the original press release was before the creation of nofollow?

I think what I would do is definitely go and disavow any that have "money" keyword anchor text links, as kellyman mentioned they don't seem to be kosher in google's eyes.

(Actually, I would probably disavow all of them.)

Planet13




msg:4597781
 7:34 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

The challenge for Google and other search engines is in how to distinguish "press releases" from "SEO spam disguised as press releases."


Call me cynical, but I think they gave up on that challenge; hence, the disavow tool.

I don't get from John Mueller's tone of voice that google was particularly worried about recognizing which companies paid for JUST the distribution and which companies paid for rank manipulation.

It seems like they are really only interested in having "freely given" links count towards page rank (as in, there is NO arrangement between the two sites; Zero; None; Nada; Niemals).

It seems like over the last month or so, the attitude of Mr. Cutts and Mr. Mueller has changed from "most web sites won't need to use the disavow tool" to something more like, "If you are in doubt, then disavow."

(Maybe they are just tired of talking about it and that is being reflected in their "tone" and body language?)

diberry




msg:4597837
 10:32 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

In the publishing and advertising worlds, there's a clear distinction between "earned media" (a.k.a. free media or PR) and "paid media" (advertising). With "earned media" or PR, a company or organization may pay a PR agency or mailing service for distribution of a press release, backgrounder, white paper, etc., but the publication of the story doesn't involve an exchange of money between the PR firm and the publisher--which means that PR is not an advertisement.

On the Web, there's another player in the ballgame: search. A so-called "press release" may have little or nothing to do with getting publicity and everything to do with acquiring PageRank. The challenge for Google and other search engines is in how to distinguish "press releases" from "SEO spam disguised as press releases."


This is very well said. If you come from a traditional marketing background, some of Google's rules actually make some traditional marketing methods risky. People who come more strictly from the SEO side tend to scoff and not understand why we balk at that. But the answer is simple: it's just plain disconcerting to have Google telling you that a tried and true marketing method that all big brands have always used and are still using could be considered an attempt to take unfair advantage of them.

Of course Google can do what they want, and we just have to make our choices whether to follow their rules of stick to traditional marketing techniques. But it's the same surreal feeling you'd get if a teacher told you that studying before a test was unfair to the other kids and they'd have to punish you if they feel there's evidence you studied. It's like, then how on earth do you get an A? And the answer is, well, if you had good enough grades BEFORE this test, then getting an A will not make the teacher think you studied. But how are you supposed to have gotten the good grades without studying? It just doesn't make much sense.

JesterMagic




msg:4597875
 12:50 am on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

In our niche for the import brand keywords I never in the last 10 years saw press releases in the search results in the top 10 pages.

In the past 6 months 2 brands have links to press releases in the top 2 pages.

This 76 message thread spans 3 pages: 76 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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