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Even after all of the Google algorithm updates and all of the hits people have taken on sites after using article marketing heavily, I still have clients requesting this service. I believe part of this reason is due to the fact that there’s still a lot of outdated information online about this strategy.

In the early days of search engine optimization, article marketing websites were a viable method for link building. But times change, and, especially when technology is involved, they change fast. Article marketing websites have endured a steady decline for many years, and it’s time to put the nail in the coffin. They are no longer useful or relevant for increasing web traffic to your sites. Here are a few reasons why.

Content Mills Mean Generic Content

Websites like EzineArticles and ArticlesBase focus on churning out massive amounts of content—none of which is specifically tailored to your company or niche. Your readers are savvy; they can tell the difference between a well researched, professionally written article and a generic one you paid a dollar for. Maybe you think that since it’s only for SEO purposes, it doesn’t matter—but if nobody clicks on the links, simply having the content out there won’t do much good. So rather than purchasing pre-written articles on general topics, hire a professional writing company to create original content that’s directly relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish.

You Won’t Own Your Articles

When you hire a professional writing company, the content they create becomes yours and yours alone. That’s not the case with article marketing websites. You can see an article you like and buy it—and fifty other people can buy it, too. This is much less effective at driving web traffic to your site. A reader could search for a specific topic and end up going to one of those fifty websites instead of yours, since they all say the same thing. You want to publish unique articles that are your own property, not ones that just anyone could use.

Loss of Reputation

If you’re trying to establish yourself or your company as an expert source in your field, linking cheap, poorly researched content with your website will work against you in the long run. It’s tempting to save money by link building with an article marketing website, but you can’t think in terms of only quantity. Quality is just as important. That’s especially the case in today’s information-saturated modern world: if you don’t stand out, you’re just one in a sea of companies battling for Internet presence. Why would you choose to be represented by some faceless copywriter banging out words to meet a quota? Associate yourself with bad content, and you mark yourself as untrustworthy. Potential clients won’t hesitate to cross you off the list and choose a company that surrounds itself with professional, quality copy.

Lower Search Engine Rankings

2011 brought with it Google Panda, a modification to search algorithms aimed at reducing the visibility of low-quality content. This is really the thing that made article marketing websites truly obsolete. Why would you use a website for SEO purposes if it’s not even effective in boosting search rankings anymore? If your page has content that’s been duplicated on other websites, you’re bumped down. Spelling mistakes? Bumped down. A host of other factors come into play, but they all have one thing in common: they’re not good news for content farms and article marketing websites.

So, if you’re trying to boost your search engine rankings or simply get some interesting, fresh copy on your website or company blog, avoid article marketing websites like the plague. Instead, hire a professional writing company and give them specific assignments, tailored to your niche, incorporating keywords that readers are likely to search for. Having unique, thought-provoking, relevant content is invaluable in today’s world. Yes, it requires a little more legwork, but doing things the easy way just isn’t enough anymore.