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Don’t use press releases for SEO

Many companies believe that press releases are an efficient way of getting links to their website, because there are a number of third party sites that will simply republish the press release as received. Whilst it would be ideal if any links within the text were reproduced, just the fact that the re-published release talks about blue widgets and signs off with a link to the company home page should help a bit with search engine ranking …or so the thinking goes. For that reason, companies stuff their press releases with SEO-targeted terminology, sometimes to the detriment of the message.

This is not a good idea. The search engines know what a press release is, and treat it as content from the originating company, not from the third-party site publishing the news. It counts for little or nothing in search engine ranking terms.

Original write-ups from a third party site are different. They’re exactly what we do want. So the objectives of a press release from the ‘announcement’ point of view and that of SEO should be the same: to persuade the third party site to report on the story in its own way. Write for the audience, not the algorithms.