Yes—article marketing is still very much worth pursuing, but, you must understand that we are talking about true article marketing, not ‘article directory marketing‘. There are very significant differences.
Article Directory Marketers (also known as ‘bum marketers’) are people who write (or pay to have others write for them), hundreds of inferior quality articles, spin them to create thousands more, use a few to populate a niche blog or website, then via programs or paid subscription services, broadcast them to article directories throughout the internet.
This aspect of ‘marketing’ is the reason for Google’s February algorithm update (their ‘recipe’ for how to rank web pages), known as the Panda, or Farmer update, aimed at identifying mediocre, low quality sites and content. This update has severely impacted article directories and websites in general that carry inferior material, that Google perceives to provide little or no information.
This type of ‘Article Marketing’ was spawned back in the dark ages of 2004 and before, because Google’s algorithm rewarded sites based on their number of incoming links. Period. Any and all incoming links were seen as relevant, irrespective of their quality.
From 2004 onwards Google continued to reward websites based on their incoming links, but also began to factor in domain trust. In other words, backlinks from high-quality websites acquired more ‘link juice‘ than links from PR 0 websites and directories.
But this wasn’t enough. Google was becoming increasingly censured for its spammy search results. People using the Google search engine expected quality, unique content. Hence the sweeping February algorithm update. Google modifies its algorithm regularly, but most changes are so insidious that few notice. This was different.
It has been estimated that 12% of websites have been affected by the algorithm changes. That may not sound like many, but in December 2010, Netcraft Web Server Survey concluded there are around 266,848,493 websites available on world wide web. 12% involves 32,021,819.
The other side of the coin: if you publish high-quality, unique content and don’t copy material from other sources, you’ll be in good shape. Google will provide better rankings for high-quality sites and material it indexes. In short, sites publishing original content and information, such as well researched, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis, and so on.
This statement may appear to completely contradict my earlier post, that discussed Article Marketing and ‘Duplicate Content‘, but please bear with me. The objective of a true Article Marketer is not concerned with SEO, ‘perceived’ duplicate content, or irrelevant, PR-0 backlinks from inconsequential article directories. He or she has the ultimate goal of having his or her high-quality article picked up and published on authority sites, in newsletters, etc., relevant to the subject matter.
In time the author (you), will become recognized as a trusted authority on the subject, and other web publishers will quickly begin to actively seek out his or her new context relevant material for publication. They may even begin commissioning you to write pieces for them.
As a matter of course, you should always take this high-quality material and publish it first on your own blog or website, and wait until it has been indexed by Google. Only then should you move forward and publish that same article (plus a resource box), on Ezine Articles and just one or two of the other top article directories. I use Ezine Articles, ArticleBase and Go Articles, that’s it.
I always publish to two or three top-notch sources, just to cover myself. These articles will be on the internet for many years to come and should one of these directories fold (highly unlikely, I know), it will still be available and may possibly have acquired a good viral standing with one of the others.
It is absolutely essential that you first publish your work on your own blog or website, so that Google credits you, and you alone for it. Why on earth would you really want to spend time researching and writing a high-quality article, then just give it away to an article directory so that Google will index it at THEIR property, and, in all probability, their version will outrank yours in the search engines. Who do you want to be seen as the ‘authority‘ you or Ezine?
Never forget, your primary objective should ALWAYS be to write articles of the highest quality that get picked up and re-published by authority websites, context-relevant to your subject. The benefits from this strategy will be two-fold and lasting:
- First, you will receive a lot of targeted traffic (visitors), directly from the sites that publish your material.
- Second, the backlinks created from your resource box on the sites publishing your work, will be seen by Google as especially high-quality links, from a high-quality, authority sites and will be worth significantly more ‘link juice’ to you.
Just as an aside, I always ensure that the links in my resource box always point to a different, but nonetheless very relevant article on my blog. Readers will click those links because they have enjoyed the original article, but if they arrive at an identical copy on your blog, their interest will be instantly lost. Give them something completely fresh to read and you will quickly reinforce your status as an authority.
To stamp yourself even further as an authority on the subject you are writing about, it’s also a good idea to contact the owners of blogs and other websites related to your subject and offer both copies of your articles, and guest posts to them. Include a link to your own site in your inquiry to give them an opportunity to read your work. Even the owners of high-ranked websites suffer occasionally from burnout and would most likely welcome your contribution.
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