Link Values Simplified

Earlier I read a piece on Google, press releases and link values in SearchEngineLand. The article notes an experiment conducted by Daniel Tan, founder of WordPress SEO evaluation plug-in SEOPressor.

Matt Cutts on PR links

Tan set out to disprove a Christmas Day comment made by Google Quality Control Czar, Matt Cutts to a Google Forum discussion of press releases.

What Matt Said

Cutts wrote “I wouldn’t expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings…”, in response to a vague question about the pagerank value of a link in a press release. It was a one-off sentence that apparently had greater implications than it should have. I expect Cutts was really saying, “Don’t waste your time and money on bogus press releases to gain stronger Google rankings”.

For the most part, that’s good advice. People have spammed search results using press releases for years. The Penguin updates were designed to destroy poor quality links and degrade the ranking of pages profiting from them.

A Challenge on the Play

Tan decided to challenge Cutts’ statement wrong by making Cutts’ Gadgets, Google, and SEO Blog rank for the nonsense keyword, “leasreepressmm”. He wrote a press release refuting Cutts’ claim that links in press releases had no value. He tried to prove his point by using a non-existent word twice as anchor text with the link directed to Matt Cutts’ Blog.

The blog is ranking on the first page of results for the word, “leasreepressmm”, and Google does recognize the combination of letters enough to return results for it. Similar results under actual keywords are almost certainly unachievable unless, of course, your press release represents something that is actually useful, timely, of note, or otherwise potentially important to Google users or to Google’s search results.

If you need to ask…

Here’s the simplest explanation about the value of links you’ll ever read, at least until a simpler one is written. Everything else is pretty much superfluous.

  • If a link makes sense on a page and provides a useful path for users it has great and immediate value.
  • If it is only kinda sorta useful but worthwhile following for some users, the link has less value but is still sorta useful and worthwhile.
  • If the link is placed on a page listing similar links to other domains that do not relate to each other, even through the content on or context of the source page, those links are valueless and likely harmful to the source-site/domain’s reputation.
  • If you can’t think of a reason beyond spiders to place a link, don’t place it.

Can a link in a press release be of value? Of course it can. Can two links to the same domain in a press release deliver double or even equal value as just one? Probably not.

Matt Speaks

A vid worth watching, on a related note…

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One Comment

  1. Hi Jim! I think Matt does not always say things in a comprehensive way 😉

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