Article marketing was once the golden boy of search engine optimization. You could find no easier strategy than writing some content and popping it into a few article directories. These directories gave you a link and then every site that used your article also gave you a link. So one piece of content could bring you a thousand links (if it was good enough). Google liked lots of links, so you went up in the rankings. There was an added benefit that if the content was actually any good, it could bring plenty of click through traffic as well.
Sounds Good so Let’s Get Writing!
In a post-Panda world (Panda was a semi-recent Google update) article marketing looks like a less viable strategy than before. Firstly the article directories, such as e-zine articles, got clobbered in the ratings. The amount of link juice and authority they pass on was greatly diminished. Secondly, all those links, coming in from those who clone your content for their sites, got clobbered too.
OK, so Let’s Not Do Article Marketing!
Hold your horses. The truth is that article marketing isn’t dead either. It may have lost its golden boy status but it still brings quite a few benefits that are worth pursuing. We think article marketing is still worth your effort as long as you use this guide:
One article per directory – at least for the vast majority of directories. Take the authority and page rank they pass on but don’t spend too much time marketing to a dead space. The exception to this rule is if the directory is passing you lots of direct traffic, then you might want to concentrate on developing that space.
One article of value per directory – if you want your content to really work for you, make the links in it worth clicking in the first place. E-zine articles can be a great source of traffic in its own right.
Don’t forget it’s not just directories that take articles – in fact sites like Squidoo and Hub Pages got a bit of a boost following the Panda update.
Don’t forget guest blogging is a form of article marketing – guest blogs are worth their weight in gold if you’re posting on sites with a following, no matter what their actual page rank may be.
Analyse the results of your article marketing. This is the one bit many people forget to do. Article marketing will almost certainly result in good results in certain niches. In others, particularly those that have been 100% saturated in the past, you may find it’s not worth the effort.
Article marketing can still be a good source of traffic. It’s certainly an easy way to build some initial back links. It’s a good idea to focus on long-tail keywords for this purpose. Your articles are much easier to find on the basis that the title is search engine friendly. You can also establish yourself as an expert in your niche more easily when a search for your name shows over 100 sites with articles you’ve written about your speciality.