It seems like Google is slapping down every marketing technique professionals like me have been using for years, all in the space of a few months. Press releases, says Google, aren’t appropriate tools for getting backlinks and using keywords.
But does that make them not worth using?
Not at all, and here’s why.
1. Constant Mention of Your Brand Helps You
When you’ve consistently got things happening at your company and put out press releases about your news and accomplishments, people take notice. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn; that’s what marketing and PR are all about.
If someone searches for your company name and sees several press release links in the results, they’ll get the impression that things are moving and shaking over at your company. And that’s an image you want to portray: success and activity.
2. Press Releases Make You More Attractive to Journalists
I’ll be honest; it’s rare that a journalist searches and finds your release online, then decides to write about your news. If a writer is covering a particular topic and stumbles across your release as it relates to that topic, she might decide to include you, but this isn’t something you should expect.
However, here’s the gold: when you pitch a specific reporter who you think is ideal to cover your story, you increase your chance of coverage tenfold if you include a link to your press release in the pitch. She’s got everything she needs with the click of her mouse.
Never attach your release as a document. Always include a hyperlink. Journalists tend to not open emails with attachments out of fear of viruses, and you look more established if you’ve gone to the trouble of publishing your release online.
3. You Associate Keywords With Your Brand Name
If you sell fish-shaped soap and write a release about your new product, you’ll use keywords like “fish-shaped soap” (say that five times fast) in the release. You can even link to your product page of fish soaps. Whether someone searches “fish-shaped soap” and comes across your website or your press release, all roads lead back to you.
There’s still debate about whether hyperlinking your keywords does you any good. For example, if you linked “fish-shaped soap” to the product page, Google may or may not honor it as a legitimate link. It’s confusing, I know. Chaz Daum on Net Results says it’s okay to include links like “for more information on this thing” or “for more information visit http://www.yoursite.com.”
Daum says, “Navigational links are still OK to use in press releases, the key is to use them in moderation.” The key is defining what constitutes (to Google) a navigational link. Is a link to your product page considered navigational or spam? It’s not clear, so experiment with your links and see how the clicks back to your site vary.
The point here is: Google wants you to be more diligent about what you put into the webosphere. Focus on quality content and genuine news, and press releases will boost your online presence. Use them as spammy ways to drive traffic back to your site, and you’ll be penalized by the Google Gods.
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Editor’s note: This was originally written by Susan Payton for AllBusiness.