Google often makes announcements regarding algorithm changes in its “Webmaster Tools” which is exactly how the search engine delineated how press releases would be assessed for their SEO value. While the announcement spurred calls for the death of press releases in terms of their role in SEO strategies, the changes paralleled the ways in which their search algorithm will evaluate virtually every other form of content.
Prior to their implementation of a new algorithm named Hummingbird, many companies issued press releases that were optimized in the same way as other distributed content with an emphasis on inserting keywords and keyword-loaded anchor text at the cost of providing real information and value to their content. As long as the press releases didn’t push the envelope too far, they generated inbound links and exhibited relevance to search terms that contributed to higher rankings on the search engine results pages.
After ten years of keyword-driven SEO, the game was changed by the introduction of the new Hummingbird algorithm. Driven by an increasing use of conversational search terms and new voice recognition capabilities in mobile devices, the new algorithm prioritized the understanding of the new construct of search terms and the delivery of results that answered queries with content that delivered specific answers to those queries. The new sophistication that could now perceive the context of search terms, while raising the standard for the content that would be returned, effectively killed SEO strategies that orbited around inserting keywords in text, meta tags, etc.
The key to writing press releases that still matter is to evolve your content so that the search engines see it as adding value and/or presenting solutions to search terms that are increasingly complex. This can be accomplished by:
Distributing digital press releases still matters and can deliver significant SEO results. The key is to evolve the content in your releases so that it delivers valuable information that answers questions posed in search terms, rather than dishing out low-value text with a bunch of inserted keywords.