Like my recent posts on local SEO this post has been inspired by common customer questions, one question in particular is, “will press releases get me penalised?” Customers ask this because the press releases I write are distributed to many sites, see a sample report here and they think they will get some kind of duplicate content penalty.
Press Releases and Duplicate Content
The answer I give customers who ask, “are press releases duplicated content?” or “will I be penalised for publishing a press release?” is no. Press releases are a very, very old form of marketing, a marketing strategy that predates Google or the internet itself. The first commercial press release was sent in 1906, according to Wikipedia. How can Google be the judge of a marketing strategy dating back to 1906? Google is only concerned with the same or very similar content published on the same domain, if you create lots of similar pages on your site with the intention of manipulating the results you maybe penalised. How could you be penalised for having an interesting story that lots of news sites want to publish?
So What Benefits Do Press Releases Offer?
My approach to SEO is more marketing focused these days, I take a content marketing approach to link building, I utilise press releases and guest blog posts as part of that strategy. Press releases are no where near as effective an SEO tool as they once were. I have seen sites move from the bottom of the second page to the number one spot after one press release but that was many years ago, press releases don’t provide results like that anymore 🙁 but they do still have a benefit when it comes to online marketing and SEO. See some of the benefits that press releases can offer your SEO strategy below:
The press releases I publish always generate traffic. I once got a release read out on the lunchtime and evening news for London, that delivered a couple of thousand hits in about 1 second. I have also gotten releases published by Bloomberg and Yahoo! news, that was a good traffic day for Panda SEO Services. See one of my press releases on Bloomberg below:
If you have a good story and a well written release you will generate a lot of traffic, after my press release was read out on the news I noticed a massive increase in the rankings of the site they mentioned. User data can influence rankings, if a lot of people see a news story then do a search for your site and don’t bounce straight off when they find it your rankings will improve.
Diversified Link Profile
The links from the content of a release are no follow as per Google webmaster guidelines, no follow links pass no equity but they can still help your SEO. It does not natural look natural for a site to only have do follow, equity passing links because of this a press release will get your link profile looking natural very fast.
Once upon a time press releases could be used to manipulate all sorts of search results, I had a client who had all sorts of bad publicity written on blogs and when someone searched for her company name the top 3 results said she was a scammer. We wrote a few press releases and after a few months all the bad comments were on the second page, press releases aren’t as effective for this sort of thing anymore. Google likes to show varied results, forum posts, etc. but if it is a not too competitive a term, just a small companies brand name or something like that a press release can still take the top spot.
There are a lot more SEO and marketing benefits a press release can offer, see if you can think of any in the comments below. It is important to have a varied link profile and press releases are just a small part of that as are: guest blog posts, links from good directories, genuine blog comment links, etc. etc. etc. I welcome your thoughts below, leave some.