Another SEO Tactic Bites the Dust

Services for Real Estate Pros

Realtors and SEO Professionals that have used press releases for links and marketing will have to look elsewhere.

Looks like the days of using press releases as links for SEO is over. 

Google has posted an article on its Google News Blog that states the paid links prohibition stands for news articles as well as other types of webpages. In other words, if you're caught, you're out of the running entirely until you've corrected any and all of your paid links, and begged for repentance and forgiveness.

Google News Blog Logo

Per Richard Gingras, the senior director of Google News and Social Products,

"Credibility and trust are longstanding journalistic values.[sic] It's difficult to be trusted when one is being paid by the subject of an article, or selling or monetizing links within an article. Google News is not a marketing service, and we consider articles that employ these types of promotional tactics to be in violaton of our quality guidelines."

Gingras also states that they do not want to send users to news sites that are primarily promotional. If your press release mixes news content with other types of content, he says, they highly recommend that the non-news be separated from the real news content, otherwise they may boot the entire article.

He goes on to say that news sites having both types of articles in their collection need to separate the marketing articles to a different host or directory, block it from indexing, or create a sitemap that only includes legitimate news articles. Otherwise, they run the risk of the entire press release service being de-indexed. has long been the service of choice to write "news articles" for Realtors and other businesses of all types. As long as the documents were long enough and fairly well written, they would accept them, and for the charge of $200, you were allowed to add a link with your chosen keyword phrase for every 100 words.  Aside from the many sites that PRWeb syndicated a press release to, this relatively high priced privilege was probably one of their mainstays. That's going to have to end, as well as their practice of accepting promotional content...which is probably the majority of the articles it prints, along with all the other so-called press release service websites.

It should be interesting to see how all these fake press release companies squirm to find some other way to monetize their services. Meanwhile, website owners that have utilized press releases to create links for SEO purposes had better keep their money and look to better content, blogging, social media, and videos instead.


Comments (33)

Mechelle Cunningham

I've notice the same thing Jan. It's pretty disappointing that the small LOCAL realtors who actually do the work of selling are getting edged out even on Google organic searches. While we do the hard work of trying to get our sites at the top the real way the big companies edge us out because Google has opted to support their ad buyers. I under stand their position, but disagree because they are not giving their users the best results. I mean after all who does refer the business out to but the local realtor anyway! With a cut of course. Frustraiting. 

Jul 29, 2013 03:44 AM
David Spencer
Keller Williams Northland - Kansas City, MO
Show Me real estate in Kansas City

Well, I guess the decision to Google of not to Google is now part of the equation. I can remember the day when i communicated with other agents that the term "Google" was non existent.

Jul 29, 2013 12:16 PM
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

David, we who do SEO remember those wonderful days too!  How easy it was to rank in Yahoo and MSN back around 1999 or so. Sadly those days are long gone.  Now you actually have to work to make your site perform in the search engines.  :-)  Thanks all who commented!

Jul 29, 2013 12:46 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Aug 03, 2013 10:39 AM
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

Well thank you Kathy!  Can't wait to see!

Aug 03, 2013 11:49 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Jan,

I came over from Kathy's post this morning where she hi-lighted your post as one of her Ah-ha moments! I can see's so hard to keep up with what Google wants or says! I agree with Dan it seems a contradiction from a company that continues to send marketing material to pay for their upgraded systems.

Aug 03, 2013 11:45 PM
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

It seems like we are playing a game that we can't win when rules are being changed in the middle of it. .

Aug 03, 2013 11:52 PM
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

So glad Kathy selected this blog.  I was not aware of this change.

Aug 04, 2013 12:07 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTORĀ®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post...I am glad I saw it on Kathy's wrap up....thanks for sharing!

Aug 04, 2013 12:18 AM
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

Thanks for the comments, ya'll.  I'm glad somebody read this for once!  LOL.  Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself on here! :-)

I'm starting to think the only way competitive sites are going to rank in the near future is if they are hundreds of pages of content, videos, and every social profile link under the sun.  It's sure looking that way.  And then they'll probably decide that isn't allowed either...sigh.

Thank you Kathy Streib!

Aug 04, 2013 12:36 AM
The Tonnesen Team
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Nevada Properties - Las Vegas, NV
Put a #1 Team to Work For You!

The "little guys" are getting squeezed out by Google as one by one they chip away at the only tactics which have allowed the mom and pop businesses to remain competitive with the national sites. They can afford to make thousands of videos and hire content writers to create thousands of new pages, even if it is "fluff."

Aug 04, 2013 03:08 AM
Cassandra Stewart
Future Home Realty - Tampa, FL
Your Tampa Florida Agent

I came over from Kathy's post. Thank you for sharing this update Jan.  It was very informative. 

Aug 04, 2013 04:32 AM
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

Thanks again for commenting.

From what I've seen, Google is giving credit for the MLS listings to is not right. But where the agents using Real Geeks used to rank for the MLS numbers, they are now at the bottom of the first page of results if at all. All these agents posting listings on Trulia and Zillow are just giving away their search rankings and building those sites bigger and bigger.  It's sad.

Aug 04, 2013 05:02 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

GJan, Clearly Google is just indicating to everyone that there needs to be another search engine alternative available to the public. Google is doing nothing more that forcing everyone to use Pay-per-Click from rankings. Nothing else matters, including content. Too bad for the intenet....and US!

Aug 04, 2013 07:53 AM
Charlotte Luxury Real Estate
Keller Williams - Ballantyne Area - Charlotte, NC
Eli Magids
Great information,Jan,and thanks for the heads up! Regards, Eli
Aug 04, 2013 11:23 AM
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

Norman, sometimes it seems that way. But they may regret their actions someday when the government decides they are just too big and have too much sensitive information. It's almost to the point where they could nearly control our economy. Kind of scary if you think about it.

You're welcome, Eli.  I'm glad I could be useful.

Aug 04, 2013 02:58 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Yes, I had read about this a couple of weeks ago.  There were a couple of other changes in there as well.  I've only done 1 press release and was hoping to do another one this year, but now it sounds like that may not be a smart idea.

Aug 04, 2013 07:56 PM
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

Debbie, if you're only doing it to advertise, or hoping the news people might pick it up, a press release is fine. Just don't put anchor text links in it like we used to do. You can probably get by with ending it with your contact information and just a straight URL link. That might still pass a little just won't be considered a link spam issue, I don't think.

Aug 04, 2013 09:36 PM
Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Jan, great information.  I saw this from Kathy's post.  I think this should really help make Google more accurate.

Aug 05, 2013 01:30 AM
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

At least Google News will be better.  I get frustrated many times when I click on a link for something medical thinking it's legit, and it turns out to be some quack selling a book about some ROOT that grows only in Borneo and cures all ailments.  But it was a good way to promote our websites, too.  And I will miss that avenue... Thanks for commenting, Gary.

Aug 05, 2013 01:35 AM