Google recently and quietly announced, (by updating their link schemes), that links contained within a press release for your business should be “nofollow” links. (For more info on what a nofollow is check out this info from Google). Otherwise, your links could be considered a violation of Google’s guidelines, which could negatively impact your site’s ranking. Google’s reasoning: A press release is similar to an advertisement or advertorial for your company.
In an article on Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz offers advice for press releases, “Press releases are still a great way to promote your services and products. In fact, the links you get indirectly from a press release, i.e. those people who find your press release and then write a story on their own and link to you, do not have to be nofollowed. But the links within press releases should be nofollowed.”
Schwartz interviewed John Mueller from Google and asked why Google decide to make this sudden change. According to Mueller, “SEOs were using these more and more in a way to promote their site [artificially in the Google search results] and Google needed to clarify their stance on them.” Schwartz offered up this final piece of advice as you go forward with press releases for your business, “If you are doing press releases, make sure not to stuff keyword rich anchor text links in those releases. Try to have all links nofollowed but especially any keyword rich anchor text. Do the press releases because the press reads them and they will hopefully pick up on your offering and write about it on their site with links to you that are followed naturally and without pay.”
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