How to Build Backlinks By Publishing Press Releases

May 4th, 2021

If you’re struggling to build backlinks to your website, you should consider publishing press releases. It’s a time-tested search engine optimization (SEO) tactic that’s helped countless webmasters achieve higher rankings in the search results. In January 2021, Google’s John Mueller even confirmed that press releases are equally if not more important than technical SEO processes. By publishing press releases, you can let the world know about your website while simultaneously building SEO-friendly backlinks.

Choose Newsworthy Topics

Press releases aren’t the same as traditional forms of website content. They are specifically designed to generate publicity through an announcement. Traditional forms of website content, on the other hand, are typically used to educate visitors. You can still include educational information in your press releases, but you should choose newsworthy topics for them.

Each press release that you publish should focus on a unique newsworthy topic. Publishing purely educational and evergreen press releases won’t work. The platforms to which you submit your press releases may reject them. Most press release distribution platforms only accept press releases that cover a newsworthy topic. Without a newsworthy topic, they’ll reject your press releases.

Newsworthy topics for press releases include the following:

  • Rebranding of your website
  • Launching a new line of products or services
  • New partnerships or affiliations
  • Results from a recent study or survey conducted by your website
  • Announcing upcoming events, such as webinars or livestreams
  • Awards given to your website by a third party

Use Naked Or Branded Links

You should only use naked or branded links in your press releases. Naked links are those consisting entirely of your website’s address, whereas branded links are those featuring your website’s brand name as the anchor text.

Some press release distribution platforms only support naked links. In other words, you’ll have to enter the address of your website’s homepage — or a subpage, depending on the topic that you choose — without any Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) formatting. Even if a platform supports HTML formatting, though, you should avoid using keyword-rich links.

Keyword-rich links are those that contain an SEO keyword as the anchor text. If you want to rank your website for a keyword, you may build links using that keyword as the anchor text. But the problem with keyword-rich links in press releases is that they often perceived as being artificial. Search engines identify them as being unnaturally created, so they devalue their ranking influence.

Naked and branded links are safer than keyword-rich links. They may not bolster your website’s rankings for a specific keyword, but they’ll project a more natural link portfolio. Therefore, naked and branded links in press releases can make it easier to rank your website for all keywords.

Craft Catchy Headlines

The headlines of your press releases will affect the value of their links. Links in press releases with a catchy headline will prove more valuable to your website than those in press releases with a dull headline. With a catchy headline, more users will read your releases and follow the included links.

Using numerical figures in your press releases’ headlines can make them more catchy. The presence of one or more numerical figures will make your press releases stand out from those with only letters. You can also craft catchy headlines by using compelling words. Choose words that are relevant to your press releases but instill an emotional response.

Limit Syndication

Don’t go overboard with syndication. Syndicating your press releases to a few high-quality channels will often yield better results than syndicating them to hundreds or thousands of low-quality channels.

Syndication is a service offered by most press release distribution platforms. If you opt for this service, the platform may send your press release to news websites, journalist blogs, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, social media networks and other places.

While syndication can lead to more exposure, it may cause a loss of link value. Syndication will place your press releases, as well as their included links, on many channels. As search engines encounter these duplicate press releases, they may devalue some or all of the links. You can syndicate your press releases; just choose a small and limited syndication service so that your website has a more natural link profile.

Diversify With Nofollow

Publishing press releases with nofollow links can still benefit your website’s rankings. Nofollow links are those that feature the nofollow HTML attribute. When given the nofollow HTML attribute, links lose some of their ranking influence.

Nofollow links might be less influential than standard links, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. Whether included in a social media post or a press release, they can provide SEO value that lifts your website’s rankings.

Google has changed the way in which it interprets nofollow links. Until recently, Google didn’t use them to calculate rankings. The search engine changed its tune on nofollow links in 2019. Since then, Google has been using nofollow links as a minor ranking signal. Some press release distribution platforms automatically make all links in press releases nofollow. Whether the links are standard or nofollow, however, they can provide SEO value.

Follow the Guidelines

Be sure to follow the guidelines when creating press releases. All press release platforms have guidelines. In addition to a newsworthy topic, for instance, many of them require a third-person point of view writing style. News stories are typically written in a third-person point of view, so press releases follow this same writing style.

Some platforms require a specific format as well. You may have to format your press releases with a headline, summary, body and contact sections. Other platforms require a minimum and a maximum number of words. To avoid rejection, you should check the platform’s guidelines before submitting a new press release to it.

You don’t have to resort to spammy tactics to build backlinks. You can build them by publishing press releases. Search engines will crawl your press releases just like a traditional web page. Upon discovering the included links, search engines will factor them into their ranking formulas.

Baidu Search Engine Optimization (SEO): How to Optimize Your Website for Baidu

April 18th, 2021

Google and Bing aren’t the only search engines for which you can optimize your website to rank. Depending on your website’s audience, you may want to target Baidu as well. Research by StatCounter shows that nearly four-fifths of all online searches performed in China are processed by Baidu.

Founded January 1, 2000, Baidu is China’s most popular search engine. It’s become known, in fact, as China’s Google. But like Google, Baidu isn’t bound to its country of origins. Chinese-speaking users from across the world, including the United States, can access Baidu to perform online searches. Targeting Baidu in your organic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy will allow you to draw these users to your website.

Existing Website vs Separate Version

To rank on Baidu, you have one of two options: you can either optimize your existing website for the Beijing-based search engine, or you can build a separate version of your site. Most webmasters typically prefer the latter method. If you optimize your existing website for Baidu, you’ll forfeit English-speaking traffic. Building a separate version of your website, on the other hand, ensures that both English-speaking and Chinese-speaking users can access it.

Consider a .cn Domain

Whether you intend to optimize your existing website for Baidu or build a separate site, you may want to consider a .cn domain. It’s a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) that’s designed for Chinese websites. You can either move your existing website to a .cn domain, or you can build a separate site on a .cn domain.

Baidu ranks websites with all types of domains, but it favors those with a .cn domain. Most high-ranking websites on Baidu have a Chinese-designated domain name. Keep in mind that .cn domains have stricter requirements than generic top-level domains (gTLDs). You’ll have to verify your identity, for instance, by providing the registrar with a copy of your driver’s license or passport. You don’t have to live in or operate your website in China, but you will need to verify your identity to activate a .cn domain.

Write Content in Simplified Chinese

Your website won’t rank high — or possibly at all — on Baidu unless it’s written in Chinese. For an effective Baidu SEO strategy, you should write content for your website in Simplified Chinese. Simplified Chinese is a modern variant of the Traditional Chinese language that’s spoken in mainland China.

Baidu is only available in Simplified Chinese. There’s no option for users to switch to a different language. With Simplified Chinese being Baidu’s default and exclusive language, you should use it when writing your website’s content.

Avoid JavaScript and Flash

For higher Baidu rankings, avoid using interactive scripting languages like JavaScript and Flash for your website’s content. While most websites no longer use Flash-based content, many of them do use JavaScript-based content. Baidu, however, will ignore content created in these scripting languages.

You can still create Flash- or JavaScript-based content, but it won’t earn your website any recognition from Baidu. When Baidu crawls your website, it will pass over the interactive content. The Flash- or JavaScript-based content won’t affect your website’s Baidu rankings.

Don’t Forget Alt Tags

When adding images to your website, remember to use alt tags. Most search engines analyze alt tags when crawling images, and Baidu is no exception. When compared to Google, though, Baidu relies more heavily on alt tags to process images for ranking purposes.

Alt tags are pieces of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) code that provide a text-formatted description of a published image. When Baidu encounters an image on your website, it will read the alt tag. Baidu may then increase your website’s rankings for keywords used in the image’s alt tag, especially if they are relevant to the rest of your site’s content.

Promote on Chinese Social Media Networks

Social media promotion can help your website secure better Baidu rankings, but you’ll need to choose the right social networks on which to promote your site. Most of the top U.S. social networks are blocked in China. Therefore, promoting your website on Facebook and Twitter won’t lead to higher Baidu rankings. You’ll need to promote it on Chinese social media networks for maximum SEO effect. Doing so will send positive signals to Baidu that drive higher rankings.

Some of the most popular Chinese social media networks include:
• WeChat
• Weibo
• Tencent QQ
• Zhihu
• Sina Weibo

Build Authoritative Backlinks

Baidu uses backlinks in its ranking algorithm. It will analyze how many backlinks your website as well as the authority of its linking domains. Authority refers to the perceived credibility and trustworthiness of another website. Building backlinks from these authoritative sites will usually result in higher Baidu rankings.

It’s a little-known fact that Google’s PageRank algorithm was based on the work of Baidu’s founder. In 1996, Baidu founder Robin Lin developed a backlink-based scoring system for websites. When Google filed a patent for its backlink-based scoring system, PageRank, it cited Li’s work. Today, Baidu continues to rank websites based on their backlinks.

Sign Up for Baidu Webmaster Tools

Baidu offers a suite of online analytics tools that you can use to further refine your Baidu SEO strategy. Known as Baidu Webmaster Tools, it contains many of the same features as Google Search Console. You can use Baidu Webmaster Tools to track your website’s rankings, impressions and click-through rates (CTRs). It also offers tools for finding broken links, validating robots.txt files, conducting security audits and more.

The downside to using Baidu Webmaster Tools is that it’s only available in Chinese. You can use a browser-based translator to convert the interface to English, but no translator is perfect. Nonetheless, if you’re proficient in the Chinese language, or if you a Chinese-speaking business partner, you can sign up for Baidu Webmaster Tools.

Optimizing your website for Baidu isn’t much different than optimizing it for Google or Bing. You’ll need to create engaging content while also building backlinks and promoting your website on social media. Just remember to tailor your website towards a Chinese-speaking audience.