Some of you may remember that in years past, online press releases were considered some of the most effective search engine optimization and online marketing tools around. By using distribution services that were originally meant to help public relations teams to reach editors you could generate thousands of back links to your site, boosting your search visibility overnight.

Of course, Google caught onto this trick and fixed this “SEO cheat code” years ago. However, business owners sometimes ask us whether press releases still have online marketing value. The answer isn’t completely straightforward. To understand why, here are some things you have to know…

The SEO Value of a Press Release Has Largely Disappeared

As we’ve already mentioned, there isn’t much search engine optimization value in writing and distributing press releases anymore. The thousands upon thousands of marketers who abused the practice made it impossible for search engines to tell which releases were legitimate so the whole practice collapsed.

The exception, though, lies in situations where a press release catches the attention of a major media outlet. That’s good for all kinds of PR, of course, but also can lead to the generation of high-quality links that actually do improve your Google PageRank.

You Can Still Use Press Releases for Marketing and PR Purposes

If press releases aren’t useful from a search engine optimization perspective why do a handful of marketers still use them?

There are two answers. Some keep sending them out of habit, or because they don’t realize that even PR firms have stopped using press releases in this way. In other words, they aren’t informed and figure that a tactic that worked in the past should still be viable today.

The second group are using press releases in the traditional way that we mentioned above. In other words, they are sending out feelers and trying to attract attention from media outlets. This is a popular tactic with larger companies with big budgets and outsourced public relations agencies behind them. However, it is an option that’s available to smaller players, too.

A Targeted Awareness Campaign is Usually a Better Idea

While you could send out press releases each month in the hopes of attracting attention from an editor or reporter, it’s probably not an efficient use of your time and money. A better idea is to make a list of a handful of reporters, bloggers, and industry or city-focused editors who might be interested in hearing from you occasionally.

Then, you or your public relations team can contact them from time to time and keep them up-to-date on what you’re doing. This strategy is more targeted and personal, and also has the benefit of costing you less money. It’s a great way to work as your own publicist, enjoying all the benefits without keeping a huge PR company on retainer.

Looking for Online Marketing Tactics That Actually Work?

As a business owner, are you tired of chasing fads or feeling like you’re running a step behind the latest trends and ideas? There is a better way. Contact the business growth experts at Biondo Creative in Philadelphia today so we can schedule a free consultation.