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Once upon a time, sending out press releases via quality press release distribution systems (like MarketWired) was a decent link-building tactic. However, this tactic started to lose it’s punch about a year and a half ago. While it still has value – which I’ll outline below – I don’t recommend sending out press releases exclusively for link-building purposes.

However, syndicated press releases sent via edited distribution systems still do have some SEO value, especially if you can get some legitimate media response.

The SEO Value of A Quality Press Release

The biggest SEO value a press release can offer is legitimate media coverage. While it doesn’t happen very often, a press release can stimulate a journalist or blogger to write a story about your company, your news, etc. If you want to increase the odds that your release will intrigue a journalist or blogger:

  1. Be interesting. Press releases about “new solutions” or “strategic alignments” or obscure awards your company has won are the definition of BORING. Announcements like this are a waste of money.
  2. Be clever. Guess what? If you’re clever, “new solutions” and “strategic alignments” and obscure awards can be interesting…you just have to find the real news hiding inside your boring announcement. Carsten Wendt offers some good advice on writing  an interesting press release, as does this article on PRInYourPajamas.com.
  3. Don’t be promotional. If your release is solely intended to promote your company, it’s probably going to fail (and when I say “probably,” I mean “definitely.”)

Outside of getting real media coverage, their are some additional SEO benefits a quality press release distribution can provide:

  • If you use your company name in your release headline or sub-heading, it can appear in the top 10 search results for your business.
  • If you write about a piece of content on your site that’s already getting some good response, linking to this content in your press release can give it an SEO boost (only it will need to continue to get links on it’s own after your release hits). Think of this type of press release as “seeding” some already good content to try and make it super-successful (or at least look that way).
  • If you’re trying to rank for a keyword that isn’t tremendously competitive, you might find that a press release will help you. The trouble is, the $350-$550 you’ll spend on a quality press release distribution (plus the time and energy you’ll spend writing a quality release) could be used to get some legit, spontaneous links.

If budget is no issue, and you’ve got plenty of money to spend on link building, there are worse places you can spend your energy. However, I wouldn’t send out releases just for this purpose.