The Creare Group is a web design company that knows its SEO. Their onsite optimization techniques follow every trick in the book and the Google rankings for the selected keywords speak for themselves. Unfortunately the company’s latest PR stunt is the perfect example of SEO “abuse” – an unethical and unprofessional approach to this fine profession: the exploiting of a PR tool that lost its value because of practices similar to The Creare Group’s. This otherwise fine company spams the search engines periodically, by submitting press releases without substance through several distribution channels.
The Creare Group has recently published something that looks like a press release, but wants to be an editorial, and ends up being shameless self-promotion in the form of an article cluttered with in-text links. Well, since Google News listed this as a “press release” I’ll go ahead calling it that myself – and I will base on this idea my whole discourse (see a screenshot of the “press release” in question).
Image updated to conceal the identity of the Press Release Author – according to email request from The Creare Group.
The piece is a rant about blogging and search engine optimization that ends up inviting the reader to pay a “visit to The Creare Group’s web sites to see how it’s done and even to ask for more help and advice.”
In normal circumstances I would ignore such a “press release” – this time however it is important to take a stand. Under the headline: Search Engine Optimisation, Website Design And Blogging: The Ups And The Downs you expect to read a well-researched study about the topic, or at least an editorial that gives some insightful opinions on the matter. Another headline, immediately under the main title reads: “The Creare Group explore the pros and cons of blogging as it hits the news this week” – again a promise of insightful thought.
What you get instead is outrageous. The “press release” opens with a paragraph that not only lacks logic, but it also leads the reader into a story that does not follow path.
As one blogger plans to sue search giant Google for $15m for revealing her identity, many may be wondering what blogging is all about, and, more importantly, how it is able to help your search engine optimisation and website design. Fashion blogger Rosemary Port’s identity was recently revealed after she targeted Liskula Cohen in her blogging, calling her a “psychotic, lying, whoring … skank”.
Personally I doubt that anyone in their right mind cares about how blogging is able to help search engine optimization and website design after reading the news about Rosemary Port and Liskula Cohen. Mrs. Port’s identity was exposed as a result of a court order. She did run an anonymous blog, hosted by Google on blogger.com, however her purpose was not to gain any search engine rankings with it, but to spill poison. So how is this example relating to the message The Creare Group is trying to send? To put it simply, it doesn’t.
Aside the carefully crafted intro mentioning Rosemary Port, there is no other reference to the case in the article. That’s what puzzled me. I understand the need of getting traffic and links at all cost, but wouldn’t it be better to do it in a less obvious manner?
The Creare Group has a very skilled SEO team who certainly noticed that Rosemary Port was a hot trend in Google yesterday – so one of their writers quickly added together a few random thoughts about blogging, pasted a piece of pointless information at the top, and voilà, the “press release” that could. I read the thing at least four times looking for any element that would persuade me that the authors had a noble intent, and in all honesty I could not find the newsworthy element in the piece. The rant has no journalistic value, and it is pretty clear that the sole intent was to gain contextual links (which any SEO knows are the most useful for Google rankings).
This is not the first time the company uses OfficialWire to submit such “press releases” – the site is full of these and if you have the curiosity to read some you will note that they are all following the same pattern: a teaser that has nothing to do with the body, followed by some “keyword rich” text with no real message other than shameless self-promotion for The Creare Group, and the conclusion that highlights again how important this company is…
Unfortunately The Creare Group does not use only OfficialWire to spread… The company distributes press releases of the same questionable quality using Pitchengine, Pressreleasepoint, i-Newswire and other distribution services – this is actually a very common strategy for many other SEO companies. I am amazed that this old-school SEO technique still works – The Creare Group is ranking on top of the Google pages for all keywords they so smartly hyperlink in the body of the texts. The problem is that the PR industry is loosing credibility because of such practices. Distributing a valuable press release for a customer is now more difficult than ever, because SEO companies like The Creare Group abused the distribution channels to promote meaningless crap.
Undoubtedly, The Creare Group is using its rankings to get customers in need of SEO services. What these don’t know is that the strategies used by the Group can seriously damage brand reputation. Any company and individual who uses a press release distribution service for the sole purpose of getting links (and SEO advantage) will be regarded as a spammer.
Press releases should be only used to announce notable news about a company, a product or a service – and they should never be used to try to make a sale. A good press release answers all the who, what, where, when and why questions – it has a purpose and it should NEVER read like an advertisement.
To come to the point: no matter how desperate your SEO efforts are, do not follow The Creare Group’s example. Try to refine your PR campaigns – promote your company ethically, and stay away from any strategy that might give the wrong impression.
In The Creare Group’s defense, the people obviously don’t know PR. What they know is SEO and web design and hopefully this article is an eye opener: you don’t need to relentlessly spam the press release distribution services with press releases that lack editorial value. Hire a good press release writer instead and focus on newsworthy releases, which I am sure you have plenty of. The work showcased on crearedesign.co.uk reveals tremendous talent – web designers whose work complies with the industry standards and who code flawlessly. Why taint the work of these people with black hat SEO techniques?