You might be wondering if press releases still work out well for search engine optimization purposes? If so, is it worthwhile to invest time and money into services that can distribute them for you? Like quite a few questions surrounding SEO, the answer to this isn’t that easy. It’s useful to know something about the history of the press release, what they’re supposed to be used for, and how the SEO community once abused them.
There are some rumors running around SEO circles that press releases are going to make a comeback and be a big thing again, so some websites and companies are splurging big bucks on what they hope to be the next great press release announcing a new idea, innovation, or technology. However, is this really going to be a thing? The very definition of a press release means that it’s the kind of news items released by companies which have news reported about them. Given then, your press release is going to compete with every other press release out there, and you just have to hope that yours is the one that gets attention.
A Short History Of Press Releases
Before the Internet rolled across the world, press releases were simply a means to an end. Companies used them to let journalists know about winning significant contracts, new product launches, big events, or when they won major awards. The whole idea behind any release was the hope that sending it to a variety of media outlets would mean that at least one would have one of their journalists contact the business for further information, possibly even leading up to an announcement, story, or interview. As the Internet bloomed, one of the many new advances were the creation of ‘newswire’ services through which press releases could be syndicated far more broadly than was every possible beforehand.
In a lot of ways, this was part of the beginning of the modern information overload facing citizens of the world. As nearly everything went online, press releases were not to be left behind. It quickly became very easy for press releases to get sent out to hundreds of sites almost all at once. The Internet also made it very easy for businesses to write their own press releases, and so some started writing a press release for nearly everything. In some cases, press releases would go out for every new employee hired. Some infamous companies even went so far as to announce when they were changing the color of their break room carpet.
5 Reasons Why Press Releases Aren’t Great SEO Tools
You’re Not Writing About A Major Company:
If your press release isn’t about Google, Sony, Amazon, Tesla, or some other uber-company with automatic name recognition, you’re not likely to get a lot of attention. News editors and journalists sometimes get hundreds to thousands of press releases in just a single day, and so they can’t spare more than a quick glance at each one as they sift for news. In fact, automated software and filters might screen the press releases digitally first, meaning yours never makes it to human eyes at all. Why would you pay any business a thousand bucks to send out press releases just to get chewed up by software?
You’re Not Announcing Something That’s Going To Change The World
No matter how excited you are about your product, service, or website, is it really going to make headlines from the get-go? Hopefully, you’ve got something the market either needs or will soon realize it needs, and you’ll make a lot of money doing it, but if you’re going to convince the world you’re a game-changer, you’re more likely to do it one customer at a time over months and years than in one press release. Press releases companies and PR businesses will do all they can to convince you that they’ve got a lot of experience in writing the kinds of releases that make your own stand out and then get noticed, but if they do that for all their clients, aren’t news outlets getting burned out of getting them all the time? Your press release is honestly only going to get picked up if it’s truly different or offers something no one’s ever thought of.
Press Releases Don’t Hold SEO Power Like They Used To
There was a time that entrepreneurs, webmasters, and marketers realized that the results of a press release would be hundreds of backlinks from media websites. By writing their own press releases, those looking to do SEO realized that they could influence the context of their links, creating dozens of very highly relevant links involving site keywords. As the ever-enthusiastic SEO community is prone to doing, it seriously overdid things. Google realized what was going on and start dropping its penalties on outlets carrying such links. Now, many newswire sites which publish press releases make use of no-follow links to keep Google happy, which is understandable on their part, but it does mean the links don’t have SEO benefit for webmasters.
The Numbers Don’t Add Up
It is true that if you send out enough press releases, you’ll get some backlinks, attention, and traction. However, the amount of money you’d have to spend on having press releases written and disseminated is going to seriously outweigh any increase in page rank or traffic you wind up getting in return. In fact, it might just be the least-effective form of modern SEO, which is ironic considering that SEO is often touted as the most effective and efficient marketing medium available to companies. You’d be better off just spending the money to buy links, and even that is wasteful of your money too.
The Links Are Fleeting
Any press releases you get published with backlinks are going to be dated material as soon as they’re posted. Google already prizes fresh content enough as it is, so many press release websites take down content within weeks, and sometimes even within days. There are other places to get cheaper and easier backlinks that last much longer.
Do Press Releases Have Any SEO Value Now?
Press releases still serve their original and primary function if you’re just looking to get the attention of journalists. Just make sure you have content that is actually noteworthy. If you can get even one interview with a news outlet, then you’ve got something you can use to build your bio or website credibility as an expert source of information.
Press releases continue to be good tools for a little bit of publicity and possibly making some contacts in the press that cover your niche, but their heyday as a way to advance or promote your website in the SERPs has long since passed by.