Type article marketing in Google and you will come across all sorts of opinions and blogs, a lot of them claiming, it’s time to cremate the strategy, post an obituary and move on. But has it really stopped breathing and become dead to the world of SEO? The answer depends on what you consider article marketing.
What is Article Marketing?
Unfortunately, article marketing is a much-abused word in SEO, consequently, the strategy has come to be associated with, creating low-grade keyword focused (and often badly spun) content and posting the same on article directories that accept everything and anything.
If that’s your definition of article marketing, then you might as well call for its funeral.
However, if you consider article marketing as creating relevant and useful content meant for humans and not search engines, then the strategy can still prove to be quite effective, provided you practice it right and do not make it the focus of your SEO campaign.
Why is Article Marketing Being Frowned Upon?
For one, it is a fact that article marketing through article directories alone is no longer as powerful as it used to be. Matt Cutts, in a March 2011 video also stated that he did not consider it to be a great SEO strategy.
However, what a majority did not pay attention to was the fact that he then also went on to describe what he considered ‘article marketing’.
He clearly distinguished between low quality content on low-grade websites, and actual relevant content that gets socially shared. Think of it logically, where would Google or, any other search engine be without relevant content on the Internet?
The second big issue with ‘article marketing’ came up when people started getting ‘unnatural link’ mails in their Google webmaster accounts. A lot of webmasters complained that they got these mails because they posted articles to the likes of Ezinearticles, Squidoo, etc.
The real problems in these cases was not so much with the directories, (if it were these directories would have been de-indexed by now, just like Build My rank), but:
- The fact that people used the same exact match anchor text to point to their homepage over and over again.
- The anchor text was often completely un-related to the topic of the article.
So, the real culprit has not been article-marketing, but the way it has been used.
In fact despite the hue and cry about article directories, you will notice that relevant articles posted on several of these directories still figure among the top Google results.
Article Directory Results In Google
Having said that, it’s also fact that today search results for content are dominated by Niche websites and blogs.
What Is Effective Article Marketing?
The first thing that you must understand is that article marketing is not only ‘article directory marketing’. If you post to a low quality article directory and your content is poorly written, it may get indexed, but it won’t get ranked anywhere, so forget about generating traffic through it. In terms of backlink value too, the links that you get from article directories have lesser value than they used to. Posting to niche websites and blogs will get you better ROI.
You also have to remember that these links should not have exact match anchor texts, or you may risk receiving the dreaded ‘unnatural links’ mails.
So, to put it simply, effective article marketing today consists of:
- Creating content that is relevant, informative and good enough to be socially bookmarked and shared.
- Focusing more on article/content marketing than article directory marketing. This means getting your content published on reputed websites and not just a few article directories (though posting a few well written, socially sharable articles on handpicked humanly edited directories is still not a bad idea.)
- Make 100% sure that you diversify you anchor text, i.e., you use different versions of your keyword (including synonyms), your website/business name as well as non-branded keywords like, ‘click here’, ‘this website’, etc.
- Use naked links as well.
- Don’t post too many links to your homepage, opt for deep linking instead, i.e. directing links to different but relevant pages of your website. For example, if you write a piece on ‘ Best vacation destinations for the summer’, instead of pointing a link to your home page, direct it to the page consisting of summer packages or the ‘holiday search page’.
In the end…
Yes, article (or content marketing) is alive. However, you must use it in tandem with on-site SEO strategies as well as social media marketing. On its own the strategy will not give you the kind of SEO benefits it used to.
See you at the top!