Google “prohibits” PR

Press releases – dangerous for your SEO, according to Google.

Google has repeatedly expressed a reluctance to press releases. Does it sound strange that Google would have something against an industry they do not really have anything to do with? There are reasons actually.

ZDnet goes so far as saying that Google may have killed the PR industry, I am not at all prepared to go that far. But it is probably not a good way to do PR without thinking about search engine optimization (SEO) in the future. The risk of getting punished by Google may be too high. Doesn’t is sound strange? Why do Google want it to be dangerous to work with PR?

What has happened?

It started around Christmas when Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam, wrote a post in Google Webmaster central forum. He says the press releases are not considered as spam by Google, but you probably should not expect that the links in them serves any purpose.

When you publish a press release on a good press release-site, the whole point is often to reach out and get published on as many sites as possible. It often means that your press release ends up on a large number of sites, many of which have high level of trust in Google’s eyes, where every published article has the same links as the original. This link building technique has often given you a decent boost in search results, whether it was supposed to or not. Now Google wants to stop this.

The truth is that this is not really true. It has been proved many times that links from press releases still gives you a boost. Google can not today exclude these links in an automated way. Instead they have updated their guidelines with this text;

Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links

This includes not only press releases. “Large-scale” may sounds like many of us SEO consultants still are on safe ground, but of course we want our campaign to be successful, if we choose to invest in PR? Everyone wants their press release to be get  attention and distribution?

Article marketing and guest posting campaigns – this includes almost everything that is online PR. Press releases, blog-outreach, guest posting, blog-partners and many other link building techniques.

Keyword-rich anchor text links

This is what can save you. Of course you can still write press releases and do outreach to bloggers. But you have to understand where Google draws the line.

Don’t do PR, do SEO!

If you don’t know SEO, PR can hurt your site. If you don’t understand how Google valuate links, you take a non-calculated risk. Your PR agency takes risks with your site that you do not know or understand. You must have SEO skills to not take that risk, or at least to minimize it.