Dumbledore's Dark Secrets....or Google's?
Or Google’s Dark Secret? Photo Credit: Karen Roe via Compfight cc

Over the past couple weeks, we’ve gotten a lot of questions regarding the way to use links in press releases so as not to make the big green Google giant mad. To be clear, Google isn’t fighting a war against public relations companies, they’re fighting a war against links that do not have any value.

Google has not said that one relevant link will hurt you. Google has indicated that repetitive spammy links that are solely to boost search engine rankings isn’t what they want and isn’t helpful.

Google did NOT kill PR. Maybe they are at war with SEO companies, they are perhaps at war with bad PR companies, too. Good agencies do not feel the need to keyword stuff press releases. Good “content” strategies do not need the filler content of keyword stuffed press releases.

These changes aren’t only about links in press releases, but any written content. While I’m confident that Google’s indexing can tell the difference between a blog post and a press release, they’ve been quite clear that they do not like links that are unhelpful.

Redirect Focus Away from the Traditional Press Release

What are the alternatives to submitting a keyword stuffed press release over multiple wire services? Posting it to the company website word for word isn’t going to help the company/client receive any attention, is a boring way to inform people, and can be read as duplicated content. Avoid this practice.

Instead create a multimedia rich newsroom on the company/client website. While some reporters find out and write about stories from the wire services, more often than not they hear about the stories from a PR agency, social networks, or directly from the company/client. Why not point them to a place where they can get a wealth of information that they cannot get from the standard press release? At SHIFT, we refer to that as our Social Media Newsroom.

A brief note on Guest Posts

If the goal is to inform and be helpful to others, then simply tell the story via guest posts and articles and let readers make the decision if said service or product provides value.  Even if you don’t get SEO benefits from the content, you will still receive their attention which is by far more valuable to your company than worrying about how high you rank in the SERPs. Use your own original content and engagement to strive for better SEO ranking.

Do the work. Do your own work. Do it well. Tell your stories. In the end, the only timeless strategy that has endured Google’s many algorithm changes is creating content that people want.

“That will, I think, have made all the difference.”

Chel Wolverton
Senior Marketing Analyst


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