Why free press release sites may be all you need

January 14, 2010

Online press releases are perfect for an SEO tactic called “link building.” Link building is the process of creating inbound links to your site from other sites. The more inbound links your site has pointing to it, the more popular your site is perceived to be by the engines. And that bodes well for your rankings.

An online press release will offer readers a story that is newsworthy and have – at the very least – your site’s URL in it. Because your press release stays on the web for extended periods of time, that link is always working for you.

Readers of this blog know why I like PR Web for online press releases. I have also used www.marketwire.com and www.newswire.cafor releases that are geographically targeted with good results. But these are all paid services and for many small business owners, their rates can be a little out of reach. Plus, for best SEO results, online press releases should be issued on a regular basis – once a month or more frequently, which can really drive your costs up.

Start out free, and see what happens

If you’re just trying online PR for the first time or you have a tight budget, you can still get solid results by using free services. To find a good one, look for these characteristics:

  • Free to use – or low cost for additional features
  • Releases show up in Google and sometimes on Google News (Pick any release on the site, type the headline in the Google search bar, and see if it comes up.)
  • The releases posted on the site are newsworthy, not sales focused. This is an indication that the site has editors who care about which releases they accept
  • They allow at least one direct link to your site

There are gazillions of free press release distribution sites, (A Google search of “Free Press Release Sites” shows 70,900,000 results), but you can save yourself tons of time and still build inbound links with just three or four services, like these:

Did it work?

While free services won’t provide a results report, it’s easy enough to see how successful your release was with these tricks:

  • “Google it” – A day or two after your release, simply “Google” (or use your favourite SE) your company name, your targeted keyphrases, or even the entire headline of your release. Google will let you know which services, blogs, and industry publications picked it up.
  • Google Alerts – Google Alerts is a time-saving feature that delivers results right to your inbox. Here’s how to set up Google Alerts.
  • Google Analytics – Google Analytics are free, and easily added to your site. Your analytics will tell you where traffic came from and even which keyphrases were used to point them to your site.

If you’ve got news to share on the web, but you are avoiding press releases because of cost, give the free services a go. Online press releases just may be the extra boost you need to improve your rankings.

One comment:

  1. I’d agree that you can get a lot of value from free press release websites. I’ve set one up that allows image uploads, automatic Twittering, and, perhaps most importantly of all, multiple “dofollow” backlinks. I think ultimately the paid services will be a lot less prominent as PRs get more savvy to all the services that are out there. I, for one, would also say that some of the paid sites (in my experience) can be pretty poor when it comes to customer service. Rock on free services, I say.

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