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.
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.
PRWeb.com 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.