Article marketing is often suggested by “how to get traffic” courses as being a good way to get traffic, but is it really? And how much has changed from the days when apparently it was possible to improve SERPs and traffic by spinning crappy articles all over the place?
What is article marketing?
Article Marketing is a form of advertising where website owners write articles to be published on other sites. They do this to increase awareness of their product or their expertise in the niche. It’s done partly to improve SERP ranking and make the search engines think your site has extra authority, and partly with the aim of getting more traffic as a result of website visitors being interested in the article itself and clicking through to your site for more information.
How is it done?
You find article directories and post your article(s) on there. EzineArticles is probably the biggest and best known, and even that took a hammering from Panda for being a content “farm”, with loads of duplicate content to be grown and spread around. Anyway, a lot of what is on there is very low quality so it might not be a great idea to get your site associated with such a place.
If you do decide to go ahead and post content on article directories, note their rules before doing do. Some allow duplicated content and some don’t. Some not only don’t like dupe content, they don’t even want spun content. Some also manually review your articles before approving them for publication and some will accept just about any old rubbish.
If you think you might be pursuing an article marketing strategy, then you can find lists of article directories easily via your favourite search engine. But why bother? Article marketing is a bit old hat these days, isn’t it?
Why do it?
Maybe about a decade ago, this kind of stuff worked. You posted your spun articles or duplicated content all over the Internet, and by generating spam in this way, you gamed the search engines into thinking your site was useful and it rose in the SERP. (“It must be useful! Just look at all the other sites which link to it.”) Thus. in ye olden days, people went on link building frenzies. In fact some still do. That’s why if you run any kind of site that allows comments, then you’ll be plagued by people making useless comments in the hope of getting a link. (But that’s another story).
Meanwhile, the world has changed and many argue that article marketing no longer works as it once did. Oh, yes, there are still plenty of people who talk in terms of strategies to cope with or recover from Panda or Penguin, but all that stuff is old. The strategies don’t work any more, even if they’re tweaked a little, so why cling to them? It’s time for new strategies.
And the “new” strategies aren’t even new. Some people have been doing them and talking about them for years. That’s how new the changes are. It’s all about building good content, creating relationships, building traffic rather than links, and building synergies with others.
So, the next time you see someone recommending article marketing as a good way of building traffic, then ask them what exactly they mean by it and if they’re recommending the old ways of flooding every site you can find with your content just so you can get more links. Of course, chances are they’ll tell you they’re not because their methods have been updated for the latest Google changes. But that’s still a tweak to the old methods rather than a new approach.
Now, don’t give up hope on the whole thing, because there are still some ways to gain benefit by getting your articles on other people’s sites. I’ll be going into them individually in more detail soon. Meanwhile, remember that the emphasis should be on quality, not quantity.