Back when I was working as a web content writer in an SEO firm, article marketing was considered as the best way to bring relevant traffic to a website.
Unsurprisingly, business owners all over the world outsourced their articles to content writing companies who churned out articles in large numbers and published them left right and center.
I still remember mindlessly writing six or eight articles a day like a machine; it didn’t matter whether what I wrote made sense or not as long as there were enough keywords in the articles.
From content writing tips to betting tips to battery boosting ideas, I have written about pretty much everything under the sun to be published in directories such as E-zine, Articlebase, Bestarticle, etc. as a part of the company’s SEO marketing strategies.
I think I suffered less compared to what many of my colleagues had to suffer; one of them remembers having written articles, dozens of them in a day, on how to put rings on curtain rods.
Google strikes with its masterstroke
You can fool all the people some of the time; some of the people all the time; but you cannot fool your mom and Google.
It was a matter of time for Google to realize that the content junk floating on the internet needs to be flushed out; and they did strike the content writing world with their masterstroke.
Thus was introduced Google’s most controversial and important algorithm update – Panda. With the Panda update Google deposited all such mindlessly-written articles in a special place they deserve to be in -the content junk box.
Google’s algorithm updates that followed Panda too focused partly on purging the internet of such mindless and unimaginative writing practices.
Doesn’t this mean article directories are dead?
As people living in the post-Panda internet era, you have every right to assume that article marketing is dead. I beg to differ; not yet. It is true that content kings like Hubpages, EzineArticles and Associated Content have lost their authority and rank. No one is dying to become an expert author in any of those sites anymore; not at least in the way they used to. [pullquote]E-zine had lost its ranking for 130,000 keywords, it is still well placed for over 50,000 keywords, which is highly impressive for any website. [/pullquote]However, just because a few directories have lost their rankings, we can’t write them off. For instance, though E-zine had lost its ranking for 130,000 keywords, it is still well placed for over 50,000 keywords, which is highly impressive for any website. So, I believe it is not yet time to write off article directories as an effective platform to showcase your content.
If article marketing didn’t die, who died?
So we have a “murder puzzle” to solve here. Google did strike with its Panda update; websites and directories did suffer; and many people believe article marketing is dead. Now, if article marketing is not dead, who really died?
In fact, it is neither article directories nor article marketing that is dead; it is certain article marketing practices that are dead; and dead for good too. The practices that found their way to their eternal tombs are:
- Writing and submitting low quality articles of 350-500 words to directories
- Submitting content that is spun using article spinners
- Publishing content that is created only to accommodate keywords
- Publishing content created by writers who are not experts in the area
If you still have not got my point, here is an image to give you an idea about the junk many writers (including me) were forced to produce once, as part of their employer’s pathetic SEO strategies.
The article marketing murder mystery
Most of the articles published on e-zine or such directories contained links that redirected to sales pages. When Google launched Panda, it filtered the junk and penalized most of the article directories thereby putting those directories as well as web masters in trouble.
Google’s head of Webspam Team, Matt Cutts himself made it clear that link building using article directories has lost its value and effectiveness. According to Matt Cutts, the content floating on directories is of low quality.
Since Panda can sift out spun articles and articles written in atrocious language, it won’t be a good idea to use directories to drive traffic.
Check out the video to see what Matt Cutts said about using article directories to build links.
Can you still publish articles in a directory?
Now, the question is, can one still publish articles in directories? My answer is, yes. As long as you write unique and original articles in impeccable language, your visibility is assured; this goes true for blogs and all forms of online content.
Google has only stopped ranking websites for the inbound links they get. What Google attempted to do through this drastic move was to value and rank a site for its unique content.
If you do not use these directories as a means to get backlinks but approach them as a medium to enhance your authority and visibility, you can still go ahead posting quality articles in such directories. But make sure that the directory is not penalized for the keywords you are focusing on.
In fact, the idea behind an article directory is not to fill the internet with junk, but to create a platform where experts can come and share information in a unique manner. What matters is the originality of your content; if your content lacks in originality and quality, even a thousand articles a day are doubtful to bring you either visibility or traffic.
So if you consider using an article directory as a way to earn link juice, you are getting it all wrong and it is high time you revisited your SEO strategies.
Knock the concept of link building off from your head. Forget about counting the backlinks as Google really doesn’t care about the number of outbound links. If you want to publish on directories, consider them as an excellent way to create credibility and brand awareness.
If you want to make your presence felt on the web, its time you embrace article marketing of a different kind – a different kind that allows you not to build links, but to build brand awareness and authority.