Article marketing has been one of the foundations of link building ever since I got started in SEO. However, since sites like Ezinearticles and Suite 101 have taken a huge loss in ranking and traffic as a result of the panda update, should article marketing still be a part of your overall strategy? We need to take a step back and look at the big picture to find the answer …
While many people will debate this, I don’t believe sites like Ezinearticles were passing much link equity for quite some time. The links acted more like pointers and helped with discovery. The pages themselves could accumulate trust/authority/pagerank, but they weren’t transferring much of that value to the website linked to in the bio paragraph.
Secondly, if the article was republished somewhere else, it was most likely treated as duplicate content. Ezinearticles had more trust than the almost any other site republishing the article, so they were given credit as the original content “owner”. The real value from Ezinearticles was finding people who were interested in taking your content and publishing it in exchange for a link, then tracking the competition in the space to see what other link building sources/methods they were using.
So should article marketing still be a part of your strategy? Yes–just a much less important one. First, you need to be honest about the quality of the articles you submitted. Chances are good that the $3 articles with 250 words that read like it was written by an ESL student working the night shift at an all night convenience store while his boss wasn’t around isn’t worth spending time/money on anymore. Most article directories have raised the bar for quality while trying to get back in Google’s good graces. So, if you are going to use article directories, you will need to send them higher quality content. Unless you are a brand new website, I wouldn’t create more than 15-20 articles a year: the ROI just isn’t there anymore. Keep in mind that you will have to point links at your articles from a variety of sources if you want them to have maximum effect.
If you are doing any ORM work, article marketing is still viable. Get the person/company name in the title, point a few links, and, unless you are competing against major sources, you should be good to go.
Your link building activities should never be dominated by just one tactic.You need to have a blend/mixture for maximum effectiveness. If you focus on just one technique, you run the ris:k of losing all your rankings if that tactic gets devalued.
So what are the takeaways from this post
- Article marketing should still be part of your overall marketing strategy–just a less important one.
- Bring the quality of your articles up to good or better.
- Submit to 3-4 article directories, not just one.
- Submit 15-20 articles per year.
- Point links directly at your articles from your website and other sources.
- Don’t expect a huge transfer of link equity. Think of it as a “fresh pointer”.
- For ORM, article marketing can be used much more aggressively.