Releasing Advice

When is a press release not a press release?

We make press releases for our clients with the pure and simple intention of gaining news coverage. We believe this is their purpose.

However, many online distribution services have recently seen a hijacking of press releases for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. The logic being that links can be included in the press releases and form part of an incoming link campaign.

Although we also offer SEO services and know SEO benefits can be a welcome side-effect, we have never recommended to our clients that they use press releases solely for this purpose.

Now our advice has been proven sound. At the end of last month, Google updated their link schemes policy to make it extra clear they consider press releases as advertising. As such, all links within them should be “nofollow”, which means adding a special label in the code for search engines so they know they’re not being used for SEO. Failure to do so could have a negative effect on search engine rankings, something which is sure to catch out many less savvy SEO “experts”.

PR Newswire, one the world’s biggest press release distributors, has been quick to react and is already making all links “nofollow” on their online service.

Our advice is to use a service that automatically marks links “nofollow” or one that allows you to mark them so manually. Or, why not hire us to take care of it for you?

Published: 15 August 2013.