Article Marketing has really taken a big hit this year with the release of several Google Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. Google even went as far as updating their duplicate content policy to account for such changes.
Is article marketing dead?
Does it still work?
What is Article Marketing?
Article Marketing became popularized back in early 2004 when article directories started to appear throughout the internet. Article directories allowed writers to upload an article that could then be republished by others needing content for their web properties. Each article contained a byline (collectively known as the resource box) that contained info about the author and a link to whatever the author was referencing in that article. People needed content and writers needed distribution.
Historical Benefits of Article Marketing
1. Distribution = visibility. If you don’t have a means of distributing your message, your prospects will not find or see your message. By distributing your articles to article directories you make it easier for your message to be republished many times throughout the internet. This in turn increases your online visibility and odds of your prospects finding you online.
2. Growing your influence as an authority. Regularly publishing articles about your expertise, product or service allows people who follow your industry to start looking at you as a trusted expert and thought leader.
3. Search engine optimization. Each article that gets distributed on a website creates another backlink to the website or web page you added to the article byline. Since search engines have historically used these links to rank the authority and trust of a web page in their search index. Many took advantage of “article marketing” for seo alone.
What about the Duplicate Content Penalty?
Until recently – I would have said not to worry about a duplicate content search engine penalty. However, Google recently updated their duplicate content policy to account for cross domain.
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.
On April 24, 2012 Google rolled out a new search engine algorithm called Penguin. This new algorithm was tightly focused on cutting down web spam and over optimization. Google noted on their policy…
..in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.
Now I’m sure your wondering..
Does Article Marketing Still Work Post Penguin?
It depends on the “Still Work” context you are using.
Article marketing for SEO does not work like it did before penguin. Google has devalued these links tremendously.
Article marketing for distribution and visibility does still work and is still used by many business to increase their online footprint and reach.
Here is a screenshot of the popular article directory ezinearticles.com
Ezinearticle.com is not going away and its not going out of business. Google just decided to reset how it valued article directory links in its search ranking algorithm. Think of it like pruning spam from their search engine index.
I’m gonna paste a quote from Nicole Beckett because I think she explains it well.
Before it became a way for less-than-stellar SEO-types to cut corners, article marketing was about one thing – sharing great content with the web, so that people could find expert answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Somewhere along the way, it morphed into some kind of easy way to pile up a ton of quick and dirty backlinks.
The best way to make sure that your article marketing efforts succeed after Penguin is to make sure that you never lose sight of what article marketing was intended to do. As long as your readers are first in your mind, your article marketing strategy can never go wrong. ~ source
Google has done an Article Marketing Reboot due to abuse. When the biggest search engine in the world changes how they value a business practice. You DON’T write it off.
Personally I am excited that Google finally took action. The web was becoming littered with poorly written article spam that offered little to no value. Yes, article marketing provided search engine ranking boosts. Yes, there are still a lot of Internet marketers who still teach this practice and build and sell solutions that supposedly help make article marketing easier.
However, I don’t recommend taking part in any solution that promotes search engine ranking benefits. Write articles that make the web a better place…and offer real value on a subject. Focus your efforts on proper inbound marketing strategies like guest blogging and creating white papers.
Good compelling content = free quality backlinks that you didn’t have to build.