Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “SEO: Google Devalues Another Link-building Tactic.”

Google Webmaster ToolsGoogle’s search result quality mission stands seemingly opposed to the search engine optimization practice of link building. For years, SEO professionals have worked to increase the number of external in-bound links to a site in an effort to build authority and trust, thus boosting organic search rankings. One by one, Google has been devaluing these tactics, and press release distribution is the latest target.

Until recently, optimized press releases were a legitimate if increasingly overused link-building strategy. Press releases are written as part of a company’s normal course of business, and links are naturally included in the body of the press release as they would be in any piece of content on your site. So far, no problem.

Then eager marketers realized that optimized links in press releases would pass link value back to their site when distributed via a press release syndication service like PR Newswire. Sites all over the world receive feeds from these distribution services and repost them on their own sites, typically with links still intact. Next came the spam: overabundant linking within the press release coupled with over-optimized anchor text.

According to Google, press release distribution for SEO benefit is just another source of paid links. You pay for the distribution service, and the result is (was) SEO benefit. In fact, PR companies openly listed SEO among the benefits of using their service. As with other forms of paid linking, Google is devaluing these links now. They’re also asking webmasters to nofollow links in press releases in the same way that links from advertisements should be nofollowed…. Read more at “SEO: Google Devalues Another Link-building Tactic.”

Read my articles in full at Practical eCommerce » Jill Kocher

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