Google Panda And The Death of Article Marketing">10 comments
We are a Dehli-NCR based search engine optimization company…… blah blah blah…..article submission…. blah blah blah…
I always chuckle a bit before I mark these as spam, since I run a search engine optimization company. I mean, did you at least look at my website?
The truth is, article marketing has become a popular way for many people, especially small businesses to build links without too much effort. For those of you unfamiliar with the practice, article marketing involves writing articles, which you may or may not publish on your own website, and submitting them to a whole bunch of article directories. Once your article is published, the content becomes searchable, and usually includes a link to the writer’s website.
Many people who do small business SEO (and not just from overseas) have long suggested that this become a core part of a link building strategy. I was never a huge fan of this tactic because the article sites are usually the ones who benefit the most. After all, they get free content.
Some larger companies have jumped on this in recent years, creating sites loaded with their own content. Some of the better known ones are eHow, wikiHow and Suite101. The parent companies (AOL, Demand Media) either create the content themselves as cheaply as they can or they give writers the incentive of sharing a portion of the advertising revenue generated from their articles.
The ultimate result was a number of sites with load of very thin content that managed to achieve pretty good search rankings. Although sites like these were a great source of revenue for Google, they became a double-edged sword, since the content was usually very poor. Google shot to success after it’s launch in 1998 because it was able to quickly provide high quality, relevant search results to its users. It continued to improve over time becoming the the major player in search globally, while constantly updating its algorithms to fight spam. With the rise of article directories and so called “content farms” like eHow, Google found itself caught between its core value of providing great results and the revenue these sites generated.
One of the major factors that has forced Google to update its index (the “Panda” or “Farmer” update) was the small and amazing new search engine Blekko. Blekko allows users to limit their search results to certain types of results (say, universities or newspapers) and even create their own personal index of good sites that others can share.
Google updated its index at the end of February and has just recently made it possible for users to remove sites from their own search results.
The net result is that most article directories taken a major hit in their search results, and seen a corresponding decrease in traffic.
You can see that there is a massive decrease in the number of keywords that these (and other) article directories ranked for. The take home lesson here is that plain old article marketing is pretty much finished. Sure, these sites will still rank for some more obscure or niche search terms, but if you’re creating content for that niche, own the content. Publish it on your blog, then promote it on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and other sites where people can find and share links to your site.
Interestingly, one of the biggest content farms, eHow, wasn’t seriously affected by the Panda update. eHow has a slick, modern look, with an advertising layout similar to many magazine sites, rather than the low-fi look of many article directories. This new breed of site might be a good way to distribute content but they’re unlikely to be a good source of link juice.