It used to be so easy. You wrote press releases for the press, and a very small number at that. It may have been the case before emails and web access that you sent out press releases to a whole list of potentially interested journalists, but you were more likely to just send them to 10 or 20 writers that you already had a relationship with.
Matters in the internet age have become more complicated. It is important that public relations change with the time and that it is an industry that keeps pace with economic and cultural changes, but unfortunately there are people in the Search Engine Optimisation industry who are trying to subvert public relations for their own end and are claiming the press release for SEO.
These people are only interested in one thing: building links.
SEO is divided into two parts: on-page and off-page optimisation. On-page optimisation is concerned with the right keywords being in the right place, whether that is in the title, headers or body of text. Off-page optimisation is mostly about building incoming links to a website. It is widely regarded that the quantity and quality of incoming links is the most important part of SEO.
These SEOists have noticed all the free press release distribution sites and seen a potential way of building backlinks. The following are all genuine article headlines from large SEO sites: ‘Press Releases New SEO Back Door to Top Rankings’, ‘Link Building via Press Releases For SEO Rankings’, ‘Why Does Your Company Need SEO Press Releases?’
Consequently, thanks to the SEO crowd, the internet is now riddled with press release spam. Every two-bit, wannabe SEO practitioner has been advising their client to write as many press releases as possible at every opportunity. You need links, they declare, so get them from free press release sites. Providing a list of such websites they send clients off happy in the knowledge that they are doing something to build their website or business up. There are even a number of SEO companies that specialise in using these free press release services to distribute client “spam releases” – all for a hefty fee of course.
Lets make matters clear: only release a press release when you have something to announce and, more to the point, something newsworthy.
Put yourself in the shoes of a journalist or blogger. Is there anything in your press release that somebody on the net could write about? Is there anything there to inspire a wordsmith?
By all means use the quality free press release distribution services, but also develop one-to-one relationships with bloggers and journalists in your niche. So when you do write and send out a press release you can email them a copy directly. You’ll have far more chance of receiving publicity this way, and with publicity on the internet also comes those precious backlinks.
So remember: press releases for the press. Let us spend time redefining just what constitutes the press in the internet age rather then writing and distributing spam for SEO purposes.