What Google’s Webmaster Update Means for News Release


Google recently updated its webmaster rules regarding the use of links and keywords in news releases. Essentially, any news release that has keywords listed multiple times, keywords used as anchor text, or links not listed as “nofollow” will be penalized.

Google webmaster update

So how can you ensure your next release is compliant and helps achieve your desired results, rather than the opposite?

  1. Avoid keyword stuffing. Way back when, keyword stuffing – loading a web page with the same words or phrases over and over again – helped with SEO because it told search engines to look at that site as a credible source on the topic. That is no longer the case. Google has reprimanded sites that do this, viewing them as spam, and are now looking at news releases the same way.
  1. Protect against duplicate content. When news releases are distributed on the wire, they are typically syndicated on multiple locations across the web – your company website, the distribution site, plus all the news sites where it was “picked up.” This no longer helps with SEO and is against Google’s new rules since the same exact content appears in multiple locations. In order to not be considered duplicate content, you (or your distribution service provider) will need to generate “nofollow” links in future releases and link to original articles.
  1. Build “nofollow” links. Hyperlinks within releases are helpful because they provide journalists with direct access to detailed and relevant information. But, under Google’s new webmaster rules, if your releases include links that are not listed as “nofollow,” you can be chided. A “nofollow” tag is something you add to the HTML code when creating a link in your release. What this does is tell the search engines not to visit the site you’ve linked to.
  1. Be mindful of anchor text. Under Google’s new rules, the general suggestion is to use anchor text that isn’t a keyword and to make sure you always follow the “nofollow” link advice above.

Google’s goal with its update is to limit the level of spam that reaches search results. Although these changes will impact the way PR professionals prepare releases, it shouldn’t disrupt overall efforts. Useful hyperlinks can still be incorporated, as long as they follow the above guidelines.

Let us know if you have any other questions surrounding the Google update!


Bethany C. • October 21, 2013

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