In the not so distant past, press releases were a valuable part of most SEO strategies.
A single press release could result in numerous back links and a decent amount of referral traffic as well. In addition, press releases were a popular target for Barnacle SEO. The onslaught of continuous updates from Google has reduced the effectiveness of many strategies, so today we are going to look at how five popular press release services have fared over the past two years.
Website Traffic: According to SemRush the traffic total for prweb.com in April was just over 24,000 compared to 900,000 visitors in April 2014. As you can see, this site took a major traffic hit.
Pricing: $99-$499 per press release
Heavy-Hitter Placements: The high-end packages promote placement on sites like The New York Time and USA Today. They also offer a PR service geared toward the finance industry with sites like The Wall Street Journal being mentioned.
Good for Barnacle SEO?: No!
I would pay $499 all day long to get featured coverage on sites like The New York Times or USA Today, but in all likelihood, that is not going to happen for most of us.
Website Traffic: In April 2015 SemRush reports Pr.com's organic traffic to have been just over 9,000 visitors compared to just less than 9,000 visitors in April 2014. This site does not get a lot of organic traffic, but they also appear to have scraped through Google's updates without losing a lot of rankings.
Pricing: The price ranges from $30 to $100. The $100 package is the only one that includes placement on "premium websites."
Heavy-Hitter Placements: As mentioned, the $100 packages mention placement on sites like The Boston Globe and Miami Herald.
Good for Barnacle SEO?: Since this site has not been clearly demoted by Google, it is possibly a good candidate for Barnacle SEO. Try it for yourself and let us know if you can rank your press release.
24-7 Press Release
Website Traffic: With just less than 1,900 visits in April 2015 this site has taken a substantial hit from April 2014 in which they had just under 7,000 visitors.
Pricing: You can test the service out for free, the paid options range from $49 -$389 per release.
Heavy-Hitter Placements: Packages include possible inclusion on sites like MSNBC, Forbes, and Reuters.
Good for Barnacle SEO?: No!
Website Traffic: In April 2015, Market Wired had just over 9,300 visitors according to SemRush, which is up significantly from April 2014 when they had a little over 3,000. (It should be noted, however, that currently marketwire.com redirects to marketwired.com, which could account for the traffic increase.)
Pricing: Pricing for this service is not available on the website but there are three service package options.
Heavy-Hitter Placements: This service appears to be more tailored to reaching specific audiences. It appears this service also comes with a dashboard for tracking releases. If you are considering a PR service, I would inquire for more information from Market Wired.
Good for Barnacle SEO?: Possibly
Website Traffic: This site was rockin' compared to some of the other PR sites with more than 380,000 visits in April 2015, which is over 100,000 more visits than in April 2014.
Pricing: This site has a high-end feel and requires approval just to be able to submit press releases through the service. The pricing starts at $450 and several custom options are available.
Heavy-Hitter Placements: This site has an extensive placement network. You can view releases organized by niche and location on their website.
Good for Barnacle SEO?: Very Likely!
Even though we only looked at five press release services today, many more have fallen victim to Google updates. If you are submitting a press release for sheer SEO value, you are better off saving your money in most cases. If you have something truly newsworthy to share, carefully pre-screening a PR service will ensure you get the best results. Of the five we covered here today, I would suggest starting your research by looking into Business Wire or Market Wired.
Over to you...
Have you had any success using press releases to market your business?