Press releases go back their traditional role

Press releases are an essential part of marketing. Their main function has always been to get third-party publications to give you free publicity, perhaps by sending prospects to your website. However, a few years ago, they took on another role: helping with search engine optimisation. Get lots of press releases out there, went the theory, and quite a few of them will provide links to your website. In turn, that means better search engine rankings, right?

Unfortunately, not any more.

The search engines are still looking for links, it’s true, but they’re getting more discriminating. They want links which are freely given, without any encouragement, and they’re getting better at spotting these. If a website will give a link to anyone who gives it the same old piece of unoriginal copy, why should that link be valued by the search engines? And that’s what’s happening. The best links today are in original pieces of writing, on sites which aren’t full of third-party-submitted material.

Does that mean it’s no longer worth writing press releases? Far from it. They raise awareness as well as they ever did, especially when they generate coverage in widely-read publications, in print or online. Just don’t think: “I want to get this piece up the top of the Google results, so a press release should do the trick”.

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