Got something newsworthy and capable of promotion enough to be cited by others? Great. A press release may get the word out quickly to a lot of possibly interested parties.
There’s the rub. Your press release about nothing (like a road to nowhere) does absolutely nothing as far as the links embedded in it. This post by Barry Schwartz cites the word coming straight from Matt Cutts (head of Google web spam team) who said as much that links in press releases don’t help your website.
PR fail. If a press release with no interest factor is your strategy, save your time and money.
What’s most interesting in this fact is what isn’t explicity pointed out: Google is quite able to drill down to exactly the kind of links they want and they’re not always telling you what those are but you can sure tell that the range of what works is narrowing all the time.
So, what “works” anyway?
1. Links from relevant context blogs.
2. Links from high profile websites, especially on high profile pages- if you get a link from the home page of Dr. Housing Bubble to your real estate website, that’s going to pack a real punch. If you create yet another link from your own ActiveRain blog page that is read by ten people a month- well, not so much.
3. Links from related, quality directories. They still have relevance but don’t get crazy and go for a link from a directory just because it’s there. Evaluate it to see if it is really focused at all on your industry and if it has any known authority on the Internet. (use a tool like Majestic SEO to see if it has a decent profile of links to it)
4. Popularity measured by Google’s tracking of Social sites. Especially partner sites like Google Plus, YouTube and Disqus. Yes, YouTube and Yes Disqus. They’re watching Facebook too but it’s probably not as important as the former mentions. Check your Google analytics and see how carefully Google is measuring hits on your website coming from social media. This doesn’t mean you should keep posting boring real estate drivel on social sites but it does mean that if you create an effective, clever and attractive way to move people directly to your website pages with a click-through, Google is watching that signal very closely.
Only four things? Well, no, there are probably a few others but the impact is lessening every day and you should focus on what is of value and long term. Nobody said SEO is getting easier or that ranking real estate websites was going to happen overnight. The good news is that your competitors are up against the same narrowing field of possible link influence as you, so get in there and get up to bat. You can go far with the playing field leveled like this.
Revisiting the Social Networks angle- did you know that Forbes uses the Disqus system in comments? Have something insightful to say? You can link to your website to make your case and Google scores the activity coming from Disqus and a megasite like Forbes all at once. It’s a new game now. The same thing goes for YouTube videos. You can’t go wrong driving traffic to your website by any means. Though YouTube doesn’t allow links in the comments, a well developed Google profile will bring them to you anyway. A recommendation to do a Google search for a relevant keyword will get some response as well. (above video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Co93XILv2s)