Business Wire posted comments on its blog last month by two of the company’s internal marketing and SEO specialists in a piece called “Discovery, Not Link Building, is the Objective of Your Press Release.” The authors, Fred Golash and John Leung, write:

“It is after the discovery process that you gain what is referred to as ‘earned media’– meaning publicity is attained, not purchased, from promotional efforts rather than advertising.”

They go on to describe Google’s hard line about “unnatural” linking from news releases to issuers’ websites. That kind of linking won’t help improve a site’s ranking in Google search results. Google is essentially saying “you can’t vote for yourself.”

This is a good thing. Quality content should always be the first priority. News releases should share news. Whether we’re writing about a public company merger or simply the promotion of a local bank’s vice-president, we start with a purpose to share news in a way that matters to the people who care about that specific content. We give the news a voice, and then we do everything we can to make the news matter to that audience. Then the news is useful. And other people will “vote for it” by sharing or writing about it.

Sure, SEO and link building are important. But these are tactics, not fundamentals. Content is fundamental. Content helps build brands over the long term.