• http://www.sebastiancowie.com/ Sebastian

    PR links work, maybe not as much as they once used to, but for ranking long-tail terms and bizzare phrases they definitely still work.

  • Alan

    Ooops Matt!

  • http://twitter.com/StLSEO Michael Kiel

    Google already knows about this and has done what it can to decrease the SEO value of press releases. What is the point in running to Matt Cutts and showing him that you found a way to slightly manipulate the search results? This sounds a little too much like the tattle tale in school that always went running to the principals office. If the point of this article was just to create buzz and give yourself attention I think you accomplished that at the expense of pissing off a lot of business owners that are currently using this as part of their overall SEO strategy. I’d love to hear your response.

  • http://optimizehere.co/ Matt Morgan

    Our SEO team has been forecasting the death of links from PR and Article Directories for a few months and have eliminated them from our campaigns. We don’t think the links will hold much value in the long term even if they do today.

    Matt Cutts may very well be giving a forecast himself…

    Great find Barry, thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.rustybrick.com/barry Barry Schwartz

    All I am doing is reporting what a public blog stated. I didn’t report anything that is not out there available for the public.

  • http://twitter.com/kesphelps Link Juice

    Note the get out clause “expect”

    It’s got nothing to do with press releases anyway. It’s where the press release is published.

    Misleading.. to anyone who can’t read between the lines

  • http://www.dinomiteseo.com/ Dino Gomez

    Hah this makes me wonder if we should ever listen to Matt Cutts….

  • http://www.deadtreemedia.com Jeff @ Dead Tree Media

    I think this is more a case of misunderstanding what Matt said and less about proving him wrong.

  • andrekibbe

    Unless the point was to prove that press releases have absolutely zero influence, I don’t see the point of using a nonsense word. The same experiment could’ve been carried out with nofollow comment links, and Cutts’ blog would’ve still outranked other sites that didn’t have links with the unique anchor text pointing to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/computerklaus Klaus Junginger

    Wait, was the pr.com URL set as a release within the sitemap? or as a post, news etc?

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Matt made a single statement to a very specific individual, giving absolutely no indication whatsoever that he was commenting on how Google handles links in press releases, and the SEO community once again begins tilting at windmills.

    This is yet another reason why we need standards — so that people won’t waste everyone’s time with nonsense “tests” like this one. Nothing has been debunked. No one has been proven right or wrong. Move along, folks. There is nothing to see here except another shamefully embarrassing moment in SEO history.

  • http://expertseomarketingservices.com/ Jason Suli

    I can see from the time of the report there were only 7 competing results.. One would expect if you are backlinking for that term to show up.

  • http://twitter.com/ItsHogg Jon

    Hmm how, if the links were nofollow? They wouldn’t pass anchor text

  • http://twitter.com/ItsHogg Jon

    43 if you include filtered out results (&filter=0). The point is backlinking via a PR does “work”, though Matt said he didn’t expect it to.

  • http://twitter.com/ItsHogg Jon

    Bingo. They get scraped to death so either directly or indirectly what you embed in a press release will result in SEO benefit for the target site.

  • andrekibbe

    Only in theory. If you’ve ever looked at your competitors’ link profiles with ahrefs, Majestic, SEOMoz, etc., you’ll find plenty of nofollow anchor links for the keyword in question.

  • http://twitter.com/Ebrarkahn Ebrar kahn

    Press releases links have always worked , I dont know why do people listen to what Matt says.

  • http://www.heatherphysioc.com/ Heather Physioc SEO

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but I always see tests like this with uncommon, barely existent non-words. Like “sreppleasers.” And then we’re surprised that it ranks highly with 0 competition and few, if any, other relevant results. Perhaps I’m over-simplifying.

    The benefit of links from press releases I believe is minimal if you have a short-term view that takes those links at face value. Though I think that it depends very largely on who picks up your press release (CNN vs. some garbage scraper news site). I think it also ignores the less measurable fact that exposure can lead to readership can lead to subsequent shares not directly reprinted from the press release.

  • http://www.e-wali.com/ Ahmad Wali

    Oh my you want complete ban on this method… Please don’t let Google know :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/raman.puneet Puneet Raman

    Thank you Barry….. I firmly believed that Press Release is a genuine link provider if practiced ethically…. With Dir… dieing blog commenting dieing…. this is the only way SEO’s can survive….

  • http://www.facebook.com/aditi.sawant.39750 Aditi Sawant

    I have seen matt being diplomatic on many topics to avoid spamming

  • studiumcirclus

    We all know we can rank almost any non-competed, no search volume term by doing precious little. I think that search terms probably show the route of least-contradiction.

    Since there were only Press Releases targeting this term they were the ‘highest quality point of reference’. But I bet if you guys utilised links from quality sites to point toward a different domain this would quickly “drop-off”.

    Can you rank a ‘nothing’ term with Press Releases? Yes. Can you use them to compete for even terms of small value and overcome the competition? Extremely doubtful.

    I like the idea of this test. I think it’s really good work. But it needs to be much more stringent.

  • Unbound Marketing

    If they did benefit rankings before, they won’t now he’s been made an example of!

  • http://twitter.com/ItsHogg Jon

    They must also include followed links with that anchor too. If not id love to see controlled results of nofollow passing anchor text

  • http://twitter.com/ItsHogg Jon

    This wasn’t a very newsworthy press release though. We purposefully used a low quality PR to make the point

  • http://twitter.com/ItsHogg Jon

    The only reason we used a nonsense word was so we didnt have to sift through the noise to see if Cutts site ranked. Much tougher when there’s 433, 493 results :)

  • http://twitter.com/lordofseo Lord of SEO

    Hahah what a mug.

  • http://twitter.com/lordofseo Lord of SEO

    Give me ‘their’ email. I want to ask a few questions too.

  • http://twitter.com/lordofseo Lord of SEO

    He is a paid PR goon. Is he even a good programmer? I doubt it, most Phd’s are just research drones.

  • http://twitter.com/lordofseo Lord of SEO

    Now release a press release about the press release to see if the press release can rank.

  • http://twitter.com/lordofseo Lord of SEO

    ^ muppet

  • Jeff

    There is a difference between relevance for a keyword and ranking authority. Anchor text is a signal for what a page is about. Having anchor text for a very obscure keyword, I imagine regardless of the source, will make you eligible to rank for that keyword. What position you rank is a matter of page, site, or topic authority. I imagine the point that Matt was making is that PR links will have little or no effect on measures of authority. So if I rank #4 for “widgets” and then I blast a whole bunch of exact and partial match anchor text PR articles, I shouldn’t expect to get into the top three.

  • http://www.heatherphysioc.com/ Heather Physioc SEO

    Fair enough, I suppose. I’m just not sure that it makes for a valid test to say that it “provides ranking benefit” when there’s no competition for the term. Thanks for the personal reply, though! Very kind of you. :)

  • andrekibbe

    That’s probably true in many cases, but I’ve seen a number of link profiles (frequently from Amazon or Overstock) that have less the half a dozen links, all nofollow. It’s certainly possible that the profiling tool isn’t capturing all the links, but I’ve seen and heard enough anecdotal evidence over the years to stop believing that nofollow is all-or-nothing. Otherwise Matt Cutts could never have claimed that PageRank sculpting doesn’t work.

  • Lyndon NA

    Well said!
    There was no mention of where the content gets syndicated to being discounted.

    further, was there not a recent MC Vid related to this, in which he made Quality a qualifier (thus crummy PR (Promotional Article fluff!) sites were basically of no use.
    Anyone that has ever used a PR will know that they work in various ways (PR, Relevancy and Traffic as the obvious ones).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512945366 Jaimie Sirovich

    This is an invalid test because it’s a non-word token. Of course Google would use it — it’s basically the only site out there for “sreppleasers.” Not using it would be silly, because what if there really are few datapoints for said “sreppleasers.” They can’t completely throw away the data. It’s just worth almost 0.

    I think what Matt meant is that it won’t really affect rankings when there is no total vacuum like in this case. I see nothing misleading about what Matt said.

  • http://twitter.com/seojoemaresca Joe Maresca

    First I would like to thank Barry for taking the time to test this out. When it comes to Press Releases I don’t think Press Releases are being targeting directly and I while the use of Press Releases won’t hurt rankings I do think the over use of Press Releases will. There are two link types that come from Press Releases. Boiler Plate and keyword filled anchors in the body. Two link types that we all know that too much off will hurt these days. When using press releases I would say only syndicate one press release across whätever PR network you use where you are using keywords in your anchor text. Rotate domains and use your brand or url in your boiler plates. I would also recommend rotating PR networks to cast a wider net of and variety of sites that will pick up your press release.

  • Bobs SEO

    Ranking for a non-nonsensical word using a press release proves nothing whatsoever. Next…

  • Mike Munter


    You write as if you think using press releases is some secret strategy. Wake up, man.

    Wouter Blom @stramark I appreciate what you’re asking and I try to look at all link building from a marketing perspective. If you write a good release and it were to get re-printed naturally by lots of other sites, this is good for marketing. i.e. Associate Press writes a story and your local newspaper runs it. Further, if you faxed a press release to a distribution list (in the offline world), if it’s good, you’d expect a certain number of them to pick it up and run it verbatim. So, if Google is trying to make their search engine “more human”, it stands to reason, that they would account for this – whether you pay for mass distribution, perform manual distribution, or have your article get scraped.

    Personally, I only use URLs in my releases for clients and I try to make sure the release is newsworthy. If you use this as a guide and make ‘press release distribution’ part of your SEO and online marketing strategy, I believe it can be helpful. At least, it works for my clients :)