Search Engine Optimization September 10th, 2012
If you’ve been following the discussions of webmasters across the net, recent and ongoing changes to Google’s algorithm have been altering the rules of good SEO. With Google holding anywhere between 60 and 70 percent of the market share in today’s economy, it’s understandable why changes in how they rank and measure content have a direct impact on a marketer’s bottom lines and in turn on their strategies.
Two or three years ago, several techniques were recommended over and over again as the heart of a good SEO strategy: on page factors, content quality and frequency of updates, and building links through a variety of tactics like social bookmarking, blog commenting, and article marketing. The last one, article marketing, is interesting because it brings together several diverse elements of SEO.
How to Deal with the Duplicate Content Penalty
Article marketing is essentially the practice of writing articles, usually in the 500+ word range, related to your topic and then uploading them to article directories. In exchange for providing the content, you get a link or two back to a site of your choice, either as anchor text in the article or in the author box. As a byproduct you might also get some traffic back to your site if actual humans searched the directory for topic on your subject and followed your links.
Where article marketing starts to fall apart is when it’s abused. This abuse can come in the form of non-unique content (submitting the same article to dozens of directories), in poor quality content often written by non-English speakers or spun beyond coherency, content that delivers no actual valuable information, and no inherent sense of connection between the article content and the purpose/theme of the directory. The concept got further abused with paid blog networks that distributed micro-articles (think 100 or 200 word blurbs) across the web to sites that they owned to quickly flush a site with links.
In this SEO context, Google responded with the Panda (which was about promoting quality content) and Penguin updates (which was about recognizing and devaluing the impact of unnatural link profiles). So the question is, in 2012, is article marketing still a good bet?
Yes and no. Gone are days where spending hundreds of dollars to belong to low quality blog networks that syndicate your content makes sense. Not only is the money wasted, but you might actually be damaging your site’s link profile in a way that causes you to get delisted or to drop in the rankings. Gone are the days when you should be paying a $2 per hour VA (virtual assistant) to write as many short blog posts as possible and blast them across the internet.
Guest posting is actually quickly becoming the newest form of article marketing. Because guest posting relates specifically to adding content to another person’s blog, expect to have to conform to any guidelines that they might have. Quality is an issue. But guest posting is also a great way to gain high value links that look natural, while also increasing traffic and exposure for your brand.
To find guest posting opportunities, search for blogs in your space plus the term “guest posting.” You can also consider using services like MyBlogGuest.com, which connects writers and website owners in specific niches looking for new opportunities.