July 3, 2014 | Paul Jahn

This is great news. Greg Jarboe at Search Engine Land writes on how PR Newswire press release guidelines are now targeting search engine spam:

These guidelines are designed to reduce the distribution of low-quality content over PR Newswire’s distribution network and the exploitation of press releases on its website to artificially manipulate search rankings.

They offered up a list of “content quality factors” for which they’ll be reviewing all press releases:

  • original content,
  • insightful analysis,
  • varied formats (ostensibly to weed out “templated copy”),
  • length of copy (to rule out short-form, link-baity articles),
  • keyword stuffing and/or overuse of linking.

For those in the industry, you know that SEO spam has been prevalent on press release sites for years. For those who aren’t aware, here’s an example from a rival press release site:

pr blog post

As well, freelancers and big companies alike have long presented “We achieved top rankings for our client’s top 5 keywords” releases. This is without any mention of analytics or conversions and their sole purpose is for artificial link building and search result manipulation.

This isn’t newsworthy. It’s just not. It’s low-quality content.

Anchor text, which is fantastic for internal linking and usability purposes, simply should not be used in press releases in an attempt to artificially manipulate search engine results. It used to be great for releases but is now frowned upon by Google.

Here’s an example of what Google considers a violation of their T.O.S. about unnatural link building, including those from press releases:

Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.


For example: There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.

Here are a few internal guidelines that we like to use when writing press releases:

  • Write a release that’s newsworthy
  • Use a great copywriter
  • Link to the home page only
  • Write for the users – no keyword stuffing
  • Share the release socially

What are your favorite ways to write an effective press release? We’d love to hear from you.






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