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The "nofollow" Debate


Recently there has been a lot of information from many sources regarding links from press releases and if they should include the rel=nofollow HTML tag. Marking a link as rel=nofollow tells search engines, such as Google and Bing, that the link should not be considered as a factor when ranking a target web site.

Many search engines require that links which are paid for or are of an advertising nature, be set to rel=nofollow. Recently, Google has updated their guidelines, stating that links in press releases are considered paid advertising.

Much of the concern comes from a small percentage of communicators and their agencies, using methods to optimize their press release links, in an effort to influence how search engines see their target web site. This often entails using keywords repetitively in their link text, or writing their press release in such a manor as to include text that would not be needed, if not for the attempt towards search engine optimization.

Press releases have become a target for over optimization due to their syndicated nature. Press releases distributed by services such as SBWire, are also included on many 3rd party web sites. It is important to note that most of the 3rd party services that SBWire has partnerships with, have always used the rel=nofollow method.

In recent weeks, many newswire services have decided without notice, in an effort to protect themselves and their clients from the negative effects of such tactics, to set all links to rel=nofolllow. Some services have put strict rules in place as to the number and types of links that are allowed within a press release.

SBWire believes that the value of quality press releases has always been in communication with journalist, bloggers and the general public and helping new customers discover your business. Using press releases effectively not only achieves these goals, but helps increase interactions with new customers by promoting click to your website and the sharing of your message on social networks.

If you have previously distributed a press release with SBWire, and you are concerned about your outbound link status, SBWire has made it easy for you to set all links in your press release to rel=nofollow. To do so, visit the press release manager within your SBWire account.

The team at SBWire has been reviewing the current landscape in regards to links within press release and we are considering all available options. We welcome feedback from you on this matter. If you have recommendations on how SBWire should proceed in the future please contact us and let us know.

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