As a publicist, hearing about Google’s updated link scheme earlier this month made me a little nervous. Basically, the search gurus at Google announced that links within press releases should all be “nofollowed” – a search term meaning that the hyperlink shouldn’t influence the target page’s ranking in search engines. The reasoning? Google equates press releases to being solely self-promotional.
I have to say that I don’t think of press releases as solely self-promotional pieces, but rather informational resource hubs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend to clients that we issue them. But, as a result of this announcement, the PR industry is in a panic trying to figure out what to do with all their links and what to link (if anything) moving forward. At 451, we have a team of search marketing pros to help us navigate through this change. I sat down with our EVP of Digital Marketing, Francis Skipper, and walked away with three main takeaways:
1. Don’t panic.
Keep doing what you’re doing. As long as you aren’t being spammy (sending out countless self-promotional releases a week) or trying to manipulate the system, you should be ok.
2. As always, link when things are appropriate and relevant.
If your release is about a new product, link to the new product. Also, don’t be scared to link people to press rooms for more information or contact purposes. Don’t link randomly just to boost your SEO value.
3. We haven’t seen any negative effects.
And we hopefully won’t, because we don’t use spammy or manipulative tactics.
This is the philosophy we’re sticking with at 451. Obviously, if our search team notices any changes that negatively affect our work, we’ll immediately react and adjust accordingly.