Google: NoFollow Those Press Release LinksWritten by Michael Levanduski
August 2, 2013 # 7:23 am # Marketing Insights, Specials # 7 Comments
Last week it was widely reported that Google had changed the page dedicated to link schemes within their webmaster guide to include optimized press release links. In a recent video where John Muller, One of Google’s lead Webmaster Trends Analysts, he was asked a series of questions about this new change. While there were several questions, the bottom line is Google is recommending that any link with anchor text be given the nofollow tag.
Even links which don’t use anchor text, he said, may be better off with the nofollow tag, though it is not something that is required (yet). During the video John Mueller explained that press releases are seen similar to paid advertisements. They aren’t a bad thing, but they also shouldn’t be used as an SEO tool.
Press releases are still a powerful tool to get the word out about a new product, service or other important announcement, however. When marketers use press releases properly to alert news organizations of something important, it should get the news agencies to write their own posts on the subject. These editorial posts can, and will, include links back to the site which will not have the nofollow link. These are the type of links which Google likes best and therefore will help with any SEO efforts the most.
Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search engine spam, has said in the past that press release links don’t pass value anyway, though that has been shown not to be entirely true by some tests done by marketers. Whether or not Google will actually begin to punish marketers who don’t use the nofollow tag in press releases has yet to be seen. It is clear, however, that Google is taking a clearer and much stronger stand on the value of press release links.