In the past couple of weeks, Google made some updates to its webmaster rules. The updates were kind of quietly released, but it could have huge implications for PR agencies.
Some of the updates just made sense: Basically, don’t use paid content as you would earned content. All paid content links should be no follow ( <a href=”link” rel=”nofollow”>content</a>). Many online content producers have been recommending that people and businesses follow this rule for a while. No big deal.
Same goes with the “don’t think you can create thin content and market it on third-party blogs and think you can get away with calling that a real backlink!” If you’re going to be writing content on third-party blogs, make sure that the content is good. You can’t just throw together something flimsy and stuff it with backlinks. Again, another no brainer.
The third major update, however, is a DOOZIE! For years, businesses have been creating press releases and pushing them out on PR Newswire or other PR distributors for a double-edged advantage. Yes, it increases the chances that somebody in the news industry or blogosphere will see your press release and want to contact you or do a story. The other major reason was to create backlink juice. We all know that backlinks help increase your website’s PageRank, which is good for organic and SEM. It’s been the pattern for years, and no one’s complained….until now.
Google is now saying that all that backlink juice that you’ve been getting from press releases is a BIG NO, NO! All those links back to your website better be no follow, Mister. And further, don’t even think about repeating keywords in your press release. Google will think that you’re keyword stuffing, and it will penalize you for it.
The way Google released this update almost made it seem like it wasn’t that important. Just a “oh here’s a little update; now go about your business.” But this update is huge for many small and new businesses trying to improve their PageRank and get exposure. Only time will tell how much these updates will effect businesses and how bad Google penalties will be for not following the guidelines.
Read more about the topic on Search Engine Land.