Well, unfortunately, there's no arguing that article marketing isn't nearly as effective as it used to be a couple of years back but that doesn't mean you should ignore it - especially if you take the time and effort to do it right.
What is Article Marketing?Article marketing is simply the process of writing and distributing well written (hopefully) and informative (again, hopefully) articles and then distributing them to various article directories around the internet. In return for your award winning content and fascinating insight into whatever your chosen subject is, these websites will allow you to place a back link to your own website. They get content for free, you get links which help your search engine rankings and traffic from the sites themselves. Everybody wins - right?
The problem is that, like so many good ideas, article marketing was abused to hell and it soon lost a lot of its clout. Savvy marketers and SEO guys soon realised that most article directories didn't even monitor the content that was being placed on them and hardly any had any form of human moderation This meant that, providing you could automate the process you could get thousands or even million of backlinks to your site very cheaply and easily. Cue the spam fest!
It wasn't long before software like Article Marketing Robot automated the process to such a degree that thousands of articles could be spewed out at the touch of a button and you could get literally tens of thousands of backlinks with almost no effort at all. And it worked; at least for a while.
However, Google soon caught on and gradually took steps to reduce value of these kinds of links - and quite right too. Some of the major article directories such as ezinearticles.com got so badly slapped that as much as 70% of their traffic dried up overnight.
Obviously they had to take action and really tighten up their quality control standards. The good ones have done this and have actually, for the most part, re-established quite a bit of their authority and SEO value.
Article Marketing In 2013So, what has this all got to do with me, I hear you ask! Well, you can still buy software that will flood the net with copies of your articles, but in 2013 - post Panda/Penguin - a link building exercise like that will probably (almost certainly in fact) get your site penalized and put your rankings in the dustbin.
The good news is, though, if you are prepared to spend the time to do it right, then article - or more correctly content - marketing still works very well - and is still relatively cheap to do.
So, here are my top 7 methods to distribute your content and get maximum exposure and SEO benefit from it.
1. Write quality content. This should be obvious. Stop generating content simply to get backlinks, and write content that real humans will find interesting. If your spelling an grammar aren't that good then hire a writer, or get a copy of Word! There's really no excuse, given the tools and services available today, for producing poorly written content.
2. Write unique content. Sure, use other peoples content as research, but re-write it and add you own twist. No one likes a cheat and a thief, so don't just lift content straight from the web and re-post it. Its not moral and, in any case, it wont help your SEO efforts and may even damage them.
3. Only post to good quality directories. Most auto-posting software posts to directories based on a few php scripts such as article beach or article dashboard and, when you take a look at sites built with these scripts, the majority of them are simply full of low quality rubbish and offer very little value in terms of traffic or back linking power. Personally, I stick with my 'big 5' of
There are lots of other good ones, but you can find a complete list on my website here.
4. Write compelling titles. The best article directories are massive sites with millions of documents all vying for attention. So make your stand out with a snappy title. Don't just write '10 slimming tips', instead, why not try '10 secret killer methods that guarantee a slimmer you'. This will encourage more people to click on your article and read it and should lead to more traffic to your site.
5. Turn your article into a PDF file. You can use software like Alientools or web services like http://www.anything2pdf.com/ which is free. You can then distribute it to good quality sites such as scribd.com
6. Turn your article into a Kindle publication. Kindle publishing is red-hot right now and is a great way to get your content in front of millions of people. Give it away for free on Barnes & noble or Amazon to a generate huge amount of interest, or sell it for a small sum and make some money.
7. Turn your article into an e-book and distribute it. You wont get backlinks from this method - at least not from the content itself - but if its a good book then it will be shared and will bring you traffic. If you're a marketer, you can also embed affiliate links and even generate some commission from your readers.
Article marketing is certainly not dead, but it has evolved. The most commonly used phrase in online marketing and SEO these days seems to be 'Content is King' - and there's good reason for that. Because its true!
Write good quality content, distribute it to the right places and above all, don't take any shortcuts and you will be rewarded with traffic, better rankings and, hopefully, more sales.
Thank you for reading. My name is Dave Simpson and I'm an independent SEO consultant working in Aberdeen, Scotland. You can read about my range of content generation and distribution services on my website at www.graniteseo.com