Last updated on August 3rd, 2013
The short answer is yes, if you’re mindful of the needs of your audience and make quality over quantity the core of your link building efforts…
In the early days of online marketing and SEO, syndicating articles through directory sites like Article Alley was an effective way of generating links and building rankings.
Over time though, whole software and online marketing tools made this task very easy – some even go as far to generate content automatically. Spinning software is another tool available that takes an article and modifies the keywords. While some phrases may be different, the piece is essentially the same.
As the Google algorithm has taken a more critical eye toward content, the effectiveness and legitimacy of this tactic has considerably waned.
The term article marketing, as seen in this video from SEOMoz, has in fact taken on quite a nasty meaning in recent years.
Because the term has been tarnished though doesn’t mean article marketing isn’t a viable strategy – that is if you do it properly and not overly rely on links from the lower quality article directory sites.
To better understand the best way to approach article marketing for link building purposes, you should first understand why the old way of looking at article marketing doesn’t work anymore.
1. Article directory sites offer low-quality links – Google’s Panda/Farmer updates in 2010-2011 dramatically reduced the value of links from article directory sites.
2. Duplicate content – Submitting the same content to multiple sites leads to duplicate content filters, rendering the links worthless
3. Readers and search engines are more discriminating – As the web has developed, so have its users, who demand more informative, easy to understand content. Realizing this, search engines work to filter out content that is blatantly link building in nature.
Therefore, writing one piece and distributing to multiple, even hundreds of sites, or using “spinning” software to make multiple keyword variations on the same piece isn’t just ineffective, it’s potentially damaging in that it will make your business appear not so reputable.
Link Building through Article Marketing in 2013 and beyond
Having the ability to build anchor-text links to the exact pages you want, when you want, is still extremely valuable. If you have a high-level page targeting a valuable keyword, you want to get as many high-quality links you can.
High-quality being the operative word of course…
Article marketing and guest posting is one of several ways to get these links. You can see some of our prior discussion on guest posting below.
Speaking of article marketing more broadly though, you can still target content to relevant sites looking for outside contributors and guest content. The best approach is to find the best sites in your niche’ and create direct relationships with them.
Some ways you can find these sites include:
1. Combine your top keywords with phrases commonly found on sites looking for guest content. These phrases include – looking for writers, guest blogger, submit an article, contribute content, write an article, and others.
If you’re an e-cigarette retailer for example, you could enter “e-cigarette” + “looking for writers” into a search to find good sites.
2. Search through DMOZ and Google directories for more authoritative, trusted sites. Any site you find in one or both of these directories have already gone through an editorial review, so you can trust them more.
3. See where other authors are publishing their content. If you’re visiting an article directory site, enter an author’s name in a Google search to see all of the sites where their work is featured.
I understand how I can find good sites to post content for link building purposes, but how do I find the time to actually write the articles, blog posts, etc. etc.?
If you’re focusing on quality over quantity, you will of course have to be able to generate the content. Software tools that automatically generate or “spin” the content are no good since the copy typically doesn’t reflect what an actual person would write.
Producing quality content does take a little bit of effort, but the benefits of thinking quality over quantity cannot be overstated.
One approach you can consider for producing content is to write an article on your target topic/keywords. Set that piece aside, and write a second piece on the same topic, without looking at your original. You can do this several times over in fact.
This approach can help you write pieces very quickly since they’re on a topic you’re already familiar with. But in order for you to make them unique, you absolutely cannot look at the prior drafts.
How about your efforts to build links through article marketing and guest posting?
Have you had to change your approach following Google’s big updates of the last couple of years?
What sort of challenges have you run into with article marketing, and link building in general?