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Top 5 Free Press Release Link Building Resources

In order to increase brand recognition and visibility, many businesses are promoting their services and merchandise online these days. Press releases are an effective and inexpensive way to accomplish this task. The Internet provides multiple free sources for the distribution of press releases, but I have listed the top five here in terms of popularity, visibility and general SEO worth to your site.

24-7 Press Release
http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/

Alexa Rank: 15982
Pagerank: 6

24-7 Press Release offers a free press release plan which allows you to post one press release each day. They also have numerous other options for your PR team to consider. Their resources page also has some informative tips on writing press releases.

 

Free Press Release
http://www.free-press-release.com/

Alexa Rank: 4820
Pagerank: 5

This site is a little more functional since their free distribution option allows you to customize your press release with different font styles. They also offer the option to add up to three images to your release for one dollar, so you can really spice it up with your company logo or relevant photos.

 

PR.com
http://www.pr.com/

Alexa Rank: 8892
Page Rank: 6

This press release site is different from most others in that the releases are categorized. This comes in handy when you want to target a specific audience or bring qualified traffic to your site.

 

i-Newswire
http://www.i-newswire.com/

Alexa Rank: 12613
Pagerank: 6

With several distribution channels, such as a ‘new site’ distribution category, RSS feed distribution and search engine distribution; i-Newswire offers users the ability to meet specific needs other PR sites don’t. These specific channels are run by their distribution partners, which are listed on their Homepage.

 

PRLog
http://www.prlog.org/

Alexa: 2731
Pagerank: 6

PRLog is arguably the most functional of the top five, at least with the options available for free. You are allowed to include company logos, clickable links and a host of other options at no additional cost. There is no limit to the number of posts and many of the customizable properties of their formatting are SEO friendly.

 

Each of these sources offer tips on making the most of your press releases. The visual appearance and quality of the release is important but so are the distribution channels — who and how many people it will reach. Your best approach is to try several sites and see which one works best for you. When submitting, don’t forget to also promote your PR’s across social media channels.

Post-Penguin SEO In 2013: Foundational Strategies

According to Matt Cutts, Google’s well-known search engineer, Google’s algorithms change as frequently as once a day. On average, the algorithm changes around 500 times per year. If you think about it, keeping up with this many algorithm changes is impossible. Instead of focusing your energies on Penguin, Panda and other algorithm updates, you need to go deeper and beyond the commonly employed SEO techniques. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Share-worthy Guest Posts

We all know that guest blogging is a hotly debated topic in the SEO community. It is arguably one of the best ways to get traffic, backlinks and improve your social profile, all at the same time. But in the same way we permanently ruined article directories by stuffing our articles with keywords, many people are also misusing guest blogging. There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, full of useless, keyword-infused content with no real value.

The links within these so-called guest blogs never get clicked on, and the pages have abnormally high bounce-rates. However, the fact that there are tons of mediocre guest blogs out there makes it easier for you to stand out, especially if your content is unique, original and share-worthy. Truly useful content often gets passed around on social networks, and legitimate referral traffic from social networks is an indicator of human activity. Search engines look for pages with high levels of human activity, and actively measure social signals such as: facebook likes, tweets, shares and comments.

With this said, you have an even greater incentive to write useful content rather than writing content for the sake of it. Think of guest blogging as an opportunity to make an impression on the host website’s visitors. You will only get one chance, but if you write an innovative and unique post with a twist, the host might invite you to write more posts.

Author Rank

Author rank is yet another step by Google towards a better web. The idea is to rank authors based on the authority and quality of their content as determined by Google’s algorithms. So, how does one go about building author rank?

Google+ comes in handy here. Go to the “About” section of your Google+ profile and add links to the webpages you regularly contribute content to. It is important to remember that Google+ plays an integral part in building your author rank, and Google considers many factors to compute it. These factors include: the number of people in your circles; the number of people who have you in their circles; your frequency of content generation, and the level of social activity on your Google+ profile.

This is what you should do to increase your author rank:

1. Create great content regularly
2. Be active on social media
3. Share useful content with people in your network

Co-Citation

Co-citation is yet another hotly debated topic among SEOs, and there seems to be some disagreement on what co-citation is, in addition to co-occurrence. Some theorize co-citation as a step by Google towards a more intelligent and semantic web. The concept itself is pretty simple to understand, and there are real examples in which co-citation has helped websites rank for keywords that were neither in their title, nor in their description tags.

Co-citation can best be explained with an example. Suppose Rob’s Ice Cream Parlor makes great “Blueberry Ice Cream.” In this case, search engines cannot make a connection between the keywords “Rob’s Ice Cream Parlor” and “Blueberry Ice Cream” unless they have been mentioned together on various websites. Google can now spot if there is a connection between two keywords or key-phrases, like the correlation between a company and its products.

There are numerous examples of co-citation that help websites rank for keywords they aren’t even attempting to rank. SEOmoz’s famous, Open Site Explorer ranks for the search term, “backlink analysis,” even though it isn’t mentioned in title, description or the page itself. Google picked up some other article from somewhere else on the web for use in the search snippet and that article does mention “backlink analysis” and “Open Site Explorer” together.

Press Releases

Some things never get old. Press releases are one of the oldest tricks in a SEO’s arsenal, but they still work. A well-positioned press release with useful information about your company’s products or services not only drives traffic to your website, but also helps increase awareness about your brand amongst the public. Apart from usefulness of your content, you can also insert relevant anchor texts where necessary to your home and inner pages. This helps you get backlinks and traffic, simultaneously.

How you distribute your press release is also very important. You can choose to email it to journalists and online news outlets manually, or use the services of a company like PRWeb or PR Newswire. Most of these companies guarantee syndication of your press release to hundreds of online news outlets, so if you know how to write a great press release, it can prove to be a great tool (especially when you’re launching a new product, service or campaign).

It is important to note that Matt Cutts of Google has stated that backlinks from press releases do not contribute towards page rank, but some recent tests have proven otherwise.

Social Media Signals

A couple of years ago, Matt Cutts denied the effect of social signals on rankings, but his denial has now changed into guilty admission. Not only do social signals affect rankings, but Google also made social signals an integral part of their ranking algorithm with the introduction of Google+.

So, what’s all the fuss about? It’s quite simple, really. Social signals, as we mentioned earlier, are an indicator of human activity. The number of times something gets liked, tweeted or commented on becomes an indicator of social value. The more popular something is, the more authoritative it becomes. This means social signals not only have the ability to affect rankings, but also the perceived value and authority of a website in the eyes of search engines.

Google and Bing, both major search engines, actively consider social signals to help rank websites and make SERPs more relevant to the user. Therefore, it is more important than ever to create share-worthy content, which can even go viral if you’re lucky, and focus your efforts on creating value rather than brute link building.

Link Building With Press Releases

There was a time, long before search engine optimization overtook the way people create content, that press releases were reserved for seriously impactful announcements about a company’s new products, a new direction, or things like mergers and acquisitions. Press releases were infrequent, important, and noteworthy for the wide community of business professionals and customers who had a vested interest in that company. And then, starting about a decade ago, website owners discovered that a press release or two could actually boost their website’s ranking at major search engine like Google.

After it was discovered that press releases were a really big deal for search engine optimization, their importance began to wane, at least online. Over the next ten years, websites would release statements not only announcing new products and business directions, but also announcing things like how great their business was, and how high they were aiming for the new year. Press releases began stating the quality of products, rather than the novelty of them. In time, most people learned to ignore press releases. So did the search engines.

Do Fewer Blasts & Back Link Existing Press Releases More

Search engines have long recognized the potential for press release abuse and, with recent algorithm updates, Google has addressed this issue head-on. In recent years, the company’s Penguin and Panda updates have sought to reduce the importance of press releases, largely because they are so frequently abused. They’re also not very good for link building, especially within the new paradigm being promoted for today’s major search engines. There are three core pieces within that paradigm. A good link building strategy is one that shows all of the following three qualities:

1. It’s aimed at gaining new links from unique top-level domains around the Internet
2. It incorporates social signals and engagement
3. It promotes natural linking conventions and patterns

Each of these three components is completely ignored by those individuals who push out press releases on a daily or weekly basis through the major agencies on line. For a more in-depth look at how these three conventions are essentially being ignored, keep reading.

New Links from Unique Top-Level Domain Names Online

At first, press releases probably seem like a rather genius way to boost a website’s search engine rankings. The links that come into the website are from a large number of online press release firms and syndication agencies, and each link is highly unique. The problem arises the second time around, when website owners send out yet another press release about how great they are, rather than some big news even that’s going to characterize their business. The inbound links generated are, once again, coming from major online press release sites and syndication operations. This time, they are not unique.

Time after time, these links get less unique, more repetitive, and far less effective. In the eyes of Google’s new algorithms, constant links from PR agencies represents a case of abusing the system. If the search engine does determine that a site us sending out abusive and unnecessarily frequent press releases, they’ll further punish the website with an even lower ranking. In the worst cases, they’ll remove the site from Google’s index altogether. That’s a very, very big loss.

Incorporation of Engagement and Social Signals

The release of Google Penguin focused quite a bit on social media referrals and user engagement, and the follow-up Google Panda increased the importance of those activities even more, in its own way. Today, website owners who want to move upward in Google’s search engine rankings need to dramatically improve their user engagement by encouraging their readers to like, tweet, and comment, on a regular basis. Press releases generally do not encourage this at all.

The only real way for a website to boost its search engine rankings would be if a press release inspired someone to go to Facebook, find the company who released the statement, and then click through to that company’s website directly from the social network as a result of the press release. If that sounds convoluted, that’s because it is. It’s highly unlikely to happen, and that means bad news for any website that frequently releases news statements to the major PR wires online.

Natural Linking Patterns and Conventions

A uniform press release is sent to a large number of online PR wires, who all link to the author’s website using the same anchor text. This would only be natural if it occurred one time, on one website, and not in aggregate on tens or hundreds of press release sites. This type of linking is largely ignored by Google if it occurs a large number of times, netting websites no tangible gain in rankings at any major search engine.

All Hope is Not Lost: Simply Don’t Abuse Press Releases

When press releases are sent out to the major PR websites infrequently, they do benefit the author’s website. That’s because these unnatural linking styles are an exception, not a rule, and Google rewards them appropriately. When determining whether to send out a news release, be sure to consider the following questions:

– Is this information unique?
– Is this information newsworthy?
– Have I sent out a press release recently?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then it’s probably a good idea to stay away from issuing a press release. Instead, use a guest post to tell existing customers about exciting new changes in a company’s products. This guest post can also be used as a promotional article, and posting it on an industry blog is a far better use of resources than posting it to a press release website online. Furthermore, because most PR websites require a paid membership in order to distribute news statements, this actually saves quite a bit of money for website owners.

Press Releases Make Excellent Buffer Sites

Instead of churning out press releases, consider employing link building tactics to support the releases that already exist.

All things are good in moderation, including the use of press release to discuss exciting new developments about a company’s products and services.

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