Proof Against Matt Cutts Claims that Press Releases Don’t Benefit Rankings?

May 10, 2013

Google’s Matt Cutts has stated that links from press releases shouldn’t be expected to factor into your rankings, and cannot directly benefit your site. But, despite Cutts’ obvious insight into the inner workings of Google’s algorithm, the SEO world is abuzz with the potential that what Cutts has to say may not be the case–at least not entirely. And they’ve set out to prove his statement wrong. Here’s one example of what Cutts had to say on the subject of press release links:

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 10.03.54 AM While expert advice, information, and warnings from Cutts have often been accepted as Google-fact, recently, many SEO-ers have called into question Matt Cutts’ proclamation that links within press releases, unfortunately, offer ‘no direct ranking benefit’. To test the theory, the folks over at SEOConsult created a press release that linked directly (and ironically) straight to Matt Cutts’ blog. They released the the piece, complete with unique anchor text and the accompanying links to the blog, and within a matter of days, Cutts’ blog was ranking on Google for that unique anchor text. And there are other examples out there, all trying to prove the same point: that links from press releases are far from useless when it comes to driving rankings. While a few counterpoints to Matt Cutts claims are not exactly conclusive evidence either way, it is interesting to see that it’s not impossible to rank for the anchor text used in press releases.

So, are Press Releases still powerful marketing tools? Are their links beneficial?

Are press releases really capable of producing links that drive rankings on Google? And if–as SEOConsult’s test attempted to show–their links are capable of affecting your rankings, then what did Matt Cutts really mean when he said not to expect them to benefit your site’s rankings? Perhaps Cutts was implying that press release links don’t often benefit your rankings when they’re coming from certain sites or maybe that they are ineffective when attempting to drive competitive rankings. Despite all this, however, their is still a concrete marketing value associated with press releases, just like with any high-quality, unique, and relevant content you put out on the web. The takeaway? Keep doing what you’re doing. Create quality press releases, ones that aren’t over-optimized, ones that are relevant, and most importantly, ones that are worth reading. Press releases help your business share exciting news with your audience, keep your brand top-of-mind, ensure you’re getting fresh content out on the web, and have the potential to include links capable driving real traffic and (despite Cutts’ remarks to the contrary) and boosting your rankings.

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