Google have made no secret of the fact that they don't consider press releases to be within what they would consider to be good linkage and the furious flurry of free to use press release sites that have popped up over recent years on expired domains that carry PageRank seems to have hit an all-time high, however despite numerous mentions of how press release sites should not be used to create equity passing backlinks companies continue to use them as a layer within their backlink building strategy.
Well Google have made their biggest statement towards press release portals following a recent update of Google Panda, a new generation of the algorithmic update that has been branded ‘Panda 4.0', the update targeting one of the most common press release platforms online, PR Newswire.
The large scale press release site has become well known for allowing almost un-moderated releases to be pushed out via their service and that has made it a breeding ground of low quality, duplicated content to be fed through their feed and into a wide range of scraping websites, with keyword saturated content being sprayed across the internet within a matter of hours.
With the revelation that Google have clearly taken action against the site, PR Newswire have been quick to highlight that they recognise the issues that Google have taken up against their site, releasing a comment about their intention to bring their portal back into line with the type of releases and quality that Google are looking for, showing that Google have achieved exactly what they would have hoped.
Jason Edelboim, senior vice president of global product at PR Newswire highlighted that they could see what Google were trying to do, saying "Google's recent action targeting low quality content in the Panda 4.0 update affirms the importance of ensuring press releases and other content distributed via PR Newswire's network are of real utility and interest to journalists and bloggers, as well as the general public."
As far as things stand with the site, they have a lot of work to do in order to bring their current offering back into line with what they now recognise they need to achieve thanks to the high concentration of low quality, un-newsworthy content that the site has been plagued with over the past few years.
With Google Panda being purely algorithmic, PR Newswire are in a fight against time if they want to be able to bounce back from their recent dampening of search visibility as we already know that Google Panda is a monthly ran update, however a site of that scale of volume will take time to clean up and bring back into line with what Google are saying that they would like to see from the site.
Obviously with timescales against them in order to recover in time for the next update, PR Newswire will have to have on hands on deck if they want to make this a short term issue, however with the reduction in rankings and visibility within the organic search results, income will also take a swift drop as customers hold off making use of the service that makes revenue from the payment of releases being distributed.
From what I can personally gather, this problem isn't about to be a quick alteration to the code as they have not been caught up in a situation where their issue comes down to something as easy to alter as allowing followed backlinks out of releases, instead a sanity check of all of their content will have to be done in order to remove the content from their own network if they want to bounce back sooner rather than later.
Reaching out to their users and the general public, PR Newswire issued a press release that has outlined how they intend to clean up their offering and bring it back into a good light with the search engine giants but with their release only making the following suggestions for customer copy being "recommended" rather than something that they will enforce, there could still be pain on the horizon…
Hat tip to Barry at SER for reporting this.