Press Release Sites See Huge Drop In Google Ranking After Panda 4.0

May 30, 2014 • 8:43 am | comments (33) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Panda 4.0Yesterday I reported at Search Engine Land that Panda 4.0 may have hurt press release sites and showed SearchMetrics data for PRWeb, PR Newswire, BusinessWire and PRLog all losing between 60% to 85% of their SEO visibility.

This drop seems to have come right after the Google Panda 4.0 update. The controversy around press release sites were mostly about links flowing from those releases, not necessarily the issue with the duplicative nature of that content. But let's be honest, many many press releases issued are content thin and spammy on the content end, not just on the link end. So maybe, just maybe, Panda 4.0 adjusted for it and the big sites felt it?

Sean from SEER also documented the drop via SEM Rush data and screen shots of before and after rankings for some press releases.

Here are SearchMetrics charts:

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Was this a Panda thing? It is not clear. It seems like it but these be manual actions also, similar to the overlap with eBay?

Forum discussion at Google+ and Cre8asite Forums.

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05/30/2014 01:58 pm

o to the u to the c to the h = ouch :D

Dave Fogel

05/30/2014 02:45 pm

Guess the press release is now truly dead.


05/30/2014 03:04 pm

Hey SEO spammers, the press release is dead. Hey PR people, spam is finally getting out of our 100 year old communication channel, opening it up for real, reputable PR news and newswires to flourish.


05/30/2014 03:05 pm

PR is spam, only on an industrial scale. it should be punished in my opinion. Make writers do their own work.


05/30/2014 03:53 pm

Google is one step closer in its mission to punish all links that are problematic for its Page Rank patent.

Durant Imboden

05/30/2014 04:32 pm

The problem isn't PR, it's spam disguised as PR.

Durant Imboden

05/30/2014 04:34 pm

Genuine press releases are still useful (at least when they're properly targeted and sent to editors by e-mail instead of being used as grist for SEO).


05/30/2014 04:41 pm

Google may also want to look at how many press release sites are on Google News to which I subscribe. It is everyday I get spammed by press release sites churning out inane "press releases" promoting hotels and travel deals. Let these hotels support Adwords instead of spamming me with their "press releases".


05/30/2014 05:17 pm

That's good news. Well done Google.

Mark Warner

05/30/2014 05:25 pm

Press releases have been done since before spam was invented. To say that all press releases are spam is a bit silly.

Yo Mamma

05/30/2014 05:30 pm

Press Release Google sets up 'right to be forgotten' form after EU ruling Now Google should do the same in USA

Travis Jamison

05/30/2014 06:51 pm

Spot on Durant! 95% of all press releases are just n00bs attempts for backlinks.


05/30/2014 08:48 pm

While it seems like a legit change, I can't help but suspect that this is part of Google's ongoing war on being able to find content through any avenue that isn't Google.


05/30/2014 10:29 pm

I agree Google should do it everywhere... but technically the process is set up so Google can ignore requests and wait for court orders before taking action. And if the court orders it then they are going to put in a placeholder saying you requested a removal so everyone who googles you will know... it is a dick move on Googles part and contrary to the spirit of the original court ruling.


05/30/2014 10:33 pm

could be... or they are using their monopoly position to make their Page Rank patent stronger by going after links that weaken its usefulness.


05/31/2014 06:57 am

I analyzed's backlinks and found some of the unnatural links. For e.g "" - getting links from blogroll with anchor text of "asp net performance". which is against the Google guideline.

Kristina Roy

05/31/2014 08:23 am

Google has taken nice decision about PR. I think, PR sites mostly time create spamming.

Durant Imboden

05/31/2014 03:30 pm

A point that needs clarifying: Press-release sites and public relations aren't the same thing. Real PR is about getting press coverage, not about getting SEO links.


05/31/2014 07:05 pm

i love you

Let's think about this.

06/02/2014 01:54 am

Press releases were once a good thing, and yes they have been spammed to death. On the other hand there are the good press releases with genuinely great content.Will those be punished by Panda 4.0 or will Google be able to separate the good from the bad? Punishing those who follow the rules doesn't sound right to me. Be Careful when you cher on Google to "kill the spam" they just might come after you next.

Osama naseem

06/02/2014 08:52 am

PR is spam. In the past I read that Article directories are spam. Guest posting is spam. web 2.0 is spam Forums and blog comments are spam. What else left?


06/02/2014 09:40 am

If you cant beat em join em ;)


06/02/2014 01:19 pm

but links would be a nice offshoot if said coverage was legit.

Durant Imboden

06/02/2014 02:34 pm

It isn't about the content, it's about the context. If Croesus Cruises publishes a press release with a link to croesuscruises dot com in the "Media" section of its Web site, that's one thing. If Croesus Cruises publishes a press release with a link to croesuscruises dot com on half a dozen "press release" sites that have little or nothing to do with public relations and everything to do with SEO, that's another thing altogether.

Bhaskar Dihingia

06/05/2014 06:09 am

I share your feelings!


06/05/2014 10:58 pm

I bet if you look at google link profile millions of links, you will find also unnatural and bad pharmacy links.


06/07/2014 06:23 pm

only google is not spam, for now............

Nate RealEcon

06/20/2014 08:59 am

Press Release sites are basically timely article directories. A lot of random content going onto one domain. Sites have to be tight and focused on one niche/topic now. I bet if someone created a press release site for just a single niches press releases, it do fine in the serps. Got to keep things self similar.


07/08/2014 03:46 pm

We use PRweb and let me assure you that we aren't sending out spammy releases. PRweb is also very careful about not distributing anything that looks like free advertising. The couple of times that we went over the line, they called us on it and we had to go back and edit before they would send it out. So don't be too hard on these release distribution sites.

Michael Taggart

07/16/2014 08:46 pm

Maybe they should follow what my PR Submission site has done for years, our traffic and rankings have increased rather than decrease.

Michael Taggart

07/16/2014 11:41 pm

Just because you do not doesn't mean others do not. In fact, they do. PRweb is a content farm, mostly spam. They relied on their own private blog networks that posed as news sites to pump their "syndication" stats for a long time. Their tactics are spammy, rather than user engaging and SEO friendly.

Michael Taggart

07/16/2014 11:42 pm

Disagree. If you insert SPAMMY in front of PR sites, I would agree. There are some out there that actually work, and do what they are supposed to do.

Michael Taggart

07/16/2014 11:43 pm


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