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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Article Marketing is Your Key to Success

Saturday, February 24, 2007

On occassion, I love to share some of the great teachings of SEO expert Brad Callen. Of all his advice, this is the most important. Use this strategy to increase your search engine result placements. Enjoy!

If you follow the seo forums, you'll notice that an old search engine marketing strategy is now suddenly everyone's seo strategy” of choice. Yes, I'm talking about article marketing .

In the SEO Elite newsletter I've often mentioned the benefits of article marketing, but with Google's recent updates to its ranking algorithms, the topic merits a fresh look. With everyone even remotely interested in achieving decent search engine rankings turning to article marketing, it is critical for your website's success that you fully understand what traditional article marketing is about and how you can benefit from it. Note that as search engines become smarter with reciprocal links, article marketing - especially the sort of marketing that guarantees good results - will require some expert knowledge.

In the rest of this lesson, I'll show you:

  • How traditional article marketing works
  • Why it will not work in the long run and
  • The right way to do article marketing

In addition, I have a surprise for you at the end of this issue (but wait, read the lesson first, what you'll learn here is priceless).

Traditional article marketing works something like this:

You write (or pay someone to write it) a 600-word article, take out a list of 100-200 article directories, and submit your article to all of them (or you could hire someone to do that as well). In a week or so, your article is accepted and published by the article directories, not to mention thousands of websites who pick up articles from these directories.

Then, after a week or two of submitting the article, search engines pick it up and suddenly see hundreds, if not thousands, of new links to your site. Even if these are low-quality links in some cases (there are very few highly reputed article directories, and most of them are not themed), your rankings benefits thanks to the sheer number of links you've built.

Over a period of time, after several article submissions, you notice an improvement in your search engine rankings at the next algorithm update. Yes, those links have made all the difference, and now your site is starting to get higher search engine placement.

By the looks of it, article marketing has everything search engines ask for – quality content, contextual links and even one-way links (as opposed to reciprocal links, which are less valuable).

However, to draw a parallel, just blindly submitting articles to hundreds of directories is like shooting in the dark - you're essentially banking on getting tons of non-themed links in the hope that they will be enough to improve your rankings (you may get lucky now and then and have some big website in your niche pick up your article and run it).

Important: The reason I say that many of these article links are non-themed is because the search engines not only look at the page your link is located on, BUT also look at the "website" your link is located on. All of these article directories are probably not related to your website in theme.

If you are serious about your rankings, you'll have to get your hands dirty and chase down the right links yourself (only at the beginning of course - as your site's popularity increases, your articles will generate their own links and you will get requests from other websites requesting your permission to reprint your articles).

The case for adopting a personal approach to article marketing becomes air-tight if you consider the following:

  • Search engines are clamping down harder on duplicate content , using the “date of discovery” (when the SE spider first finds the content) and other factors to find out which article is original and which are “copies”.
  • Search engines are getting better at evaluating “ themed ” links – links from industry-related websites, with a greater emphasis on niche sites dealing with one or two themes rather than general purpose sites dealing with a large set of themes (like article directories).
  • Search engines already consider anchor text as vulnerable to spam, so if hundreds of links pointing to your site suddenly pop up (with the EXACT same anchor text), this would be a “red-flag” event.

In other words, while article submissions are excellent tools for gaining traffic and rankings, search engines are catching up to the fact that spammers may use "blind" submissions in order to artificially boost their link popularity, and are looking to implement filters that can catch spammers. This will not happen immediately and maybe not even in the next year, but as the search engine wars (between Google, Yahoo and the rest) heat up, search engines will get stricter in terms of what they allow to rank highly in their search results.

Note that when I say search engines, I'm really talking about Google (which current serves 40-50 percent of all search engine traffic). However, as article spam increases, the other search engines are bound to implement changes that will catch it as well.

If you want maximum results for your article marketing, you would be best served by adopting the following tactics:
  • Target the top article directories and go for a few quality links instead of hundreds of low-quality links. In other words, hit the top article directories (I've listed a few later on in this lesson) and devote the rest of your time on the next couple of steps.
  • Find themed article directories / content sites that are related to the niche that your article addresses. For example, if you write about CSS, you would be looking for directories and websites that accept content on website development and more directly, website programming.
  • Use articles as link building tools - find high-ranking sites related to yours and instead of simply asking for links, pitch your article to them as an offer to their readers. If your article is engaging, fresh and unique, most websites will gladly publish it on their websites (or at least give you a reference link), leading to increased traffic as well as link popularity.

There are a few more things that you can do to make sure you came out ahead of the search engines' spam filters:

Avoiding Duplicate Content Penalties

Ideally, you shouldn't publish articles that you submit on your own website – this "may" help you avoid the duplicate content penalty a bit. On the other hand, this does not address the concern that carbon copies of your article will suddenly pop up in hundreds of places on the Internet. To deal with this, you can use one or more of the following techniques:

  • Post the article on your website, and wait for it to be indexed by the major search engines before you submit it to the article directories.
  • Post the full article on your website and submit “ half ” of it to the article directories (works best if you have a 1000 words+ article).
  • Have your writer create a second, different version of the article. Then, you can submit that version to the directories while keeping the original on your site.

Deep Linking

Instead of just putting links to your main site page, link to a few inner pages of your site from within the article text. Of course, the inner pages must be relevant to the article topic. This will help spread the link popularity you receive throughout the site. Deep links are one of the ways search engines use to evaluate the value of links.

Themed Links

Use different articles for different purposes. For example, you could have one article promoting your main website, another promoting your new book (and linking to the order page), and yet another article linking to your newsletter signup page. The key is to remember that articles also mean traffic, and along with deep links, getting traffic to the key money-making areas of your site is very important.


Brad Callen
Professional SEO


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