Q: We’re thinking about putting out some press releases for our B2B using a wire service. What is your view from an SEO perspective on this approach?
A: Press release distribution has become much less effective as an SEO tactic in recent years, but in some cases press releases can still be helpful for SEO. Google tends to devalue links coming from press release sites, and has discouraged the creation of low quality/spammy press releases that have been overused by marketers in past years. However, there are some cases where a press release is great for SEO: If the information being distributed is truly newsworthy, the online commentary and links resulting from that interest can help your site’s ranks. Additionally, in some cases a press release can display in Google News results, which can feed interest and drive traffic to your site. A press release may also provide a short-term band-aid for a reputation issue in search results.
We don’t recommend spending a lot of money on frequent press release distribution in the absence of frequent newsworthy announcements. We do encourage our clients to engage in thoughtful PR efforts, because good PR often results in exposure that improves brand awareness, increases brand mentions, and increases links to your website, all of which can have a positive impact on SEO. Press releases don’t generally have this effect, but there are some exceptions as mentioned above.
I’m not convinced that having wire distribution is worth the money if you don’t have a talented PR or social media professional putting the tool to good use.
Generally the PR efforts that are good for SEO involve a good bit of time, ongoing contact with a network of influencers, and having a knack for identifying or manufacturing newsworthy items. These efforts, when successful, can result in things that are great for SEO, like an article featuring an interview with a company’s CEO, influential bloggers writing about your company and others sharing/discussing the story, or even offline events like charity activities or conferences that generate discussion and mentions online. In this way, there is a lot of overlap between PR and social media outreach.