Online Press Release Distribution No Longer Helps SEO. True or False?

A well-worn Internet marketing tactic is to distribute press releases through an online distribution service that syndicates your press release to a myriad of news websites. If it’s well-written and news-worthy, you’ll be rewarded with online publicity and hundreds of links back to your website.

Link-Building with Press releases for SEOEach link acts as a vote telling Google there’s cool stuff on your website. These votes help Google separate the wheat from the chaff, and help your website to climb the search-engine-results’ ladder.

Recently, however, there’s been a lot of chatter online as to whether press release distribution still makes sense.  That’s because Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, published a blog post saying that press releases no longer help.  He should know…..right?

Maybe not.

A search engine optimization (SEO) guru conducted a test. He distributed a press release that included links to Matt Cutts’ blog post from a bogus word ‘sreppleasers’, an anagram of press releases. Matt Cutts’ post is now first in Google for ‘sreppleasers’—certainly a word that was not mentioned Matt Cutt’s original in the post!  This proves the test press release helped in making the blog post the authoritative web page for ‘sreppleasers’.

This test seems to prove that press releases still work to generate links that can boost your website’s search engine rankings. And my review of the online chatter brought me to these conclusions.

Free Press Release Distribution Websites Are Not SEO Power-Houses

Simply publishing your press release on a free press-release-distribution website isn’t going to give your website upward momentum.


Because these site are easy, unsupervised playing fields.  So even if you write a press release jam-packed with newsy tidbits, it could be rubbing elbows with fluff pieces published simply to build links and fool the search engines.

Yes, there are companies out there that publish just for the sake of building links.

I was talking with an SEO specialist the other day who told me about a company that was publishing press releases every day.  “I can’t imagine there being something news-worthy every day,” I said.  “My point exactly,” he responded.

So your press release doesn’t gain much credibility hanging out with press releases published by companies trying to game Google’s algorithms.

Press Release Websites with Good Reputations

If you publish a press releases, however, on websites with solid reputations, like PR Newswire and PR Web, it can help. These websites review content before it’s posted, assuring better quality.  Also, they syndicate the releases to news websites that have clout, like, and more.

Obviously, for your press release to star on a website like, it has to be well written and news worthy.  So if it claims a stake in the ground there, you’ve got some link juice coming your way that can power up your rankings.

Well-Written and New-Worthy Releases

I mentioned in point #2 that your press release needs to be news worthy and well written.  Just like in the old days (pre-Internet) it has to get past the media gatekeepers.

Optimize the Release and Add Your Links

Of course, you need to optimize your press release with the keywords you’re targeting for search engine rankings.  And, include as many links as are allowed pointing back to your website.

A Final Thought

Finally, this all boils down to a quote I included in my e-book “How to Transform Your Website into an Internet Marketing Machine.”

Search is a complicated and evolving art and science, so rather than focusing on specific algorithmic tweaks, we encourage you to focus on delivering the best possible experience for users.”—GOOGLE

That’s one thing about SEO that never seems to change.  If you abide by this rule, you’ll be well on your way.

If you need help with Internet marketing, search engine optimization or writing those news-worthy press releases, give us a call at 610-340-0622 or sign up for a free consultation.








  1. Stephen D. Forman says:

    Hi Carolyn,

    I’ve got to admit– when I read this blog post (courtesy of following you on Twitter), I got very nervous. Reason being, for the last few years we’ve used a service called ExpertClick to distribute our press releases. Generally speaking, we’ve been quite happy with their service, the ease of production, the tracking, the periodic extras, the amount of coverage/readership, and particularly the value.

    But I have noticed a few of my competitors hopping onto ExpertClick and swamping the site with daily, nonsense Press Releases. It’s a grave concern to me. I’m old school: you issue a Press Release when you’ve got something newsworthy to say.

    But my competitors are clearly “up to something”– they’re trying to keyword-stuff, or issue a release for each of 50 states. Each is poorly-written and typically just regurgitated content verbatim off the sitepage it links back to. Here’s an example of one violator:

    Anything you can recommend? Does this mean ExpertClick is finished? Do I have to leave? Or can I stay as long as I continue writing (what I consider) good quality Press Releases?

    Stephen D. Forman, CLTC
    Long Term Care Associates, Inc.

    • Steve:

      I don’t think your competitors are going to be successful with their current keyword stuffing strategy. They are certainly no up with the times and what it takes to be successful on the web.

      I don’t know enough about ExpertClick to give you a solid recommendation, but I would feel the same way you do. After all, who wants their content hanging out with a poorly written articles? You can easily be defined by the company you keep. It appears that ExpertClick is not reviewing the content that they publish and my gut instinct would be to switch to a service that cared about the quality of what they published.

      Thanks for stopping by!


      • Stephen D. Forman says:

        Thanks for your opinion Carolyn. I do believe there’s some “major players” who also use ExpertClick, yet on the other hand I’ve also seen some Fortune 500 corporations use that gimmick of issuing 50 State-specific press releases instead of 1.

        Obviously when your service gives you Unlimited releases for a flat-fee/year, they’re probably not going to have the same quality-control as a PRWeb. It’s on us, then. Lots of food-for-thought there, thanks!

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