Last month at Pubcon the question was asked: “What about article marketing for SEO?” This was met with silence in the room. Someone had uttered the dirty little two-word phrase that everyone had either forgotten about or didn’t want to talk about since it was bombarded a few years ago.
The responses from the SEO experts on the panel varied from “Bad idea” to “I’m not a fan, but I have seen it work as recently as last week,” to “Sure, use it as one of your SEO tactics”. So what is an SEO professional to do based on this usual “I can’t really say anything specific” response?
The reality of this area is that it was desecrated a few years back with bad SEO tactics, article spinning, and affiliates gone mad. Back then the space was littered with international sites all vying to get paid via AdSense and accepting anything that was in English. This has all changed.
The article space has changed drastically with self-policing and Google Darwinism. Google Darwinism is when Google makes a change to their algorithm and you either change with it or die. In many cases sites such as Dixads.com and Freeclon.com have died. They died a quick death, either putting their sites up for sale or getting copyright infringement notices. Well, these sites were awful anyway. Thanks, Google.
On the other side of the article site spectrum, some article sites that actually had a business and were trying to provide value on the web were working to maybe become the next Demand Media. They were in a war room, revamping their sites and purging bad articles that had seeped onto their sites over the previous years. The outcome was a renewed and revamped space that helped the web with original, quality content made for the human eye.
The space today is very different because article sites now have filters on their sites to keep spam out.
It is very different because the sites actually review the content that’s submitted.
It is very different because they reward those who submit often and submit quality.
It is very different because these sites actually care about their readers and their authors.
It is very different because now, as it once was, great content creation and distribution on article sites is rewarded in SEO.
We believe article marketing is not the be-all and end-all of SEO. In fact, we say the opposite. Article marketing is a starting point that gets a rally going, like a single in baseball terms. It helps you get in the game but it is only part of a winning strategy. To win you need to diversify your off-page SEO portfolio with directories, guest blogging, press releases, PDF content, social bookmarking, social buzz, and other tactics to show Google that you are relevant in the space.
We understand the hesitation by the panel to give definitive answers on article marketing because answers can be taken out of context, but we also know that if you were to ask 20 people at this very same conference (which we did) about article marketing, they all would say, “Yes, it has a place, just don’t muck it up with bad content.”