Why Effective Press Releases Are Good For SEO
The press release has been used as a marketing technique by SEO practitioners since the early days of the internet and was seen as the must-have weapon in an SEO strategy – a sure-fire way to get a website to the top of the search engine rankings.
Years ago, press releases were often thrown together and filled with anchor text that would help the publisher receive countless backlinks and a place at the top of Google’s search rankings. However, that was in the old days and the internet of today is a very different beast. In fact, such are the changes that the internet has gone through, particularly in the past couple of years, press releases were feared to have lost their SEO powers completely; Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts even saying as much in December of 2012.
In the aftermath of Matt Cutts’ announcement that press releases had little effect on SEO, many in the marketing world were left wondering if this promotion tool was now a thing of the past. I am here to tell you that the press release is as relevant as ever and still offers search engine optimisation benefits – but only when done correctly.
How Panda and Penguin changed the press release
Once upon a time, search engines would index press releases and help build links to the websites of companies. Naturally, this led to a press release boom and SEO professionals began exploiting this marketing tool, distributing press releases purely for the SEO benefits and sitting back while the traffic flowed in.
The days of taking advantage of press releases came to an abrupt end in 2011, though, when Google released it major algorithm update, Panda. With Panda, Google altered everything that marketers knew about SEO, and brought an instant stop to inferior quality content. Panda signalled a major change in how Google operates and switched focus to the user, delivering high-quality results that are relevant to the searcher and punishing the poor quality stuff with a low ranking.
Panda was followed by Google’s second major algorithm update in 2012 called Penguin and further solidified the search giant’s stance of top quality content.
With so many press releases in the past severely lacking in quality, the SEO benefits of the traditionally constructed marketing tool diminished.
Today’s press release
Today the press release must be approached in a different way. No longer is any hint of poor quality acceptable. Press releases can be extremely effective from an SEO perspective, but only if you put the effort in. People that are too focussed on anchor text will see little in terms of improved search rankings. Today, it is all about being natural, producing press releases that are valuable, informative, and beneficial to human readers.
A press release needs to grab attention. Google loves popular content and if your press release is being shared, linked to, and referenced, the search ranking of your website will benefit. A well-written, well-structured, and newsworthy story is needed. One that provides the necessary information about the product or services of the company and uses plenty of quotes and facts that can be used by other highly regarded news sites in your niche.
Keywords still play an important role in SEO, but the right density is essential – just one or two in focus.
SEO benefits will also come from distributing the press release to high-quality services such as MarketWire, PRWeb, and BusinessWire, and spreading it across popular social media sites to create a buzz.
A press release is still an essential part of SEO, so long as you remember the key word: quality.