No official Google announcements but it’s been noticed that the link scheme documentation for Google webmaster guidelines has undergone a change. The page is now telling us that press releases and guest posts can also violate the link scheme guidelines. Some of the SEO tactics that are most commonly used today are large scale advertising-type press releases and guest posting that are using optimized anchor texts in the item.
Three bullet points that Google has added to the page explain about violations. These are things that Google believes are against the guidelines that they have set down. The new additions include:
- 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 a press release distributed on other sites.
In addition and perhaps thankfully there are two bullet points which are now missing from the fray.
- Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank.
- Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence.
Google seems to be letting us know that they aren’t going to deal with high level advertising or anchor texts inside press releases which are meant to be newsworthy. They are discouraging the use of guest postings and press releases with anchor text. While press releases are still a viable option for you to use in the promotion of your site, they should be used sparingly and used in a way that promotes actual news, rather than being used simply as a promotional tool.
Press releases have always been–or at least traditionally so– items which promoted an actual piece of news about the site. They were expected to be objective, to be written in such a way that they were not advertorial. Many websites and webmasters have gotten away from this methodology of using press releases and Google seems to be trying to bring us back to that.
To get the best from your press releases, order your press releases to look much less like an actual article and much more like a newsworthy and objective release of information. They should be objective in every way and not keyword-flooded in order to ensure that they get the attention that they deserve.