Article marketing used to be an effective way of promoting websites until this year, when the Google Panda update has punished some of the biggest article directories, diminishing their rankings and thus making them lose a lot of traffic. For many SEO consultants, this was a clear sign that article marketing is dead, but nothing could be farther away from the truth.
But how does article marketing work? The website owner (you) writes a good quality article, including a resource box that links to his or her website, and then it submits it to various article directories; some of them will accept the article, while others will reject it. If your article is accepted, it will be published and (as a consequence) two wonderful things will happen:
Your article can be read by hundreds or even thousands of people that are visiting the article directories, generating a consistent stream of visitors to your website. Think about it for a second: EzineArticles has about 5 million visitors each day; would it be so difficult to have 0.1% of them read your fantastic (and maybe controversial) article?
Wonderful thing number two: your article might be republished by other webmasters, who decide that your content is so great that they have to put it on their websites, keeping the links from the article that point to your website intact (this is the only legal way of republishing your article). As you can probably guess, this results in even more visitors to your website and better rankings for the targeted keywords.
Now let’s imagine that instead of writing an article per month, you decide to write one or two per week; this way you will increase your website traffic significantly. I am quite busy working for my monthly SEO services clients, but I still have the time to write a few articles per month; each time I’m posting a new article, the website traffic grows with about 300… 400%.
You’ll laugh, but I heard some SEO consultants saying that article marketing is now a black hat technique – that is one of the biggest mistakes ever! Creating great content and having it syndicated everywhere on the internet was always Google’s formula for SEO success, and this rule is more effective than ever after the Google Panda update.
On the other hand, I have to admit that article marketing is a cheap way of producing a large quantity of backlinks, so it was abused by many SEO specialists. They used to set up hundreds of accounts at various article directories, producing crappy 200… 300 words articles and then blasting them all over the place. Some of the article directories used to auto-approve content, so these SEO consultants were getting hundreds of links pretty much on autopilot.
Who was reading those crappy articles? Nobody! Who wanted to reuse those articles, linking back to the article author? You are right, nobody wanted to do that. Google realized that more and more low quality articles were showing up on the first search results page, so it implemented the Panda algorithm to fix that.
However, getting traffic and better rankings for your website by writing quality articles is more effective than ever, considering the fact that you’ve got much less competition today, since many people stopped using article marketing for good after the Panda update.
So what are some of the advanced article marketing strategies that you can use? First of all, make sure to create high quality content; it is always better to write a great article per week instead of putting together a poorly written article each day. Well, if you can’t write great content you can always hire somebody else that does this for a living.
Google itself is looking for quality content these days and even though we’re probably a few years away from the moment when Google’s software will be able to determine the quality of your content, it’s very easy for their bot to count the number of shares, retweets, mentions, etc that your content is getting, which is pretty much the same thing with measuring content quality, don’t you think?
What makes an article great? Start by making sure that it provides original information, helping solve other people’s problems or at least entertaining them (making them mad is an alternative, but I wouldn’t go in that direction). If you only plan to write 2 or 3 paragraphs, then it’s better to stop and do your research, because Google loves longer articles – and so do your readers, if you offer them high quality information. Finally, take all the precautions to ensure that your article doesn’t have any factual errors, spelling errors, etc.
I wrote before about the importance of picking a great headline for your articles in my Blogging for business 101 article a few months ago; nothing has changed since then. You might have written a quality article, but it will not be read if its title doesn’t attract the readers’ attention. I gave a few suggestions in that article, but you can also learn how to craft a powerful headline by studying the most popular articles on EzineArticles, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.
OK, so now you’ve got a great article and a killer headline; you are also going to need a great resource box, a paragraph that gives the readers some information about you / your company and (very important) includes one or more links that point to your website – the channels through which you can receive website visitors, turning some of them into friends and / or customers.
I’ve seen hundreds of resource boxes until now and let me tell you from the very beginning that most of them are poorly constructed, giving the article reader information that he or she doesn’t want to read, along the lines of “Jimmy Johannes is happily married and a father of two bright children. When he doesn’t write articles, he likes to take long walks with his dog Skippy…” – who is interested in reading that?
Your resource box should provide fantastic value for the readers, making them want to click through to your website because you’ve promised to offer them so much more value there! As an example, if your great article was discussing “3 Easy steps to lose weight in a week”, your resource box should mention that you’ve got a free “101 recipes that help you lose fat” which can be downloaded at your website.
Article marketing continues to work fine for SEO purposes, so don’t forget to include a link that contains your targeted keyword as anchor text (“lose fat” would be good as anchor text in my previous example). Also, make sure to surround the link with text – don’t put it at the very end, the way that most people do it.
If your articles offer quality information you will be perceived as an authority in your industry and you might be invited to guest blog for authority sites; you can prepare for that moment (and also get a few more ideas about this topic) by reading my How to become a Guest Blogger article.