Article Marketing in a Post-Panda/Penguin Universe
Article marketing is the process of creating articles relevant to your business and publishing them on different sites around the Internet and linking back to your site. At one time, it was a staple of SEO for most webmasters and SEO professionals. Many people became article-marketing masters, honing their ability to rank sites and drive tons of traffic with this tool.
Many of the sites people used to publish these kinds of articles were huge. You could easily achieve a high ranking for your article in search results with the help of one of these websites. Some were article directories like Ezine Articles and Go Articles; others were web 2.0 sites like Squidoo and Hubpages.
The trick to generating traffic and winning high rankings lay in the call to action — the point at which you persuaded readers to click through to your site from the article.
Article marketing had a long and hearty heyday. But its magic disappeared when Panda popped into the picture. Overnight, many of these mammoth sites dropped like bombs from a C-130 gunship. Thousands of article-marketing masters went into a state of panic, because they relied heavily on the articles they published to deliver traffic and revenue.
Some of them spent lots of time and money to produce helpful content that actually provided the reader with what they were searching for. But many other not-so-honest people had been gaming the system for a long time.
They would mass-produce articles that all said the same thing, just presented with different wording. They would use software and services to “spin” their content, creating thousands of articles that were barely readable — let alone helpful in any way. So Google performed an invaluable service by shutting them out.
It appeared that using this kind of site to publish your content wasn’t going to work anymore. That’s what I believed. Sure, if you had an established following and provided good content, then it was probably still worth it.
But spending tons of time working on helpful content to publish on a site where it would rarely if ever be seen? No thank you. You’re much better off publishing it on your own site and sharing it from there.
But Wait a Minute …
While doing research for a recent article, I came across several Squidoo pages and “hubs” that were ranking right up among the top five. Of course, I forgot to take note of what they were ranking for. I just know I had seen them and it kind of surprised me.
So I decided to go to these sites and look around. All I did was browse some titles and then I Googled terms related to (or included in) those article titles. I managed to find several examples.
- “How to make your own chokers” — If you Google this, you’ll see there’s a result on the first page from Hub Pages. If you sell homemade jewelry, then this might have been something suitable for you to publish. On the one hand, visitors are likely to be into homemade jewelry. On the other, they’re interested in doing it themselves. If they’re interested in doing it themselves, I think there’s still a good chance they’d “stumble” upon yours and possibly buy.
- A tattoo artist or someone who owns a tattoo shop could be driving traffic with something like “Crown tattoo designs.” This is another Hub Pages page that ranks high.
- For a beauty blogger or someone selling beauty products, “Get rid of oily skin” has a Squidoo page ranking on the first page of Google.
Two of the three examples above have a lot of content on their pages. They also have attracted a considerable number of reader comments.
So should you invest time in web 2.0 properties like this? If you’re going to take the time to create helpful ones that are maintained and updated, then it probably wouldn’t hurt.
But don’t buy into mass-creating web 2.0 properties with spammy content that’s created and then forgotten. Don’t buy into “seo services” that will build you an army of web 2.0 properties purely for the backlinks.
Remember that you’re there to find and engage potential customers. If you give them what they’re looking for, there’s a good chance they’ll appreciate that and remember you … and click through to your site.
First and foremost, concentrate on developing content for your own site. Make sure you have good content, an effective content strategy, and your site is optimized. Once that’s all good to go, then sure, diversify your traffic and backlink sources by developing a few quality web 2.0 properties.
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