So, what is article marketing?
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam might explain it best “…you’re writing an article and you try to include a link at the bottom and you’re hoping a bunch of other people put up copies or mirrors or duplicates of that article and that those links might flow through.”
Matt goes on to say “Typically the sorts of sites that just republish these articles are not the highest quality sites.”
With that said, does article marketing work? While content like this can be picked up by search engines, it often doesn’t actually end up ranking very highly. Most times it’s discarded completely, especially by Google.
For one, it’s generally not the kind of writing that’s going to win any awards from an actual reader. It isn’t the kind of writing that a real person is going to mention on their blog, or submit to DIGG, Facebook or Tweet about.
And it doesn’t matter what a site is about. The site could be selling Yamaha piano keyboards, Kitchen Aid Mixers, or be featuring Golden lift chair reviews, regrettably, article marketing is still being touted as a viable marketing strategy.
There are, however, five danger signs you should watch for to avoid falling into this trap.
Danger Signal #1: You have ZERO input over who publishes your article.
As a writer submitting content to an article bank, you’re hoping that someone will pick up your article, and publish it on their site. The problem is, you are given exactly zero input on who uses your words the second you hit that ‘Submit’ button.
Your article might go to a good-quality site whose in good standings with Google, or it can go to a site whose standings are not so favorable and don’t want your work associated with. You have no say in the matter.
Danger Signal #2: Your content can end up duplicated on more than one site.
Article marketing doesn’t give users a monopoly on the content they choose to use on their sites. Needless to say, search engines have retaliated against this content bloating by filtering duplicates out of their searches.
Submitting content to article banks increases the odds that your writing is going to end up duplicated across the web… and completely hidden from view by search engines.
Danger Signal #3: You use duplicate anchor text.
Since search engines operate on keywords, including the keywords people are likely to search for is important, right? Sure. The problem arises when dozens or hundreds of articles use the exact same anchor text (I.e. reclining lift chairs).
The things is, in the real world, the odds of dozens or hundreds of different people linking back to a site using identical phrasing on all of their pages are roughly non-existent.
And just like other types of duplication, the only results in search engines deliberately filtering your article out of their search results.
Danger Signal #4: You’re encouraged to let anyone link back to you.
Back when link exchanges reigned, there was no such thing as bad publicity. Anyone who linked to you was helping you out. These days are gone- now it is definitely possible for your site to be hurt by being linked to the ‘wrong’ sites.
Think of you and the people who link to you as houses in a neighborhood. Just like you wouldn’t move into a bad neighborhood, you wouldn’t want just anyone linking back to your content. The trouble is, when you submit an article to an article directory, you’re actively inviting anyone and everyone to publish your article – good neighbor or bad.
Danger Signal #5: The search engines it relies on actively discourage article marketing.
Article marketing strategies are most notorious for providing two things- providing meaningless fluff content, and duplication. Considering that search engines like Google are designed to show visitors the most relevant, informative sites pertaining to their search terms, is it really that shocking to see why they would discourage this?
Is There A Future For Article Marketing?
Google, in particular, is working to fight spam with a vengeance. Sure, article marketing sites say that they’re working to more informative, quality content. The thing is, most of them wouldn’t recognize quality if it bit them in the ass.
Matt Cutts when asked “So, should you pursue article marketing?” went on to say “I would probably lean away from that and lean more towards great content that naturally has links, some good social media marketing so that people are linking to it organically for reasons that they really love it rather than someone needs five articles to put up on their website and they just go to this article bank somewhere, grab five articles and then slap it up on their website.”
He also went on to say “So if I had to make a prophecy or forecast about how Google feels or how search engines feel about them in general, the trend that I am hearing and the sort of complaints that I am hearing are that people are not huge fans of article marketing and don’t view it as an incredible value add in terms of the content that gets added to the web.”
And agreed, to those who may say that Matt paints a panacea of how Google would like to see things done, but let’s face it–when was the last time you had to click through to page two of the Google results to find what you we’re looking for?
Do you remember AltaVista, WebCrawler and Excite served up the search results? Google has come a long, long way.
Let’s face it, article marketing floods the Google’s results with millions of cheap, low-quality fluff pieces. Given Google’s attitude toward this type of content, does ticking them off sound like a viable marketing strategy to you?
Is Article Marketing Effective?
It was effective, at one time. With enhanced standards from search engines, however, there is no reason to believe that this practice is an effective, sustainable marketing strategy today.
I would love to hear your comments.
James Martell discovered the lucrative world of affiliate marketing in 1999. He is a self-taught Internet entrepreneur and a leading expert in affiliate marketing, outsourcing and SEO. James is the host of the “Affiliate Buzz”, the first and longest running affiliate marketing podcast. James is the host of the “Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp”, a first rate affiliate marketing training series well known for turning affiliate newbies into success stories. James resides in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada with Arlene and their four children. You’ll receive actionable tips, strategies and money making advice directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his weekly Affiliate Buzz podcast by email, RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow James on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did! 😉