Did newspapers just destroy SEO?

by Carla Marshall
Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency

We use a range of distribution networks for our clients and we all work very hard as a team to source quality partners for content, links and news. Like any good SEO agency, we also utilise press releases to push relevant stories regarding not only our clients but the agency as a whole.  We were always aware that the really good press releases would be picked up by the local and national papers and (if we were lucky) this might even lead to a lovely link for us if published online. The only thing we had to be concerned about was the duplicate content issue….

However, the team received a memo from Dave N this morning regarding press releases and newspapers and the fact that we shouldn’t be in so much of a hurry to utilise this resource from, well right now really.  There’s a very obvious crackdown on outbound links on newspaper sites from Google and if the results we are seeing are true this is not only affecting The Independent but also:

  • The Express Group
  • Mirror Trinity
  • Johnson Press
  • The Telegraph

amongst the nationals, but also many local newspaper sites (which are mostly owned by the nationals too of course). We understand that newspapers are currently being contacted by Google and being asked to remove links (especially those placed after the articles have been written – ie comment links and links that are placed for payment in articles weeks or months after it had gone live). As a company, we have been aware that placing links in articles once they have picked up PR is not an uncommon practice in the industry, and we also knew that it would probably come to no good which is why we stayed well away. However, we do have some legitimate links on these sites that were placed as part of a press release or an interview and these are slowly being removed through no fault of our own. So much for all the hard work eh?

It also leaves the agency in a very difficult position regarding press releases – do we continue to pour time and budget into drafting and distributing these if we are just going to be penalised for it? It will be interesting to see just how seriously the online press are going to take the Google threats and how much of an impact that is going to have on general rankings and traffic over the next couple of months.

Image courtesy of Flickr

Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency
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