Are Free Press Release Sites Worth My Time?

These sites offer to create and release press releases on behalf of you, your business and your next promotion. have recently taken a look at press release sites in order to see if their contribution to your business – and its visibility – is worth your time.

These sites offer to create and release press releases on behalf of you, your business and your next promotion. On the surface, this seems like free advertising – which can only be a good thing, right?

If you’ve considered using one of these sites before, you might have wondered if it’s worth your time. Let’s find out…

So, do they work?

VisitPR spent a month researching, testing and trialling 55 free online PR distribution sites. What they found was interesting:

Getting your press release onto Google news

5% of the tested PR sites managed to get press releases onto Google news, which isn’t a particularly inspiring statistic. Though Google news isn’t the most essential consideration in terms of SEO, it is quite important.

If you’re looking to appear in Google’s new section, a free PR site probably isn’t going to do the job.

Getting your press release into Google’s search index

49% of the tested sites managed to make the press releases appear in Google’s search index, which isn’t too bad. All companies want to appear in Google’s search index – it’s the crux of SEO and an essential part of making yourself known.

So in this regard, the free PR sites didn’t perform too badly.

Getting noticed by other journalists and bloggers

The testers could find no evidence that other journalists and bloggers used these sites to access news. So if you want to find platforms where journalists and bloggers will find your press release, don’t waste your time here.

How were these tests carried out?

These tests only used the free versions of the sites they were testing. If they’d paid at all, the whole concept of the test would have become obsolete. There were other rules used by the testers, which you can find here.

Did any of these sites stand out?

Yes, but it depends on your priorities:

I want to reach journalists, bloggers and other influencers

Don’t bother using these sites. Focus your time and energy into some other outlet instead.

I want my press release to appear on Google news

Here you have three – and only three – good options:

Online PR News got three of our four releases on Google News. PR Fire only got one release onto Google News while Open PR got two of them there.

I want my press release to appear in Google news web searches

This is the best use of a press release site. Here, the best four options are:

So while a press release site can be useful for helping your business to appear in Google searches, there are few that offer any other benefits. If you want a useful, effective press release, you might be wise to create and release your own.