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Press Releases Do They Help Or Hurt Page Rankings
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Press releases (PRs) are one of the tools online marketers use to promote their clients' businesses. Some of these marketers contend that PRs can help your Google page ranking if they contain a couple of links and some strategically placed keywords. Others contend that they don't help at all. Still others contend they can harm your page ranking.
So which is it?
With a little bit of research you'll discover that the correct answer is a combination of all three. We'll start with discussing what Google had to say on the topic in December 2012.
Google's Matt Cutts was asked whether a couple of embedded links in a PR would be beneficial to page rankings. He answered that question in a blog post, claiming such links would not likely help. The explanation he gave is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion, but it made complete sense at the time.
A couple of enterprising marketers wanted to test Cutts' assertion, so they created a press release containing unique anchor text linking back to the Cutts blog. Lo and behold, within just a couple of days it did rank for that anchor text. That means links in press releases do help for SEO page ranking. The only question is, how much do they help?
Link Quality Important
The quality of the links in PRs brings us to the other two opinions: that links do not help at all or that they can actually be damaging. Updates to Google algorithms over the last couple of years have done a great job in weeding out poor quality content from its high-quality counterpart. As such, the quality of the link plays a major role.
The fact that the experimental press release linking back to Cutts' blog ranked well is more a testament of the quality of the links than the release itself. And therein lies the problem: the embedded links used in press releases need to be both relevant and pointing to quality sites.
For example, let's assume you issue a release to let your customers know you are opening a new store. Your writer may push too hard to create anchor text that can be linked to other sites, thereby creating content that doesn't read so well. That can be overcome with a little bit of creative editing.
However, where that anchor text links to is another issue. If those links point to other sites that have nothing to do with your company's business, they're not going to help. If they link to sites that are considered rubbish by the Google algorithm, they will actually hurt your SEO ranking. The quality of embedded links is the key to ranking.
Tips for Using Links in Your Releases
To wrap this up, let me offer you a couple of tips for using links in PRs. My first tip is to remind you that links are not absolutely necessary. The press release is a very specific type of content with a very specific purpose. Those purposes will be met with or without links. In addition:
use no more than two links per release
don't bunch linked text together; keep it spaced out
don't create irrelevant text just to create links
it's okay if links point to competitor websites
the best links for press releases point to news oriented websites because they add legitimacy to them.
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