How to Make the Best Use of Press Releases After Penguin Update

Things have changed. Pushing hundreds of “optimized” press releases for SEO doesn’t work anymore.

The Why

Press releases have been a great link building tool for years. Websites have been quickly and easily ranking for their optimized keywords, as press releases were considered to carry more weight (in terms of importance) than simple articles. SEO firms were offering press release writing and distribution services, and they really produced results for their clients.


THIS is why. Press releases were never meant to be used as a link building tool, and yet they were used (and abused) to manipulate PageRank or a site’s rankings in the SERPs.

Google had to change that in order to serve search results that are truly more valuable instead of webpages that have a bunch of links coming from low quality “news outlets”.

But hey, that’s not a reason to dump press releases from your marketing campaign altogether! The SEO benefits are still here, if you use press releases as they were meant to be used.

The What & The How

So, what changed? Quite a few things. But for now we will focus on the links from the press releases to your web pages.

1. Use the Nofollow Tag – Nofollow basically tells the search engines that no SEO value should be passed to the website linked. Using this tag shows (to a certain degree) that it is not your intention to manipulate your rankings in the SERPs. A lot of the press release distribution services have already made this change (they accept only no-follow links, or automatically turn your links to no-follow).

2. No Anchor Keyword – This is especially true if you push a lot of press releases regularly. You are better off linking to your site using “Click here” or “Sign up for the webinar” for example. Why? Simply because it’s more natural.

Also, remember…

Press releases are NOT dead. They are still a great way to gain visibility online, and they still bring some SEO benefits when used correctly. So, how to CORRECTLY optimize your press releases post Penguin 2.0?

1. Write Something Useful

Nobody really cares that you’ve changed the font on your website from Courier to Courier New or your background color from white to light grey. But people will be interested in a new cool product or service, an upcoming webinar or live seminar, right? So make sure your press release is really newsworthy. If you want, you can think “Would I be interested in reading that if my competitor published that?”. If not, you probably shouldn’t distribute it. Make sure to create content that’s share worthy.

2. Get your Headline Right

Yeah, doesn’t really have anything to do with SEO, right? Wrong. 1st, make sure to include your keyword in your title. Then make sure your headline really grabs people’s attention. If not, people won’t even bother reading it, let alone sharing it.

3. Use Keywords

Please note that I wrote “use”, and not “overuse”! Include your keyword once of twice in the press release. Don’t overdo it. If possible, have it in the summary as well.

4. Nofollow and no Keyword Anchor

I did say to use keywords, but you have to remember not to use them as your anchor text. Plus make them nofollow, to show that you are not trying to con Google.

5. Find Real Bloggers & Journalists

Instead of waiting or relying on shady “PR agencies”, how about actively looking for bloggers and journalists who usually post the kind of news you have to share anyway?

Find them, and contact them telling them what’s in it for them and their readers. Be personal. Don’t be spammy.

Remember, press releases are not “worthless”. They were just not meant to be used to manipulate search rankings. They are still a GREAT marketing tool though. You would be missing out if you decide to skip them altogether (unless you really never have anything newsworthy to share!). So do implement them in your marketing strategy, but do conform to Google’s new policies if you rely on them for a portion of your traffic.

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