Have You Been Wasting Money On Article Marketing?
Article marketing has turned out to be mostly a waste of money. It's not because publishing articles is bad SEO. The problem is in the way it's been done. When you explain to the Internet marketing world that building backlinks is as easy as writing and submitting articles, there will inevitably be someone who hires a code monkey to write a program to automate it.
This kind of thing ripples throughout the SEO world and eventually everyone is automating their article submissions. It's not that these guys really want to flood the Internet with high-quality content. They want to rank for a specific keyword. The result is a search engine filled with low-quality garbage. At best, you might see mediocre content.
With the advent of article spinning software, SEOs started pushing clients to create one article, and then spin it over and over again. Some of these software programs were integrated with an article submission feature. Some of these programs weren't even desktop programs. They were entire sites with membership fees that promised never-ending updates and unlimited submissions to article directories for one fixed monthly price.
You're probably aware of those kinds of sites. If you're not, the king of spin is Unique Article Wizard (http://www.uniquearticlewizard.com/). Check them out, but don't bother signing up for the service. It's really surprising that they're still around. Why not "test the waters" with these kinds of programs? Well, you can, but you could end up suffering the wrath of Google or Yahoo.
According to Search Engine Land's Matt McGee, even Yahoo with its Associated Content (farm) has recently deleted over 75,000 articles from its article directory. Ouch. Other sites are officially on the outs with Google. Take EzineArticles, for example. SEO company Sistrix will provide you with a list of the 331 domains that were affected by Google's Panda tweak this year. The article directory, "EzineArticles," saw a 71 percent loss in rankings for keywords.
This means that, given all of the keywords that the site ranked for, the site lost 130,231 positions in Google's search engine. That's quite a hit. You have to believe that that was a direct result of duplicate content issues and a clear signal that Google is serious about cleaning out its search engine.
Other, similar, article directories suffered a similar fate. Associated Content suffered a loss of 75 percent or 162,917 keywords. Do you love Hubpages? Lots of SEO people do. They lost 102,820 keywords, or 67 percent of their rankings. Buzzle, MerchantCircle, WiseGeek, Suite101, and Articlesbase were also all big losers. Mahalo suffered a 71 percent loss in keyword rankings. That amounts to just 24,135 keywords for them. That means Mahalo's site, which was apparently somewhat small in relation to the other sites, got even smaller.
Since being hit, some sites have acknowledged the issue and are trying to resolve the problem by instituting editorial guidelines or strengthening existing guidelines. It doesn't really matter in the long-run though. These sites are clearly designed for one thing: to give backlinks to other sites. Sure, they hide behind the idea of delivering great content to users. Really, though, when is the last time you hopped onto Associated Content because you wanted to learn something new about a particular subject and actually acted on the advice.
If you're looking for accurate information, you might start your search there, but you're ultimately going to wind up on a site that is authored by a professional on the subject you're reading about. You're not going to get the information you want or are looking for from a generic article directory, and this is what makes them mostly worthless. Yes, you can get a backlink from them. However, as you can see, that backlink is probably not going to be worth much as Google continues to let Panda do its thing to clean up the Internet.