When it comes to SEO and links, it can sometimes be hard to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. You obviously don’t want your links on a spam-filled site, but some directory sites also aren’t the greatest, and sometimes links in the comments aren’t really necessary or acceptable. It can get confusing, and links in press releases are no different. This is one of those SEO gray areas that Google likes to create so much. In some ways it seems like it might work, but then other times it seems like such a non-issue that it just isn’t worth your time. So what’s the answer? (Hint: look at the title).

Evidence Regarding Why Links in Press Releases Can Help Your SEO

It first helps to understand why people question this practice in the first place. In the past, it would only make sense that a link in a press release would show results. Why wouldn’t it? The reason so many people have begun to doubt the tactic is because of (of course) Matt Cutts and his love of tweeting. Cutts sent out this tweet on Christmas Day:

Note: I wouldn’t expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however.

Once this tweet came out, SEOs everywhere spent time trying to decipher its meaning and discover whether or not it was true, or just another vague announcement that is easily misunderstood. SEO Consult conducted an experiment using the word “sreppleasers” in a press release and linked it to Cutts’ blog to see if it would rank. Some of the finds are as follows:

  • First, the anchor text “sreppleasers” was passed to the target URL, so it ranked for that made up word. This proves that the links are noticed by the bots.
  • Second, SEO Consult commented that the press release should not have even been sent out in the first place because it was irrelevant. This proves that links do have a serious SEO benefit.
  • Third, you could Google anything from the press release and it was found on 43 different pages across the web. This proves that the release didn’t take long to get around the web.

While the findings were pretty solid, it is important to make note that using press releases to simply gain an SEO benefit is not a good idea (just as submitting poor content isn’t a good idea). Still, it’s something to consider if you have a great press release that can warrant a link.

So is Cutts making up information? If you really think about his tweet deeply, he never technically says it can’t happen, he just says he wouldn’t expect it. Tricky.

Other Reasons Press Releases Are Important

If you don’t feel like dealing with the maybe-maybe-not discussion about links in press releases, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still benefit from writing one. Press releases are a great way to let the press know of something important happening in your company as well as gain exposure for your brand. They are usually incredibly easy to write and easy to distribute with a good PR team, so 2013 shouldn’t be the year they get pushed to the backburner.

Do you have any opinions about links within a press release? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.