Ted Karczewski

​When the SEO content world disagrees with Google’s Head of Search Spam Matt Cutts, it puts all of its effort into proving the man wrong. Of course, marketers want to know which linking practices benefit their web content most and which tactics fail to show any noticeable returns.

Almost six months ago, Cutts commented in a thread on a Google forum, saying links within press releases won’t benefit a site’s online rankings. This bugged a lot of people including SEOPressor founder Daniel Tan.

To prove that links in press releases do influence PageRank, Tan conducted a miniature experiment, and published a release using the made-up key phrase ‘leasreepressmm.’ The term was anchored to Matt Cutts’ blog. Tan then released the article through MarketersMedia, a press release wire service, that shares branded content with more than 30,000 journalists across the United States. Tan expected that, within a week or so, Matt Cutts’ blog would rank for the term ‘leasreepressmm.’

Currently, Cutts’ blog ranks for the term on the second page of Google search engine results. Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz found that the blog edged onto page one, but with new press coverage using the term even more, Cutts’ blog has been pushed out of view. Long story short: Tan has proved Cutts wrong.

The discovery is a strange one: Brands can create backlinks for their sites by issuing press releases to various newswires. To some extent, this goes against the ethics of link building, and there’s reason to believe a fluke like this can’t last long without Google evaluating how it ranks, grades and embraces press release content.