In today’s post, I am discussing the relevance of article marketing and article directories in the context of SEO. A pretty common refrain is that submission to article directories is not valued anymore by the search engines even though it is one of the best ways of gaining a one way link with anchor text of your choice to your site.
In my opinion, submission to article directories is still a force to reckon with if done right from the SEO perspective. Quality content is still vital for a site to reflect its dominance and authority in a particular field both in the eyes of users and Google. Article directories play an important role in propagating useful information posted by authors on various subjects.
It is true that article directories get spammed with poor quality articles. Sometimes owners of article directories monetize their site for Adsense to make a difference to their bottom line in the quest for the extra $.
This invariably compromises with the quality of content on the directory. Google does not give much importance to such spammy directories and devalues them. Having links from such directories is not going to help a site rank well for its targeted keyword phrase.
1) Restrict submission to strong article directories:
A few top quality article directories that come to mind are ezinearticles.com, buzzle.com, zimbio.com, articledashboard.com, selfgrowth.com and goarticles.com These are well established and have a good domain integrity. A site owner can post regularly to these directories and ensure that she can get a small slice of the domain trust and authority these sites enjoy back to her site through that resource link in her article.
2) Good quality content:
An article that is submitted to a directory should provide value to the reader. This is not the case with many articles. It is marked by self promotion and hype and how the product or service offered is the best and so on and so forth.
If good factual information is presented and right at the end of the article, there is a subtle call to action (a good example would be to write 50% of engaging content in the article and a link to the rest of the content can be directed to a page on the actual site), it gives the readers a great opportunity to appreciate it and the number of pageviews of the rest of the article will be ample proof of its popularity.
3) One way link in the resource section:
The author must have a link to her site in the author’s resource section. An appropriate use of anchor text with the right choice of the targeted keyword phrase provides a valuable one way link back to the author’s site. At the start of the article, the author’s name is also hyperlinked to the author’s profile where a link can be given to the owner’s site.
It is wise to desist from peppering the article with links as it diverts the user’s attention. Moreover, editorial guidelines can be flaunted and the article disallowed till the excessive number of links in the text are removed.
4) Duplicate Content Filter:
Gone are the days when an author creates an article and copies it and pastes the exact article in 10 different article directories. If done today, it is sure to invite the content dupliaction filter from all the major search engines. Google is particularly harsh in this regard. Its algorithms are also sophisticated to pick out any shades of content duplication and/or plagiarism.
If an article is submitted to say 6 different article directories, it is important that each version retains its own shade of uniqueness. If you have access to PLR articles, then merely introducing a distinct introduction and conclusion is not going to make it unique content. There should be synonyms of targeted keywords in the copy and rephrasing of the article in its entirety.
5) Is Automation the Solution?
In the above scenario, automation can be a solution. There is software which needs the human input to craft an article in its original form. Then variations of the article can be created using such software which checks for the levels of duplication in each version. Such software can be a good signpost to help contain duplication but not an ultimate solution in themselves.
There is also sfotware in the market for submitting articles to various article directories. If you are serious about mass marketing, this is a way to go. User accounts are created and at the click of a button, the article and its variations can be submitted to various directories.But this can also be counter productive.
If you build links rapidly to the tune of say hundreds of links pointing to your site overnight, you are doing so at your own peril. No human can build so many links in one day. This is a surefire way to get banned from the search engines.
6) Prediction for the future:
Just as verticals are getting popular Urbanspoon and Yelp), the day is not far off when verticals are going to pop up in article directories. At this point of time, most article directories have separate categories for various fields and articles relevant to each field are included therein. In future, one can expect to see article directories solely dedicated to cooking, gardening, dog training etc.
Depending on your situation, you can decide what suits your site best when it comes to article marketing. It is still a valuable way of gaining one way inbound links. Again, all links are not created equal. The quality of the links matter more than sheer quantity. Article marketing can be used effectively as part of the overall SEO efforts to help rank a site high on the SERPs.