We all know that we need to build links to our pages, but many companies seem to think that their successful press release operation is all they need for this. It isn’t.
As ever, put yourself in Google’s position. If links to a page are to be an indication of the page’s relevancy, what should these links be? Obviously, spontaneous links from people who’d come across the page and found it to be a useful reference for something they were publishing themselves. Does a press release meet this criterion? No.
Is it easy for Google to identify press releases? Of course! They’re the same piece of content, over and over again, published on identifiable news websites. So, can Google discount links from press releases if it wishes? Easily. And it does. Indeed, Google said so in this video chat, over a year ago. It’s all about what are known as ‘natural’ links, and as press releases come from the originating company, they’re not what Google considers ‘natural’.
That’s not to say press releases don’t have a big role to play in SEO. Your press release on a major publication’s website may well get more traction than the same story on your own site, so it may well be the lead that eventually gets you more links. But if you’re wondering why a page isn’t getting much SEO ranking love despite having links from half a dozen sites running a press release about it, if they’re the only links you’ve got, you now know why.