RealWire implements nofollow links
Google’s updated Link Scheme guidance was widely discussed at the end of last week. The update makes specific reference to the use of keyword rich anchor text links within articles, and press releases in particular. Google states that it views such links as “unnatural” and hence they should have the rel=”nofollow” attribute applied so that no Page Rank is passed between the sites.
In response to this guidance RealWire has implemented the rel=”nofollow” attribute to all links within releases published from today onwards, and will apply it to all links across historic press releases hosted by us over the next few days.
We had been aware of the guidance since it was first highlighted at the end of July, and we were already planning our response before last week's "excitement" provoked by Tom Foremski's post, however staff absence due to holidays delayed our ability to implement the site wide changes necessary until today.
We considered implementing the guidance as it’s written, and limiting the changes to the types of links Google highlights, because such links appear so infrequently in releases we are asked to distribute. After all the kind of content that Google has been seeking to penalise with its recent updates e.g. Penguin and Panda, has been poor quality content that no one would ever find of interest, stuffed full of keyword anchor text links to try and game some ranking benefit. This simply doesn’t apply to the users of our service.
However given the quality of our client base, we know that any marginal page rank that might accrue from our site for the odd editorially relevant keyword will equally not figure very highly on your list of reasons for using our service, and hence we’ve decided to take this cautious approach. It's also worth noting that a recent report by a user of our service, Searchmetrics, highlighted the increased importance of having a mixture of backlinks, including nofollow links, and the decreasing importance of links with target keyword anchor text.
In addition to the potential benefits in terms of exposure and accessibility of your story e.g. by appearing on Google News, the real potential SEO benefit of using a distribution service has always been if they could help you achieve incremental coverage on relevant publications. In other words they should be an inherently “PR” based service. That’s the approach we at RealWire have always taken since we started in 2000, and will continue to take.
On this very point we will give the final word to Google’s own John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst, who highlighted the value of press releases in this interview shortly after the announcement.
"John did make it clear that press releases are still a great way to promote your services and products. In fact, the links you get indirectly from a press release, i.e. those people who find your press release and then write a story on their own and link to you, do not have to be nofollowed. But the links within press releases should be nofollowed." Search Engine Roundtable
If you have a question about any aspect of this change please contact Emily, Giles or Adam to discuss.
The RealWire Team