Create nofollow links, anchor links
Now that Google has cracked down on link schemes, link networks and unnatural linking, PR pros have to work to avoid SEO penalties for linking.
1. Craft anchor links.
News portals like Google News and Yahoo! News are great places to get your press releases seen. Problem is, many portals often don’t support anchor text.
Anchor text looks like this:
one-on-one writing coaching
But because many portals don’t publish anchor text, the inbound marketing experts at HubSpot recommend adding a URL next to your anchor text, like this: one-on-one writing coaching (https://www.wyliecomm.com/content-writing-consultancy/content-writing-coaching/).
one-on-one writing coaching (https://www.wyliecomm.com/content-writing-consultancy/content-writing-coaching/)
Then, even if the portal doesn’t publish live URLs, the portal’s readers will see your link.
2. Use nofollow links.
Back in the good old days, inbound links counted for 75% of a website’s PageRank results. When other sites posted press releases linking back to your organization’s web page, those inbound links boosted the organization’s ranking on search engine results pages.
Then, in a 2012 algorithm update that many saw as targeting releases, Google took on inbound linking schemes. Now, Google sees publishing releases on portals to generate inbound links as gaming the system. The penalty: lower rankings.
So what’s a PR pro to do?
To avoid that penalty, add a rel=“nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag or redirect links to an intermediate page that’s blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file. (Or, if you’re like me, ask your webmaster to do it.)
And about those inbound links … While Google doesn’t positively weigh links from your press release back to your website in its search algorithms, it does give you credit when third parties share those links in references to your story.
“If your press release is successful and generates news coverage, blog posts and social media engagement, it will generate earned links that boost SEO authority,” according to Business Wire.
How many links per page for SEO?
Here are some guidelines for safe linking in releases, from the pros at Business Wire:
- Link sparingly. The more links you use, the less SEO credit you get for all of your links. Instead of overlinking, write a release that will generate news coverage, blog posts and social media engagement. That will generate earned links that boost SEO authority.
- Offer high-value links. Google rewards a good user experience above all. Adding links to your a news release won’t help SEO unless people find them useful.
- Link calls to action that drive readers to related stories.
- Avoid self-serving and overly promotional links that don’t add value.
- Move vanity links to the boilerplate. Move links to the names of individuals, products or subsidiaries from the first paragraph of your release unless they are needed provide contextual value earlier in your copy.
- Remember, if a human finds your press release link valuable, Google will recognize it as a good link.
Source: “Five Easy SEO Tricks to Improve Your Next Press Release,” Cision, November 2017
Business Wire, A Guide to Press Release Optimization, 2015
Rebecca Corliss and Mike Volpe, “How to Be Smarter Than Your PR Agency: New Research on News Release Best Practices,” HubSpot, May 20, 2009