Connect with us

SEO

Are Press Releases Still Good For SEO?

Published

on

Are Press Releases Still Good For SEO?

Every PR professional knows the power of the press release.

Whether you’re launching a new product, announcing a merger, or have any other notable information you want to share, the press release is a great way to distribute that information. 

But does it have any impact on your SEO efforts?

If you’ve been around long enough, you may remember when search engine optimizers used them as a way to pack keywords into their sites. Does that still work? 

And what’s more – if there is a link between search rankings and quality press releases, how do you walk that line between optimizing them for search engines while still adhering to journalistic guidelines?

Obviously, these are not simple questions to answer, but have no fear; we’re here to guide you.

Advertisement

Read on for more information about press releases and how to employ them as part of your online strategy. 

What Is A Press Release?

You probably already know that a press release is an official statement giving information to journalists about a noteworthy event.

It allows you to quickly distribute news (and help shape the narrative around it) to a network of journalists, with the ultimate goal of having it featured on a reputable news platform. 

Here’s an example of a press release from Google Cloud:

google cloud 62fff79e591b1 sej

Screenshot from googlecloudpresscorner.com, August 2022

As you can see, this press release gives readers a quick overview of the news in a headline, fleshes out that information in the subhead, and then dives deeper into the details as the piece continues. 

Students and fledgling journalists are often instructed to write these in what is known as an “inverted pyramid,” where the most important information is given upfront. 

In case you hadn’t figured it out by now (and we’re sure you did), organizations send press releases for several reasons, including:

Advertisement
  • To build a reputation.
  • To gain media coverage.
  • To control a crisis – publishing your side of the story first is beneficial when things go wrong.

As media technology improved and we moved to a shorter news cycle, companies gained a new reason to send press releases: to gain links from reputable news sites.

And, therefore, boost SEO.

A (Brief) History Of Press Releases For SEO

While press releases have been around since 1906, when Ivy Lee released the first one to cover a railroad accident, they took on new importance in the digital age. 

And like everything that boosted SEO success, press release links started out well.

And then came the abuse. (Shocking, right?)

Once people figured out links from top-notch new sites could help with rankings, they began writing all kinds of press releases for all sorts of things – even on non-relevant events like hiring new employees (unfortunately, still common) or changing the color of their carpet. (True story. I seriously saw this one!)

All the spam led Google to notice and penalize sites that carried these links.

Advertisement

The result?

“Newswire” sites have added the nofollow attribute to links.

So yes, you can still get links from press releases.

But since they’ll be nofollow links, they may not help your SEO.

Here’s what Google’s John Mueller said about it in 2018:

“(W)e try to ignore links from things like press releases because we know, in general, companies put the press releases out themselves. So any links in there are essentially placed by themselves.

But if these links happen and they’re out there, it’s not something you need to worry about, because you can’t really take them all back.

Advertisement

I just wouldn’t rely on kind of press releases as a strategy for building up links for a website, because, like I said, we do ignore most of those.”

Are Press Releases Still Relevant Today?

So, if you’re not getting the SEO credit for links from news sites, is it still worth including press releases in your digital strategy?

Short answer: Yes. 

However, there’s one important thing you absolutely have to keep in mind. That is why you’re sending a press release.

Is it to:

  • Inform people of a big event your company is hosting?
  • Announce the release of a new product or service?
  • Gain attention for your brand?
  • Prevent a crisis from exploding?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these, then go ahead and write that press release.

But if you’re doing it to gain links for your new site, stop immediately.

Advertisement

Even if the “newswire” does link to you, the link may not do anything to help you on Google’s SERPs.

But here’s the thing: That last sentence isn’t strictly true. There is a way press releases can be used to boost SEO; it’s just not in the way you think. 

How To Optimize A Press Release To Benefit SEO

While press releases don’t directly impact search rankings, they can boost them indirectly.

For example, you could get featured on a news site and attract people’s interest.

Intrigued by your release, they flock to your site, thus boosting your traffic.

If they love your site, they’ll stay and click through to different pages.

Advertisement

And if your content is amazing, they’ll share it on social media or link to it on their own sites, gaining you (you guessed it!) quality links.

And these will boost your SEO.

So, spammy backlinks gained through low-quality news?

No.

A ton of traffic and backlinks from new fans?

Yes.

Advertisement

That’s how you “optimize” a press release for SEO.

How To Create & Share A Press Release

Now that you’ve been sold on the importance of using press releases in your digital marketing efforts, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of creating and sharing them. 

Writing them is a lot easier than you may think. To create your first one,  follow these three easy steps:

1. Do Something Newsworthy

No, changing the color of your carpet doesn’t count. Unless you work in the Oval Office – then it might be of some minor interest.

But “newsworthy” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “huge.”

You can simply host an event.

Advertisement

Or you can do a study on something your audience cares about.

You can also tweak a product or service to make it better.

Once you’ve decided on your newsworthy event, make sure to over-deliver.

Give it your all.

2. Write A Catchy Press Release

Start off with an attention-grabbing title your audience will care about.

Like this one from Starbucks.

Advertisement
Are Press Releases Still Good For SEO?Screenshot from stories.starbucks.com, August 2022

Make sure your press release is short and reads like a newspaper article.

Journalists love when they can copy and paste directly from it when writing their story.

Make sure your press release is short and reads like a newspaper article.Screenshot from media.wholefoodsmarket.com, August 2022

Important tips to keep in mind when writing your press release:

  • Write in the third person.
  • Keep it brief (400-500 words is a great rule of thumb).
  • Add screenshots and other interesting media.
  • Get straight to the point (kill the fluff).
  • Speak straight to readers (cut the jargon).

3. Share Your Press Release With The Right Journalists

Whatever you do, don’t spam a hundred journalists, hoping that one of them will write about you.

Do your research first.

For instance, you just did a study that revealed that 56% of mothers are unhappy with their school’s lunch program.

Instead of distributing your press release to anyone whose email address you can dig up, find someone who writes in a related field.

Using a tool like BuzzSumo is a great way to get this information.

Using a tool like BuzzSumo is a great way to get this information.Screenshot from BuzzSumo, August 2022

3 Successful Press Release Examples To Emulate

Ready to write your own press releases?

Check out these three examples for inspiration.

Advertisement

Mars’ Pledge Press Release

Mars’ Pledge Press ReleaseScreenshot from mars.com, August 2022

This press release was so successful that several sites picked it up and wrote stories on it.

A number of sites picked it up and wrote stories on it.Screenshot from search for [Mars Zero Emissions], Google, August 2022

Boston Beer Company’s New Product Announcement

Boston Beer Company’s New Product AnnouncementScreenshot from bostonbeer.com, August 2022

This press release from the Sam Adams brewer was so successful that several large sites, including CNBC, picked it up.

This press release from the Sam Adams brewer was picked up CNBC.Screenshot from cnbc.com, August 2022

Vans’ “Stranger Things” Line

Vans' “Stranger Things” LineScreenshot from sneakernews.com, August 2022

Capitalizing on the Netflix hit show, Vans’ “Stranger Things” collection received a lot of coverage in sneaker trade publications, including Sneaker News. 

How To Use A Press Release For SEO

Hopefully, by this point, it’s been made clear: Press releases can be a useful tool for SEO, but only if they’re used correctly. 

Spamming media sites, journalists, and bloggers with releases for everything in the hope that you’ll receive some publicity aren’t going to help. 

On the other hand, if you’re contacting relevant (often niche) publications or other people who are likely to be interested in your newsworthy (never forget this point) event to attract traffic, fans, and following links, then they’re very useful.

Just remember what you’ve learned in this piece: Keep your releases relevant (again, no carpet color changes) and distribute them to the right people; they can play an important factor in driving your site higher up the rankings. 

More Resources:


Featured Image: Pressmaster/Shutterstock

Advertisement

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SEO

Measuring Content Impact Across The Customer Journey

Published

on

By

Measuring Content Impact Across The Customer Journey

Understanding the impact of your content at every touchpoint of the customer journey is essential – but that’s easier said than done. From attracting potential leads to nurturing them into loyal customers, there are many touchpoints to look into.

So how do you identify and take advantage of these opportunities for growth?

Watch this on-demand webinar and learn a comprehensive approach for measuring the value of your content initiatives, so you can optimize resource allocation for maximum impact.

You’ll learn:

  • Fresh methods for measuring your content’s impact.
  • Fascinating insights using first-touch attribution, and how it differs from the usual last-touch perspective.
  • Ways to persuade decision-makers to invest in more content by showcasing its value convincingly.

With Bill Franklin and Oliver Tani of DAC Group, we unravel the nuances of attribution modeling, emphasizing the significance of layering first-touch and last-touch attribution within your measurement strategy. 

Check out these insights to help you craft compelling content tailored to each stage, using an approach rooted in first-hand experience to ensure your content resonates.

Advertisement

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or new to content measurement, this webinar promises valuable insights and actionable tactics to elevate your SEO game and optimize your content initiatives for success. 

View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

Published

on

How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords are the keywords your rivals rank for in Google’s search results. They may rank organically or pay for Google Ads to rank in the paid results.

Knowing your competitors’ keywords is the easiest form of keyword research. If your competitors rank for or target particular keywords, it might be worth it for you to target them, too.

There is no way to see your competitors’ keywords without a tool like Ahrefs, which has a database of keywords and the sites that rank for them. As far as we know, Ahrefs has the biggest database of these keywords.

How to find all the keywords your competitor ranks for

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report

The report is sorted by traffic to show you the keywords sending your competitor the most visits. For example, Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword “mailchimp.”

Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.

Since you’re unlikely to rank for your competitor’s brand, you might want to exclude branded keywords from the report. You can do this by adding a Keyword > Doesn’t contain filter. In this example, we’ll filter out keywords containing “mailchimp” or any potential misspellings:

Filtering out branded keywords in Organic keywords reportFiltering out branded keywords in Organic keywords report

If you’re a new brand competing with one that’s established, you might also want to look for popular low-difficulty keywords. You can do this by setting the Volume filter to a minimum of 500 and the KD filter to a maximum of 10.

Finding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywordsFinding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywords

How to find keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter your competitor’s domain in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis reportCompetitive analysis report

Hit “Show keyword opportunities,” and you’ll see all the keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap reportContent gap report

You can also add a Volume and KD filter to find popular, low-difficulty keywords in this report.

Volume and KD filter in Content gapVolume and KD filter in Content gap

How to find keywords multiple competitors rank for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter the domains of multiple competitors in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis report with multiple competitorsCompetitive analysis report with multiple competitors

You’ll see all the keywords that at least one of these competitors ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap report with multiple competitorsContent gap report with multiple competitors

You can also narrow the list down to keywords that all competitors rank for. Click on the Competitors’ positions filter and choose All 3 competitors:

Selecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank forSelecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank for
  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Paid keywords report
Paid keywords reportPaid keywords report

This report shows you the keywords your competitors are targeting via Google Ads.

Since your competitor is paying for traffic from these keywords, it may indicate that they’re profitable for them—and could be for you, too.

Advertisement

You know what keywords your competitors are ranking for or bidding on. But what do you do with them? There are basically three options.

1. Create pages to target these keywords

You can only rank for keywords if you have content about them. So, the most straightforward thing you can do for competitors’ keywords you want to rank for is to create pages to target them.

However, before you do this, it’s worth clustering your competitor’s keywords by Parent Topic. This will group keywords that mean the same or similar things so you can target them all with one page.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Export your competitor’s keywords, either from the Organic Keywords or Content Gap report
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
Clustering keywords by Parent TopicClustering keywords by Parent Topic

For example, MailChimp ranks for keywords like “what is digital marketing” and “digital marketing definition.” These and many others get clustered under the Parent Topic of “digital marketing” because people searching for them are all looking for the same thing: a definition of digital marketing. You only need to create one page to potentially rank for all these keywords.

Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"

2. Optimize existing content by filling subtopics

You don’t always need to create new content to rank for competitors’ keywords. Sometimes, you can optimize the content you already have to rank for them.

How do you know which keywords you can do this for? Try this:

Advertisement
  1. Export your competitor’s keywords
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
  4. Look for Parent Topics you already have content about

For example, if we analyze our competitor, we can see that seven keywords they rank for fall under the Parent Topic of “press release template.”

Our competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" clusterOur competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" cluster

If we search our site, we see that we already have a page about this topic.

Site search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templatesSite search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templates

If we click the caret and check the keywords in the cluster, we see keywords like “press release example” and “press release format.”

Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"

To rank for the keywords in the cluster, we can probably optimize the page we already have by adding sections about the subtopics of “press release examples” and “press release format.”

3. Target these keywords with Google Ads

Paid keywords are the simplest—look through the report and see if there are any relevant keywords you might want to target, too.

For example, Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter.”

Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

If you’re ConvertKit, you may also want to target this keyword since it’s relevant.

If you decide to target the same keyword via Google Ads, you can hover over the magnifying glass to see the ads your competitor is using.

Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

You can also see the landing page your competitor directs ad traffic to under the URL column.

The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”

Learn more

Check out more tutorials on how to do competitor keyword analysis:

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

Google Confirms Links Are Not That Important

Published

on

By

Google confirms that links are not that important anymore

Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed at a recent search marketing conference that Google needs very few links, adding to the growing body of evidence that publishers need to focus on other factors. Gary tweeted confirmation that he indeed say those words.

Background Of Links For Ranking

Links were discovered in the late 1990’s to be a good signal for search engines to use for validating how authoritative a website is and then Google discovered soon after that anchor text could be used to provide semantic signals about what a webpage was about.

One of the most important research papers was Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment by Jon M. Kleinberg, published around 1998 (link to research paper at the end of the article). The main discovery of this research paper is that there is too many web pages and there was no objective way to filter search results for quality in order to rank web pages for a subjective idea of relevance.

The author of the research paper discovered that links could be used as an objective filter for authoritativeness.

Kleinberg wrote:

Advertisement

“To provide effective search methods under these conditions, one needs a way to filter, from among a huge collection of relevant pages, a small set of the most “authoritative” or ‘definitive’ ones.”

This is the most influential research paper on links because it kick-started more research on ways to use links beyond as an authority metric but as a subjective metric for relevance.

Objective is something factual. Subjective is something that’s closer to an opinion. The founders of Google discovered how to use the subjective opinions of the Internet as a relevance metric for what to rank in the search results.

What Larry Page and Sergey Brin discovered and shared in their research paper (The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine – link at end of this article) was that it was possible to harness the power of anchor text to determine the subjective opinion of relevance from actual humans. It was essentially crowdsourcing the opinions of millions of website expressed through the link structure between each webpage.

What Did Gary Illyes Say About Links In 2024?

At a recent search conference in Bulgaria, Google’s Gary Illyes made a comment about how Google doesn’t really need that many links and how Google has made links less important.

Patrick Stox tweeted about what he heard at the search conference:

” ‘We need very few links to rank pages… Over the years we’ve made links less important.’ @methode #serpconf2024″

Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted a confirmation of that statement:

Advertisement

“I shouldn’t have said that… I definitely shouldn’t have said that”

Why Links Matter Less

The initial state of anchor text when Google first used links for ranking purposes was absolutely non-spammy, which is why it was so useful. Hyperlinks were primarily used as a way to send traffic from one website to another website.

But by 2004 or 2005 Google was using statistical analysis to detect manipulated links, then around 2004 “powered-by” links in website footers stopped passing anchor text value, and by 2006 links close to the words “advertising” stopped passing link value, links from directories stopped passing ranking value and by 2012 Google deployed a massive link algorithm called Penguin that destroyed the rankings of likely millions of websites, many of which were using guest posting.

The link signal eventually became so bad that Google decided in 2019 to selectively use nofollow links for ranking purposes. Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that the change to nofollow was made because of the link signal.

Google Explicitly Confirms That Links Matter Less

In 2023 Google’s Gary Illyes shared at a PubCon Austin that links were not even in the top 3 of ranking factors. Then in March 2024, coinciding with the March 2024 Core Algorithm Update, Google updated their spam policies documentation to downplay the importance of links for ranking purposes.

Google March 2024 Core Update: 4 Changes To Link Signal

The documentation previously said:

Advertisement

“Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

The update to the documentation that mentioned links was updated to remove the word important.

Links are not just listed as just another factor:

“Google uses links as a factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

At the beginning of April Google’s John Mueller advised that there are more useful SEO activities to engage on than links.

Mueller explained:

“There are more important things for websites nowadays, and over-focusing on links will often result in you wasting your time doing things that don’t make your website better overall”

Finally, Gary Illyes explicitly said that Google needs very few links to rank webpages and confirmed it.

Why Google Doesn’t Need Links

The reason why Google doesn’t need many links is likely because of the extent of AI and natural language undertanding that Google uses in their algorithms. Google must be highly confident in its algorithm to be able to explicitly say that they don’t need it.

Way back when Google implemented the nofollow into the algorithm there were many link builders who sold comment spam links who continued to lie that comment spam still worked. As someone who started link building at the very beginning of modern SEO (I was the moderator of the link building forum at the #1 SEO forum of that time), I can say with confidence that links have stopped playing much of a role in rankings beginning several years ago, which is why I stopped about five or six years ago.

Read the research papers

Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment – Jon M. Kleinberg (PDF)

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Featured Image by Shutterstock/RYO Alexandre

Advertisement



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending

Follow by Email
RSS