John Mueller, one of Google’s lead Webmaster Trends Analyst, was kind enough to answer some of my questions around this documentation change in a video hangout. The questions from SEOs and myself around the new link schemes documentation change are in the first ten minutes, the outcome was to nofollow links within press releases.
Throughout the video, John Mueller equated press releases to advertisements. It was specifically asked if all links in press releases need to be nofollowed or just “links with optimized anchor text” in press releases need to be nofollowed. While John said it would be somewhat okay to have direct URLs linked within press releases that are followed, he did say to be safe, he’d recommend nofollowing even those links (i.e. the links that are not even optimized anchor text).