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Press Releases - Are they spam?

     

Jez123

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



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

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



@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

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

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



"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

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

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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

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



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

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

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



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

WebWire

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

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

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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

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



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

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

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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

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@ EditorialGuy

Exactly!

JS_Harris

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



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

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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



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

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

10+ Year Member



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