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Google Makes Huge Change in Press Release SEO

While there have been no official announcements, it has been noticed that Google has updated their link schemes document within their webmaster guidelines page.  Specifically, the page now says that large-scale advertorials, optimized anchor text in articles or press releases, and guest posting violate their guidelines.  These are three of the most commonly used SEO tactics today, which makes this quite a significant change.

When looking at the page you’ll now see three main bullet points which were added to the page.  This page is specifically concerning things which Google considers against their SEO guidelines. The three points are:

  • Large-Scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
  • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank.
  • Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.

In addition, they removed the following two bullet points:

  • Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank.
  • Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence.

While at first glance this all seems much more significant than it actually is.  It seems that Google is just attempting to clarify that large-scale article marketing, press release marketing or use of advertorials is discouraged, which it always has been.  As always, the key is to focus on quality in these activities rather than just quantity.  Guest blogging is great, for example, if it is on a page in a related niche.  If, however, the guest blog is posted on dozens of sites which accept content from any source, it is discouraged because it is not providing any value to visitors of either site.

The fact that Google made these changes without any announcement or clarification is somewhat odd, but may just be part of their overall strategy to not explain their every move.  This can also be seen in the fact that they have said that they will no longer confirm or deny any algorithm changes going forward.

What do you think about these changes?  Will it have any impact on your SEO strategies?

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Pesach Lattin

Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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27 Comments

  1. Hi Michael,
    I’m little worry to hear this news that Google made little changes Press Release SEO. Well It’s time to be more aware for Google Activities & News.

    1. I agree. I’m working on another post about this now, which should be out later today. It seems they are going to want all links in press releases to be ‘nofollow’ links.

      This will certainly force many marketers to change up their strategies.

      Michael

    1. I agree with you here. Thousands of marketers and other site owners are using press releases as a major piece of their SEO efforts. If Google is going to start slapping them for it, the least they could do is send out a notice and give people time to adjust.

      Another concern is what is going to happen with the millions of existing press releases floating around out there? Will they have any further impact? Positive or negative?

  2. These changes won’t effect my SEO strategies at all. Most marketers “SEO strategy” is fashioned after the SEO product sold by some self proclaim guru.

    Thus, they become a part of this huge group of “SEO strategist” who Google seems to target. This makes it much easier for entrepreneur who use SEO as one of their traffic generation methods … to gain rankings … often time without the “need” to build a single backlink.

    🙂

    Google is a very small segment of traffic available for online marketers.

    1. I agree that SEO shouldn’t be the only method of getting traffic for any marketer, but it can hardly be said that it is a very small segment of traffic.

      When done properly, SEO can get lots of very targeted traffic and keep it coming in for years.

  3. SEO industry needs to wake up and smell the coffee, Google is determined to stop any sort of manipualtion to SERPS and has a army of experts who will be implementing more changes to beat of the SEO experts

    1. I agree. All of the tricks Google is stopping were questionable and valueless at best, black hat at worst. People need to start realizing that the best SEO is good content, published through relevant channels, not a bunch of tricks.

  4. I think Google is on the right track to reduce the amount of “spam” websites, rather than produce sites that are truly informative when serving up a web search for users.

    Google knows that both regular and “black hat” SEO tricks are employed to artificially bump up rankings — they are just trying to level the playing field. I get very annoyed when I am searching for answers to a question, or looking for information, and I get taken to a site from the front page of specific search results that is just filled with little information and affiliate links to other sites.

  5. That pretty well makes organic search impossible for real world marketing programs. SEO is one spot, one shot, as is Adwords. It’s just more Google squeeze play to drive up bidding on the 25% paid click-through. They ignore the 75% organic click through and sell the 25% CTR paid positions. If one of these search engines ever gets an ounce of “business smart” they will dwarf Google.

  6. I think that maybe the Google kids are getting it… an auto company new product release is more relevant to readers of The Auto Channel than a local TV station site…

    Lets see what the actual results of this change will be…

    1. Well I wonder how long it will take them to get that an auto company new product release is more relevant to readers of The Auto Channel than a Youtube video … wait, they own Youtube … could be a long time then 😉

  7. I’m not sure Google really do this. I think their goal is to scare and reduce the number of links from large-scale advertorials, optimized anchor text in articles or press releases, and guest posting violate.

  8. This goes hand and hand with the latest google update to reduce spammers, and over redundant backlinking methods. I wonder if they will do something like this for YouTube as well?

  9. In other news… Google has now announced they do not want any external links without ‘followplease’ tags- all other links will be treated as spam and can have the webmaster’s website blacklisted till the end of time.

  10. We all know that the latest google updates are especially designed to fight against spammers and irrelevant search results, but (as Rosie said)since when an youtube link has become relevant for a test result interpretation? Yes, since Google bought Youtube… right!

  11. LOL. Google lies. So don’t listen to what Google says. Only watch what Google does (and I don’t mean Google posting some policy note). Either this is something they have always had a policy about (in which case why are you writing about it it’s not news) or it’s new (in which case why are you saying it’s not new).

    Google is a captive and a victim of its own algorithms. In a college test tube page rank works but only with scientific journals. In the real world it clearly does not work. They have a bad algorithm. A link is similar to a vote, but it is not a vote. A link is imbued with many other characteristics than merely a vote. It has real economic value and only a fool would willingly give up that economic value. No amount of rules can change that.

    Despite Google’s policies and algorithms, even the most basic of searches return spammy results. Try typing in a phone number or a (non famous) person’s name or the name of an executable file on your computer and you will see only spammy (and often misleading) results. These are the most basic of searches likely to be conducted by any Google user. So the application of their policies is not uniform. They are selectively applied and selectively enforced and not enforced on even the most basic of searches.

    Because they have a bad algorithm you are not supposed to do those things which otherwise make good sense as: a. a web page or website owner, b. as an author or content creator, c. as a marketer, d. as a business person. You are expected to live in a sterile test tube environment, not form alliances and not act in your own best interest. It’s insane.

    1. Here is a question I am asking on the Google Webmasters Forum…

      How can anyone explain the following page view wild fluctuations?-

      There was no appreciable changes made to our 18 year old million page site.

      About 80% of our traffic comes from natural search.

      Google Analytics Data:

      January 2010 – July 2010 14 million page views

      January 2011- July 2011 11 million page views

      January 2012- July 2012 17 million page views

      January 2013- July2013 10 million page views

      So how do we stay in business with 45% less traffic and 50% less revenue?

      Ideas?

      I am still waiting for an actionable response or an official response…

      1. Good luck in getting a response. If you do hear something back from them, make sure to pass it along to all of us here.

        Figuring out Google is never easy.

  12. Yes Google makes huge changes in press release S.E.O.First of all content of press release should be new informative and it can give description of the product. Any new information regarding any project can be given here also. Our whole government cms team is working on it to make a press release informative and updated time to time.

  13. It is hard to figure out the tactics of Google. But I agree with the fact that SEO should not be the only source of traffic. However, Google should announce the changes that they are going to make at least few months before. It is a bad thing to implement drastic changes with short notice.

    1. Content may be, and should be king, but google holds the keys to the castle…they seem to be the only judge and jury… and in our case, The Auto Channel, unless the judge is seeking relevant and specific information no sound judgment can be made…finding what you are looking for requires looking for it…

  14. Google is still the best search engine.

    Keep trying BING but it is rubbish

    Google’s tinkering with their search algorithms seems to be worth it. Just wish my company was top 10 not top 20 for target words. Oh well more facebook likes needed.

  15. As with all things Google, this is a TOTAL AND COMPLETE LIE intended to throw people off course. Just like everything Matt Cutts says is the opposite of the truth – if he tells you not to do something, there’s only one reason: Because IT WORKS!!

    Case in point: Just a couple of weeks ago, after this bogus new press release rule was published, I used an optimized anchor text link in a widely-distributed press release for a Reputation Management client.

    The result? The site that was linked to shot from bottom of page 2 to top of page 1, above the freaking Wikipedia result for that search phrase!

    So ignore Google’s b.s. guidelines. All they’re intended to do is trick you into stopping SEO strategies that really do work.

  16. When someone writes an post he/she keeps the plan of a user in his/her mind that how a user can know it.

    So that’s why this piece of writing is great. Thanks!

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