PRWeb Called A Link Scheme & Spam On GWC

April 15  |  Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

I thought this would make for an excellent topic because there is a lot of talk and debating on what is link spamming these days. Press releases have long been a great way to get legit and worthy news out to the right people and of course links are a bonus of that. I don’t think that using a service like PRweb or any of the top wire services is spam unless you’re releasing useless/fake news just to get an anchor text link…then we’re getting into link scheme territory.

So onto my Google Webmaster Central Help section this morning which is a morning ritual of mine while drinking my coffee. It’s a place webmasters go to inquire with non-Google employees as to why they’re having a problem or issue with the big G. Keep in mind the regular “help” aka bionic posters are NOT Google employees and this sometimes is a frustrating thing because they, like most SEO’s including me from time to time, think they know all. They however do know a lot and are helpful for the most part although the tone coming from a lot of them usually entails a negative touch and or a whole lot of sarcasm in their responses. If this were happening with just about any other company those people who have been fired long ago as it’s a disgusting way to handle customer service. I don’t claim to be a saint either as I have been sassy from time to time within my posts.

So this morning I was reading a thread about a company claiming that competitors built spammy links to their site and they ended up getting penalized. So we’ve all heard this before but the bit that stuck out was when their bionic posters claimed that submitting a PR with PRweb is nothing but link spam.

seo101Level 15 Post reply

Apr 14 (11 hours ago)

Why do you submit via PRWeb for? It is to get links isn’t it? That is what PRWeb offer (they have “SEO” on their home page!). That self promotional link building … that the very definition of a link scheme!
Besides, I see nothing newsworthy about your site that you even need to do press releases!!!!

You can continue to delude yourself about your link building. Until you get over that, your site will continue to languish in mediocrity.

You are also making a fool of yourself re the class action law suit. Google has no contractual obligation to you or your site (written or implied) to give you any organic ranking, so has they have broken no contractual obligation, so you have no case!

Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal did talk about press releases briefly in a 2011 Pubcon interview and it’s one of the few references I can find on the web about the topic. They pretty much lay it out like I’ve mentioned on how you should go about utilizing a service like PRweb.

Question: Are PRWeb and press releases considered black hat due to duplicate content?

Matt Cutts: Press releases are going to other people and asking them to write about you. Instead, work hard to produce high quality content on your site and people will want to write about you. It is harder to fake natural than be natural.

Amit Singhal: The content must be high-quality and useful from a reader’s perspective. If the content is high quality and you work hard for the users, it is OK.

So this is kind of a touchy subject and I would love to hear what the wire service and inbound marketing community thinks of this. Google is really cracking down on manually built link building processes but I don’t think you’ll ever run into a problem if you steer clear of putting keyword specific anchor text in your press releases. Those who have been paying attention will know that site/brand links are killing it in the SERPs lately and you best be just letting those natural links coming in.

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About Ryan Clark

I'm the CEO of Linkbuildr Marketing and the brains behind our branding and blog content. I specialize in effective marketing strategies for hotels, luxury brands and real estate. If your brand is in need of a boost then don't hesitate to contact me for a free proposal. Follow me on Google+: +Ryan Clark Twitter: @Linkbuildr on Twitter. You can also come ask me a question on our Facebook Page.  

7 Responses to PRWeb Called A Link Scheme & Spam On GWC

  1. David Cohen says:

    It’s all about user intent. I use PRWeb about once a quarter for the purpose of legitimately getting newsworthy content to media outlets. Our last two PRs were published by major media outlets in major markets, so that side of PRWeb still works. The links and anchor text are just a bonus. 

    As of last year, PRWeb would reject your PR if you were keyword stuffing or if you’re anchor text to copy ratio is too high. I know this because they rejected one of mine for too many links (lesson learned).

    The marketers that pay $199 for links and actually get punished deserve it because there are far cheaper ways to get links.   

  2. Linkbuildr says:

    Thanks for the comment David! I’ve also seen noindex tags been put on lousy releases which is smart imho.

  3. We are about to release a giveaway contest and wanted to announce it via PR web. Our site took a hit with Panda and still trying to recover by making contests and natural methods… good idea to use PRWeb to announce a giveaway Kindle contest, or better not to?

  4. USBtips says:

     “Those who have been paying attention will know that site/brand links are killing it in the SERPs lately”

    I do pay attention, but this is news to me. Obviously there’s a big hubbub about over-optimizing anchor text and how it can lead to penalties, but are you implying that abnormally higher concentrations of brand/domain anchor text is preforming better than a standard, more natural distribution?

  5. Linkbuildr says:

    Only in regards to lasting in the SERPs for the long term. A site with the top anchor text as targeted anchors is obviously gaming the system and it’s too easy for Google to spot/devalue/filter out.

  6. Linkbuildr says:

    I’d say absolutely just don’t target specific anchor text!

  7. Nick Morris says:

    The links are not editorial, therefore PRweb should put a nofollow tag on them. This doesn’t prevent the legitimate use of the press releases for distributing news and removes links that are non indicative of a quality website. If PRWeb refuse to no follow the links then they should lose their juice.

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