Right after Christmas Matt Cutts said something pretty bold within a Google Webmaster Help thread that I covered as Google Says Press Release Links Won't Help Your Search Rankings. But is it true? An SEO tested it and found this not to be the case.
First, let me quote Matt Cutts of Google:
Note: I wouldn't expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however.
It is pretty clear - don't try to use press releases as a way to embed links within them and expect them to have a positive impact on your ranking goals within Google.
But the test this SEO ran showed that he was able to rank Google's Matt Cutts blog for the keyword [sreppleasers] with only creating a link within a press release pointing to Matt's blog. It did not rank for sreppleasers beforehand, only after there was a link to Matt's blog from a press release. And today, it still ranks:
Why does this work if Matt said it shouldn't? Well, maybe Matt was talking about more competitive terms? Maybe Matt was thinking of a specific few press release distribution companies? Maybe Matt was confused?
Matt has been offline for a while, I hope everything is okay - but I have not heard from him in a while. So he has not addressed this directly. Maybe he will, but maybe he won't?
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.