TopRank Online Marketing
Lee Odden

PR Newswire Testing SEO Press Releases

By Lee Odden     Marketing Industry News, Online Marketing, Online PR, Press Release Optimization

PR Newswire recently tipped me off to a test press release service that promises SEO benefit:

“Off-peak press release with SEO via PR Newswire Reach news sites, portals, search engines, media”.

Apparently it is to be a 5 day listing on the home page of PR Newswire. There are 10 releases to start and they are being auctioned off over at eBay. If my bid wins, I’ll post about the process:

“Winner of this auction may distribute one news release of 400 words or less via PR Newswire’s US1 Newsline. Distribution timing will be at PR Newswire’s discretion, Friday through Sunday.”

Traditionally, PR Newswire has been the go-to source for investor relations and similar announcements as well as a channel for corporate PR news announcements. The test offers a press release of 400 words or less to be distributed at a time of PR Newswire’s choosing.

Personally, I think the reference to SEO in the description of the test is a bit of a stretch – unless PR Newswire is actually offering to optimize the content of the winning press releases. Distributing/publishing a release to reach consumers directly (in addition to journalists and media) with a possible side benefit of links is probably more on target. I have a feeling that the term “SEO” is being used loosely to mean exposure of press releases on search engines, which shows how many different perceptions there are of what SEO is.

It is interesting that PR Newswire is making more obvious moves to enter the realm of direct to consumer press releases and the idea that search engines are an extension of the channels normally associated with press release visibility.

The whole direct to consumer press release and application of search engine optimization to press releases was pioneered by PRWeb and there’s no sign of them stopping with new developments including support for new media releases and SEO tools.

My bias as a SEO practictioner makes me wonder whether any wire service can effectively offer press release optimization services that can offer real quality and value, but still be able to scale. At best, they can offer tools and automation of certain processes and that’s not much different than using software to optimize and automate submissions of web pages to search engines. Tools are important, but there is no such thing as “automatic” SEO whether it’s for web pages or for press releases.

David Meerman Scott also has some thoughts on PR Newswire’s venture and here’s a recent article with tips for Online PR.


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