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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

PR Newswire vs. PRWeb From an SEO Perspective

A client of ours distributes "soft news stories" for their corporate clients. These can range from product safety recalls, to automotive crash test results, to product announcements, to BMX bikers who did well at competitive events.

Our client has traditionally used PR Newswire to distribute news releases about the news stories they were promoting since PR Newswire had broad acceptance with broadcast journalists which were the target audience for the press releases.

However, the web distributions of those same press releases hasn't done well in driving traffic to our client's site. The following press release is not one out client put out but shows some of the problems with PR Newswire press releases.

Typical PR Newswire press release

(click to full-size images when the images seem small)

Notice how the only links in the story are actual URLs, and the link text is the URL itself. For example, they have http://www.youtube.com rather than YouTube. This is not good from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective since search engines use the link text to make sense of what's important on the page, and the URL doesn't tell them much of anything about what's important on the page. It's much better to have a word or phrase like 'YouTube' or 'great video site' associated with the URL.

But it actually gets worse... PR Newswire managed to include the comma in the YouTube URL which corrupted the URL and made it not work. (Curiously, they didn't have the same problem on the Yahoo! link which also had a comma after it.)

The biggest problem with PR Newswire's web press releases is that most of the sites that pick them up don't manage to preserve the link at all. Here's a typical example:

PR Newswire press release showing links not preserved

Not preserving the links results in two problems - 1) people are less likely copy and paste a URL into their browser than they would be to click on a link, so the traffic you receive is greatly diminished, and 2) you can't tell where the traffic is coming from when they do copy and paste the URL into their browser.

By comparison PRWeb is doing a much better job with their web-based press releases. For starters they have real links with genuine link text as shown below...

PRWeb has proper links with link text

These links are FAR better from an SEO perspective as they relate the page with the most important keywords for that page.

In addition, those links seem to be preserved when the article is republished...

PRWeb links preserved with link text when republished

This gives PRWeb a big leg up over PR Newswire where the links (such as they are) are only preserved on the larger sites such as biz.yahoo.com and marketwatch.com.

"But that's not all..." PRWeb seems much more focused on getting the "linkerati" to pick up the story. In addition to the social media links (for sites like Digg, Del.icio.us and Technorati) which PR Newswire also has, PRWeb has things like "e-mail" to help with viral promotion and "blog this" to help bloggers link to the story, and a contact section to give their clients more "link juice"...

PRWeb's options for viral distribution PRWeb's contact section

Another really valuable part of the page is their "Technorati tags" which are a great way for spiders to understand and classify the most important concepts on the page.

Technorati tags on PRWeb

Bottom line, PRWeb seems to have their act together, where PR Newswire seems to be struggling with how to put out a proper web-based press release.

Tags: , , ,
Categories: Advertising, Link Building, Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media

5 Comments

  1. Vipin Says:

    Hi Guys, Good job on this post, I read a bunch of articles today on the subject, and your explanation is the best one for simple business folks. Good job!

  2. dorin Says:

    Prnewswire – better target for corporations
    prweb – better to target jane and joe :)
    sloppy work for newswire with that comma link :(

  3. Ben Says:

    Thanks so much for this in-depth analysis of the 2 different press release services. Great Work!

    I have been considering submitting a press release lately for some SEO on my site(s). I have thought about the free services, but most of those don’t allow backlinks (and have a very small distribution range).

    PRWEB consistently comes up as the best choice, and your article just reinforced that. I especially appreciate pointing out about the link differences, as that can make a huge impact in the SEO efforts. I guess I will be going with PRWEB soon when I get around to writing the release. Thanks again for the article!

  4. Dallas SEO Consultant Says:

    My small business search engine marketing agency in Dallas offers Press Releases via PRweb and I have to say that the service is great. I also find that the SEO is well planned and they also offer additional options for Video and Image Content distribution. Superb I must say.

    Thanks,
    Mike Stewart
    Director of Search Marketing @ SMB SEO.

  5. Noel Says:

    Nice article! We decided to go with PRWeb since our focus is more Internet oriented. Your article was great in helping us make our decision. Thanks again!

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