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 I believe part of this reason is due to the fact that there’s still a lot of outdated information online about this strategy.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.
The Short Version
EzineArticles.com has been significantly affected by the new Google Panda change. This has resulted in them changing their rules (again) and suspending accounts that have articles written over the same topic multiple times. After they suspended our account and sent us a ridiculous email about how we should delete some of our content, we have decided that we will no longer be using EzineArticles.com, because we will not be deleting the content that our clients have paid for and have paid us to submit. We will be replacing them in our packages with a different, high-ranking directory (to be announced). However this change will be evening the playing field for other websites and directories, so I encourage you to read the following for more details on this change.
The Long Version
As many of you know, Google recently changed their algorithm (referred to as the Google Panda change) and it has significantly affected the amount of traffic that some websites and directories are receiving, specifically EzineArticles.com has been receiving. The change took affect February 24th and EzineArticles.com announced their concern on February 28th after receiving a 35% drop in traffic. We’ve been in a limbo waiting to see what EzineArticles.com is going to do in response and we’ve now had to make the decision to no longer submit articles to them after they suspended our account and sent us this message when we inquired about it:
Your account is currently suspended due to submitting articles that
contain re-hashed content. We require all articles to be 100%
original and unique, therefore we will not accept submissions that
offer the same tips and advice as an author’s previous articles.
Please review your account and delete what you feel fails to deliver
on quality. Moving forward, we are asking that you proof all your
articles and be sure they include unique content that provides value
to your readers.
Our quality standards are always rising, and we need to ensure that
the articles submitted are going to provide a good user experience.
Submitting tens or hundreds of articles on the same topic with the
same information does not create a good experience for the reader.
In the future, please be sure that each article is unique and that it
delivers value so that you can build trust and credibility with your
Once you have reviewed your account, and have removed articles that
do not deliver value to your readers please reply so we can review
your account for reinstatement.
Yes, EzineArticles.com asked that I DELETE the articles that my clients have paid to have written and submitted to their directory. This is not something that I will do. Every article that we write is unique, despite the fact that they might cover the same topics or keywords, but after all, that was what article marketing has been based on over the years. How are you supposed to create content related to a field when you can’t write more than one article about the same topic? We strive to provide educational and informational articles despite how many times we have written over the subject. We are adamantly against article spinning or “article vomit” as EzineArticles.com refers to it and we do not employ these practices. Every article is handwritten to be unique and offer information on the topic, therefore we don’t belong in this class of low quality content that EzineArticles is trying to put us in.
Ezine is attempting to narrow down their pool of authors to those business owners that only have the ability to write and post a couple articles per month. This is quite ironic since they have been hosting “100 articles in a 100 days” contests over the past couple of years and the fact that their blog post prior to their “announcement of concern” states that to compete in today’s market, you need to have at least 200-500 articles submitted to get the same traffic as you received just a few years ago off of a dozen articles
There’s a lot of speculation and opinion going around that the reason that EzineArticles.com has been affected so much is due to the fact that every page has at least 8 ad blocks on them and that Google is targeting sites that are heavily loaded with advertisements. Many feel that this is why they are being targeted, while sites like eHow.com are not. eHow has more emphasis on their content, although it is often lacking in value, and does not emphasize as much advertisement. They have half the number of ads per page than EzineArticles.com has. In fact, our own article directory, ArticlesYouWant.com, has literally doubled in traffic since this change. This fact and the fact that none of the other article directories have addressed this change shows that it is actually creating a more even ground as far as article directory competition.
For many years, EzineArticles has been a complicated directory to work with, as their editors often base their decisions on their personal opinion, and we all know that opinions are subjective. Not to mention that their rules and regulations are constantly changing. In fact, at one point Chris Knight encouraged localized keywords only to turn around and change his mind about that a few months later. This meant one day you could use a keyword with a city or state in the title and the next day you couldn’t. Changes like these are constantly occurring. We are more than happy to adjust and make changes in order to meet the editorial requirements of EzineArticles.com. Changing word counts, keyword density, etc., is not something we’re opposed to. We have even adapted to not using countries/cities in titles for the sake of ensuring articles are accepted, but we are opposed to having a site tell us that our content is not valuable to the reader and to delete it if we want our account back. What kind of company is willing to ask their authors to do this in the first place? If I were willing to do this, who’s to say that they won’t agree with my opinion.
One of the main selling points of article marketing is the fact that it’s a long-term link building investment. We’re not going to strip our clients of the links that they have paid for, so we will simply no longer use this website. They have long been the “content Nazis” of the article directories, but this is taking it too far. Saying that, they have announced that they are going through the site and removing content that they feel is not valuable, so you may or may not have some of your articles deleted by EzineArticles.com. Please know that we have nothing to do with this and that they are doing this on their own accord.
Due to the fact that our packages are based on the submission to 5 article directories, we will be replacing EzineArticles.com with another directory for the remainder of this month’s packages. This directory will be a popular site with a high page ranking. This will be announced later. Another reason that we have decided to no longer submit to EzineArticles.com is because we would have to increase our article marketing prices and submitting to EzineArticles would become pointless, as you wouldn’t be able to write over the same topic more than once and the small number of articles you would be able to submit wouldn’t be worth the money or the effort.
We will also be looking at revamping our own article marketing strategies as well as content development and packages to better serve our clients. These changes will likely be gradual as we assess how the directories are affected by these changes, as well as the type of content that Google is encouraging.
If you would like to read more about this change, this is the blog post from Google: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/finding-more-high-quality-sites-in.html
If you would like to read the EzineArticle.com blog on this matter, it is here: http://blog.ezinearticles.com/2011/02/search-engine-algorithm-changes.html
A lot of our clients at Words You Want have questions regarding what exactly SEO packages are and how the process works. The process is simple. Once you decide that you want to try our web marketing strategies, you place an order and then communicate with us regarding your article specifications.
If you have ordered one of our SEO packages, then you need to send a separate email with your keywords/topics, your pen name and the two links you want to include in your resource box. However, many of our clients contact us after the fact to give specifics on article direction, writing style, and appropriate subject matter. We encourage these notes and tidbits, as they help us to better match a freelance writer to the project, avoid costly rewrites, and allow us to finish the project immediately.
When choosing article marketing, we provide one resource box to subtly promote your company according to the requirements of major article directories. This is where you can include the two links and special anchor text that you would like to use. This anchor text should be the keywords that you want to improve your search engine ranking for.
As soon as the articles are finished and professionally edited and evaluated, we send the articles back awaiting your approval. When you approve the articles sent to you, we submit your articles to five of the most important and highly trafficked websites on a week to week basis.
We then provide profile links so you can see the posted articles “live.” (If you use our services monthly, save these links, as they will show all of the articles that we post for you.) For the best search engine ranking results, we encourage you to regularly order article marketing services. The search engines reward websites that have a combination of:
- High quality content
- Keyword relevancy and repetition
- A quantity of articles over a period of weeks, months and years
- External and internal links
In order to achieve the maximum satisfaction for your purchase, we encourage you to keep precise web tracking statistics (you can see your sources of traffic from the directories in your web analytics program) so you can track your return on investment and feel confident about the gains you are reporting.
Many people don’t understand the purpose of article marketing. The point is not to spread a bunch of sales letters all over the web, but to provide information in a non-salesy manner about your product or service. There are two parts of an article that is intended for article marketing.
The first part is the body of the article itself. Here, you talk about your product or service in a general and informational manner. You shouldn’t show bias towards one company or another in the article. You should simply talk about the topic in an informational and educational manner. When we write articles for article marketing packages, that is exactly what we do, while also working in your keywords. Our goal is to ensure that your articles pass EzineArticles.com, because there’s no point in article marketing if you’re not submitting your articles here. They are the top article directory with the most stringent editorial guidelines, so all of our articles are written to ensure that they pass those guidelines.
The second part of the article is the resource box and this is what the directories refer to as your “take.” This is where you include your “call-to-action” and encourage the reader to visit your website and check out your product. This is also where you link to your website and gain SEO value from your article submissions. The links that you use in the resource box should be relevant to your site and should be something more than “click here,” as that provides no SEO value. We recommend linking to any keywords that you are trying to rank well for in the search engines and utilizing those in your resource boxes. EzineArticles.com only allows two links per article and your anchor text cannot be longer than three main words. Stop words, such as “in,” aren’t counted in the anchor text.
The bottom line is that if your article’s body is salesy, the article directories will not accept them and will require that they be revised to remove any promotional content. In some cases, this may even mean not using a brand name of a product that you sell in your article body. However, a good rule of thumb is that if the articles are written in a way that will pass EzineArticles.com, they will also pass all of the other directories.
Update as of May 5, 2012: The answer to this question used to be “yes” but it is now “no.” The Google Panda and Penguin updates have changed SEO significantly. Doing this will now create duplicate content and can result in a penalty for your website. In fact, we are no longer promoting article marketing due to the latest algorithm updates.
This is a common question that we are asked by clients who order our SEO packages. The short answer is “yes,” but there is one major point to consider before doing this.
You should allow us to submit all of your articles to the directories that we submit to first. The main reason for this is because we submit to EzineArticles.com for our clients and if you post your articles under a different author name or under a business name before we post, EzineArticles.com will likely reject the articles that we post. This is because they can’t verify whether or not the articles we post for you are original or if they were copied from the articles they found posted by you. By allowing us time to submit your articles first, you ensure that your submissions to EzineArticles.com are not jeopardized. They are by far the most important directory to get your articles submitted to, so this is vital to your article marketing campaign.
Submitting to your blog won’t create duplicate content for your website as long as the blogs and the articles are attributed to the same author as well. Remember that you are trying to portray yourself as an expert in your field, so it is important that you have a consistent author name across the board. If you don’t want to use your real name, that’s fine, but do ensure that you use the same name as you send us to use for your article submissions.
Backlinks play a vital role in the ability of your website to move up in the ranks of the search engines. There are a variety of different methods that you can utilize to gain backlinks and article marketing plays a large role in developing backlinks for many different websites. However, when you run a search in Google or Yahoo!, you may notice that not all of your backlinks show up in these reports. Why is this?
The main reason is that it takes a lot of time for the articles and the attached links to be indexed by the search engines. There are very popular sites, like EzineArticles.com, that are constantly changing and constantly being crawled by the search engines, but it still takes time for these new pages to show up. It can take weeks to months for Google to crawl the pages with your links and then it can take even longer for various webmaster tools to also pick them up and show them to you. In the meantime, it’s best to keep creating links.
In addition, when use search for links via backlink checker tool or a search engine, they don’t show you everything that’s linking to you, only a sampling. So, although only half of your links are showing up that you have been building for several months, the links are still working for you even though they aren’t showing up in reports. In order to verify that your links are working, you simply need to track your keywords and pages on the search engine results pages (SERP). If you’re moving up in the rankings of the search engines, then those links are out there working for you – even if you don’t see them when you run a backlink checker tool.
Another important consideration to remember is that a backlink checker will tell you how many incoming links they have registered with a particular search engine. They will not tell you every link that is linking back to your website because the search engines can take months to re-evaluate all incoming links. That means that they backlink checker won’t know about links that haven’t been calculated yet. Also, if your site is relatively new, then there’s a good chance that your entire site hasn’t been indexed yet and therefore, no backlinks will be showing up. It can take 3-5 months for a new site to be indexed and once the site is indexed, the backlinks should start appearing as well. It can take 3-4 months for backlinks to be calculated as well.
The important thing to remember is that all aspects of article marketing and link building take time. It takes time for the search engines to crawl and index your pages. Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to the search engines and their process of indexing pages and links. When you’re link building and article marketing, consistency is key. Even though you don’t see the links right now, it’s vital that you keep submitting articles each and every month. You will be rewarded in the long run. Remember that article marketing is a long-term investment and as long as you are submitting articles to sites that are reputable and won’t go offline, then you will be rewarded with an increase in search engine ranking for your keywords.