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Article Marketing in the Time of Panda

If you’re an internet marketer or SEO professional, you may have had some recent sleepless nights wondering if your hard work is heading for the digital scrap yard because of Panda 3.9.

Like all the other times there’s a Panda update (if you didn’t know, Panda goes back to February 2011—here’s a pretty cool infographic Panda timeline to get you up to speed), the “experts” once again have article marketing in their crosshairs, ready to declare it “old school” and dead.

Why pick on article marketing in times like these? Because article marketing, like every other marketing tactic out there, has some shady characters that give it a bad name in some circles. And an algorithm update is a convenient time to start making predictions about who’s going to get the hammer this time from Google.

Here’s the scoop on links, article marketing, Panda, and what’s important for your content.

Google still looks for links

Yes, “social signals,” the internet marketing buzzword we’ll all soon be muttering incoherently, have some value. They will eventually count for something with the search engines. But social signals are easier to manipulate than websites, and there’s no definitive way to measure them—so don’t count on them to supplant links anytime soon. Matt Cutts, Google’s chief spam fighter, emphasized the continuing value in links at SMX last month and again at SES San Francisco last week.

We’ve been talking about Panda for over a year now. Its focus has been to penalize sites that contain thin, stolen, or duplicate content; sites with poor content; and sites with high ads-to-content ratios. Basically, Google just wants to cut the junk out of the web so they can serve users the relevant, high-value content they are looking for.

There is good article marketing and there is lazy article marketing

It would nice if people got the message that shortcuts don’t work, but someone is always going to throw up a wafer-thin website, slam a few keywords in it, and build some inbound links with spun articles. This is precisely the behavior Google is trying squash with Panda, and those who are taking these shortcuts are being punished.

With some time and effort, you can benefit from a sound article marketing strategy that supports your website’s overall content marketing strategy.

Good article marketing characteristics include:
  • Original, keyword-relevant content written by a human who is a native-language speaker in your market
  • Article partner sites that are concerned with the quality of article submissions
  • Content that has true value for the reader
Article marketing you should avoid:
  • Article spinners (taking an existing article and rewording, or “spinning,” it)
  • Article sites that have little value and run lots of ads
  • Keyword-stuffed articles
Article marketing isn’t going away

Given the comments from Matt Cutts and Google’s position on creating useful content, there is no end in sight for article marketing. The good news with Panda 3.9 and future releases is that the sub-standard marketers and black-hatters will get shut out of the game. Those marketers who produce high-value content with the consumer in mind will continue to be rewarded and see positive results.

We’re interested in your take on this subject. What’s your position on article marketing?