Is Article Marketing Still a Viable Way to Generate Traffic to Your Site?
Article marketing has long been a popular way to generate backlinks to your website and, in doing so, increase your search engine ranking and the amount of traffic that your site receives. In the last few years, however, Google has introduced various updates to its algorithms which have changed the way in which it delivers results. The Google Penguin update made by far the biggest impact on many aspects of SEO, including article marketing.
Many of the article directories, used primarily by article marketers for posting their content, suffered considerably from Google's latest updates. Once popular sites such as ezinearticles.com, articlesbase.com and numerous others were hit hard by the Google Penguin update and, as a result, rarely appear much in search results. For this reason, many Internet entrepreneurs are asking themselves if article marketing it still a viable way of generating traffic.
How Article Marketing Works
Article marketing is a simple enough concept. One of the ways in which Google ranks websites is by the number of inbound links coming to them. Links from already successful and popular websites hold more weight than those from lesser known sites. Article marketing is all about writing short articles, typically 400-500 words, and publishing them on online article directories. These articles should contain backlinks to your website. Not many people actually read these articles – the primary reason for their existence is for the search engines. Because of this, many such articles, unsurprisingly, are poorly written and stuffed with keywords.
The Viability of Article Marketing Today
A few years ago, it was common to churn out hundreds of hastily written articles of poor quality and then plaster them all over the Internet. In order to cut down on the enormous amount of work required, many people would even use spinning software which generates hundreds of 'unique' articles from a single article containing nested synonyms for various words and phrases. The results, hardly surprisingly, were very low quality articles in huge numbers.
Nowadays, Google places a much greater emphasis on quality, authoritative content and tends to heavily penalize content which is written entirely with SEO in mind. The once popular article directories have largely vanished several pages back in the search results and links coming from them to your website carry nothing like as much weight as they once did. When you consider the amount of time involved in writing such a large number of articles, its viability as an SEO tactic comes into question. There are, after all, far more productive and useful ways in which you could be spending time marketing your site. This is particularly the case with the huge rise of social media marketing and the emphasis on the originality and quality of content.
To conclude the viability of article marketing in 2013 and beyond, the short answer is that the traditional form of article marketing is no longer viable. It offers a very poor return on your investment in terms of the amount of time required to write and submit all of the articles.
Alternatives to Traditional Article Marketing
Rather than producing huge amounts of junk content for the never-ending content mill that is traditional article marketing, it is much more productive to spend your time writing quality content for your website. This way, you get to write a great deal less while providing your site with the quality, original content that human beings actually want to read. Having a network of blogs and other websites will also help to build up your online presence. Another very viable possibility is guest blogging. Quality content should be placed on quality blogs and other websites – it does not belong among the spam which dominates many of the once famous (or infamous) article marketing directories.