Google has recently updated its “link schemes” guidelines to cover over-optimised press releases.
For those unfamiliar with this document, the links schemes guidelines covers link generation techniques that Google considers bad practice, and states their intention to penalise any website it deems has contravened these rules.
With regard to press releases and articles, Google has become concerned about:
“Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.”
(For those that aren’t familiar with this terminology, anchor text is simply text that has a link added to it – e.g. electronics pr agency)
For press releases and articles, it has long been best practice to create a link to a relevant page on your website from a targeted word or phrase in your press release or article.
Doing so now may incur the wrath of Google, and even worse, your website may be penalised and dropped from Google’s search results.
How to create an SEO optimised press release?
Some things haven’t changed. We still recommend optimising the content of the press release to include variations around the central theme – using appropriate acronyms, synonyms and spelling variations.
This enables Google to understand the theme of the content, and infer that any web pages linked the press release are likely to follow theme, and therefore receive a boost from that link.
How to create optimised links from press releases to your website?
Instead of creating a link on anchor text, simply use a URL near to the search phrase you’re targeting e.g. Find out more about the world’s leading electronics PR agency: www.publitek.com.
Alternatively, you could use a generic term – e.g. click here, read more, or whatever call-to-action you prefer.
Where to add links in your optimised press release?
Add your links as close to the top as makes sense. Google places higher prominence on links found closer to the start of content, so add them just after your opening paragraph, or wherever seems most natural in the flow of copy.
At this point it’s worth noting that having multiple links to the same page does not add any additional value – Google only includes the first link it sees.
Having said that, I’d recommend adding the link(s) there, and again at the end of the content – for those visitors that read entire thing.
Nofollow? No point.
As a footnote, I need to point out that there is another option. A link can be tagged as “nofollow” – meaning that Google will ignore it. Therefore you can add a “nofollow” tag to optimised anchor text and Google won’t penalise you for it.
In fact, a number of well-known PR newswire services have added this functionality into their systems – allowing you to add these tags to links in the document.
In my opinion, this isn’t a great solution. You’re taking away the value of the link, so why include it in the first place, and creating more work for yourselves, and aren’t we all busy enough already?