Where to start? So Google has recently updated it’s Webmaster link scheme documentation. This has provided a deeper insight into how links placed within press releases can effect your website.
In response to this, a ZDnet news editor posed the question:
In response to this news, we thought it would be best to share our thoughts on the matter and what we are doing to move forward with this.
In short the answer to ZDnet is a resounding no. Press releases are not dead, however unnatural links within press releases which are used for the sole purpose to manipulate search engines are most certainly dying!
That said, these new revelations by Google have shook up several newswires: Source Wire, Realwire and Market Wire to name but a few. Who by default are now adding the rel=”nofollow” attribute to all outbound anchor tags in client press releases.
Some of the newswire’s have misinterpreted the link scheme updates and became “cold turkey” to hyperlinks when in reality they should be embracing the changes. Google is not attacking the press release but rather trying to prevent the blatantly spammy and devious techniques being used by some that are the real cause for running the press release to the ground.
We don’t believe a widespread nofollow change should be implemented but rather heavily moderated where appropriate.
At Pressat we still believe that natural links play a massive part in complimenting a unique and relevant piece of content. There are many cases where anchor links within a press release are genuine and add to the newsworthiness of a release, these type of links are trusted and should pass on trust.
A good example of a natural link which (in our opinion) still deserves the dofollow treatment would be a fundraising press release, which naturally would link out to a Just Giving page for example. It may also link to a document or Twitter page that provides more information. This form of out linking to further resources/ helpful information is what journalists are looking for to further research a company or story. There is no reason for us to tell Google we don’t trust the link by using the rel=”nofollow” tag.
Since we launched Pressat, our primary objective has been to provide a cost effective distribution service to thousands of outlets. A secondary goal was to natively optimise a given release for search engine crawlers. This means press releases appear in search engines as quickly as possible where they are most relevant.
Below is an example used in the new link scheme documentation.
What were doing at Pressat?
1. By default all links within releases will automatically be nofollow’d.
2. A maximum of two links within each press release.
P.S – It’s never been more important to create compelling and newsworthy press releases which journalists and your target audience will love to read.