Recently Google updated their Webmaster (penalty) Guidelines to include the following line:
‘Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites’
This one sentence explains a new guideline and gives insight to what Google will consider a violation deserving of penalization. This has caused quite a stir among PR companies and SEO firms. If press releases are being used as a genuine way to promote a business or make an announcement, what’s all the fuss about? In and of itself, a press release is a harmless distribution tool. So where did it all go wrong?
Simply, once Google determined that press releases had become a tactic for link building, they considered the links the same as a paid link and made that act punishable. Google wants to ensure that the use of a press release is that of delivering a message and building awareness, not a way to gain incoming links.
The kind of links Google is guarding against are “links with optimized anchor text”. To avoid a penalty from Google, add a ‘no follow’ tag to the hyperlink and continue to follow the rules that make sense for any piece of content. If links are your objective, write a press release so compelling that a journalist picks it up and writes another piece about it, adding a link naturally to your website.
The job of a press release continues to be getting your content to reach the consumer and spark engagement. With this goal in mind, PR pros should keep writing and producing content worthy of sharing.
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Lisa Bishop works for Mannix Marketing, LCI’s SEO consultants based in Williamsburg, VA and New York. For information about SEO, feel free to contact Lisa and visit Mannix online at: www.mannixmarketing.com.