Google Advises that NoFollow links should be used in Press Releases
As of 2013, Google has mandated NoFollow links for any press release materials, calling optimized anchor text links in this type of press content unnatural. Although Google has made these direct links in press releases irrelevant for SEO purposes, press release still play an important role in organic link building strategies.
First and foremost, in order to avoid being penalized by Google, reputable press release distribution services such as NewswireGenius automatically include a NoFollow tag (rel=”nofollow”) in any press release links. This will ensure the link still works for any readers, but won’t be directly included in a search engine’s algorithm to determine your website’s domain authority. Additionally, you’ll want to stay away from putting in numerous links to heavily-optimized keywords by utilizing your brand name or generic text as the anchor. Overall, it’s important to stay away from including too many links, one or two at most, to create a reading experience for your target audience that does not take away from the main points you’re trying to convey through your release. Finally, if you’ve distributed a lot of SEO-optimized press releases in the past, you may want to consider taking those release down or disavowing those old links. This will ensure you don’t get penalized for old links that my come back to hurt you in the long run.
With all of these new rules in place, how can a press release help your SEO strategy? Adding a NoFollow link does not automatically disqualify the entire release from being indexed by search engines. The keywords that you put into the release and the content you create for it will still be relevant to search engines and rank accordingly. The NoFollow link rule merely discourages those companies that were only using press releases to stuff keywords and generate inbound links without concern as to the newsworthiness of their releases. While a press release itself cannot contain DoFollow links, if a journalist or blogger reads your press release and writes their own article about it, the article they write can contain DoFollow links. So you can see that with these rules, Google is striving to maintain the original intent of press releases, which is that newsworthy news be weighted more heavily than releases that the media do not consider to be newsworthy.
Thus, if your press release has relevant content for those keywords and gets read because of that relevancy, it’ll rank higher naturally. And if it’s newsworthy, journalists are likely to write about it and include links to your site, which will help your site’s backlink profile and domain authority. It’s good practice to leverage your press release on multiple platforms, including in social media, to create a natural path for readers to get to your press release. You can also consider creating additional content such as blog posts and infographics to capture the attention of consumers and journalists, and ultimately land a link back from a reputable news outlet. For more tips on how to leverage your press release for a strong SEO strategy, take a look at our post on how press releases can help your search engine rankings.