In the very last days of 2012, the search engine world was up in arms because of a one-sentence comment by renowned Google engineer Matt Cutts. His comment, in a Google forum discussion about press release sites, was: “Note: I would not expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however. “ SEO has always relied on press releases as a tool for improving rankings. So does Cutts’ comment mean that they are useless?
Not necessarily. Google’s methodology for determining rankings is a complex and esoteric one and it is unlikely that Cutts’ statement can be taken to apply to all press releases. What is more likely is that he was referring to them in the context of the forum’s posts, which were about attaining too many links from press releases in too short a time frame. Another important distinction is the quality of the press release site, which is almost certainly a factor for Google in determining rankings.
The fact is that the press release continues to have an important role in SEO, for several reasons.
The Public Relations Advantage
Public relations people, traditional creators of press releases, have a certain edge over other content generators. They’ve learned and developed the skills to disseminate information in an engaging manner for human readership. Public relations brings the creativity as well as the appeal to human readers. A skilled PR person knows how to create a press release that captures the attention of readers.
SEO and PR Complete One Another
What SEO brings to the picture is the left brain logic to PR’s right brain creativity. SEO complements PR with data that can be measured and thereby integrates it into the overall goals of the e-enterprise. With SEO, the PR becomes a measurable indicator of the effort.
And because SEO’s focus is on providing content that is relevant, it can also help finesse a press release, by making sure it contains the right keywords for the targeted page on a site.
PR Is Not Alone
There is more to the PR story. A good press release often attracts quality back links. Editorial links, for example, are some of the highest quality links you can get. While it is true that it takes a lot of effort and hard work to get the right media placement, it is well worth it. In fact, 200 editorial links are far better than 20,000 low quality links. A well-written press release will be cited by bloggers, other PRs, stories, articles and so on. While it is true that just any press release can not help a site, when the PR is well structured, optimized and well placed, it can help rankings and attract targeted traffic. This is the hidden power of the combination of PR and SEO.
Good PR Material Will Build Good PR Contacts
With time and if you are consistent with good, high quality PR, you will connect and build rapport with quality media contacts who can help you promote your business better. But there are no shortcuts. Besides being placed on reputable press release sites where they can be seen by others, press releases have to be well-written, relevant and interesting – in short, they need the magic of PR. This is why going forward we expect to see greater synergy between the SEO and PR worlds.
Wondering how a press release or search engine optimization can help market your business? Contact us – we would be happy to provide you with a free marketing analysis.