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1. Is Press Release USELESS, or USEFUL?

1.1 Introduction

There have been rumors speculating if press releases can help boost a site’s ranking on search engines. Many say yes, others say no way. Google’s engineer, Matt Cutts made a comment on Google’s forum thread that links within press releases will not benefit your ranking.

We are equally interested to know if Press Release still works, or we should dump it into the nearest bin we have. After all, our sister company runs a newswire service. It’s in our best interest to know if Press Release is still helping SEO, otherwise…it will call a directional change in our business.

1.2 The Press Release Backlinking Test

So we decided to run a test. Here’s what we did: We need to decide on a keyword and to do it in a controlled environment so other factors or variables will not contaminate the result of the test. To avoid other competition factors and possible ongoing SEO efforts by other parties, we have to make sure that the keyword must not have previously existed, and most importantly, it must not have meant anything to the search algorithm before the test.

So we decided to create an anagram out of “Press Release”. Appending our sister company’s initial to the seemingly meaningless string of texts, we arrived at “leasreepressmm”.


Continuing the test, this keyword, “leasreepressmm” will be used in a Press Release. It will be anchored and hyperlinked to Matt Cutts blog at: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/

You can tell that we are trying to SEO the keyword “leasreepressmm” and see if Matt’s blog will be successfully lifted and ranked into the first page of Google. If this pressures the search results to at least show some movements on Matt’s blog ranking on that particular search term, it would have meant that the test was successful.

We captured a screenshot of leasreepressmm keyword search prior to the test:

We can see Google has a problem identifying appropriate result sets for this search term. The results returned are messy, which includes listing mainly from the “leasing/lending” cluster.

We do have to applaud Google for a good job in showing “press release” and “news” type of results. Somehow they know the search term “leasreepressmm” has a hint of “press release”, which it did.

So this keyword was a good candidate that:
1) Matt’s blog was not ranked for the term prior to the test
2) The keyword was meaningless to Google, results were speculative
3) The keyword was alien enough that it should not attract other parties SEO’ing for this term during the test

So the keyword: leasreepressmm

Target page: Matt’s Blog at http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/

Outbound page: A press release wire, and their syndicating partners’ pages

We wrote and published the press release here: Daniel Tan Refutes Matt Cutts’s Claim About Press Releases Not Affecting Page Rank Value

Obviously, it’s in our best interest to use our sister company’s newswire for the test.

Also, note that the backlinks did not only come from this single release itself but from all the 400+ other media placements that the newswire reaches.

In other words, we are getting more than 400+ backlinks pointing to Matt’s blog. Yes, they are all duplicates, which is interesting to note too! We would see how this affects Google’s decision in ranking a site. We continued to monitor the search result changes over the period…

1.3 The interesting result

On May 28th, Matt Cutt’s blog showed up at the #2 listing for the search term. The result is a real delight. We had a meeting shortly after that to put more SEO focus into the Press Release. If you used a press release before, guess you would want to do the same!

Not only did Matt’s blog ranked successfully for the search term, but Google has also been able to collect a relevant set of results related to the search term.

We just made a new meaningless string of text…meaningful!

Over the period of our test, our story was also picked up by SearchEngineLand. You can see their URL ranking #1 on the result set, authority matters!

Many were surprised with the findings and mostly happy with the result. Backlinks from a press release do benefit your site’s ranking!

1.4 Conclusion

And of course, SEL was not the only one who made a story out of it, a quick search in Google showed that many SEO leaders followed up with their own observation, test, and report.

This is solid proof that news distributed by MarketersMEDIA into news archives and media is being read and actively track by top-name journalists & bloggers. As long as the PR is of quality, the possibility to get your story picked up is always there!

Final note: If you are looking for more ways to build backlinks, or wish to diversify your PR efforts, it may be a good idea to start one with MarketersMEDIA Newswire today!

Hope you enjoy the findings in this report!

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