Article marketing remains a popular way to bring traffic and links to a site. However, it is not as easy as it once was and requires the right strategy. When done properly, it is still a cost effective method of marketing that anyone can use.
Why links are needed
There are many factors that determine which sites come up on the top page of Google, and which get buried way in the back. Although the way search engines rank sites it changing and it no longer just a matter of building as many links as possible, links still do matter a great deal. Search engines look at links to a site as votes as to the quality of its content. Those sites with the most votes for certain keywords often win and reach the top of search engine results.
The basics article marketing
There are various websites out there that consist of almost entirely of articles written by people who are not connected to the site in any way. In exchange for the content, the article website will allow the writer to place at least one link back to a site of their choice with the article. This link can provide both SEO (search engine optimization) benefits and bring visitors directly to the site if they click on the link.
Dofollow and nofollow article directories
For a link to give any SEO benefits, it needs to be dofollow. If the link is nofollow, the link will not count as a vote in the eyes of search engines. Those who want more than just direct traffic from their articles need to check to see what kind of links the directory gives.
Writing for article directories
When writing for an article directory, one should give the articles as much care as they would do for articles on their own sites. Create articles that are informative and useful. By writing valuable content, the article will attract more attention and more visitors. In time, good articles will begin to rank higher in search engines and rise in search engine rankings. This will make the links from these articles count for more.
Length of articles
Articles need to be long enough to contain a lot of useful information but not so long that the writer spends too much time on them. Generally, articles should be 500 words or more (many directories will not accept articles shorter than that), and some marketers recommend 800 words or more. Every article needs to strike a balance of being as useful as possible while not taking too much time to write.
Types of articles to write
Article directories cover just about every topic out there. For best results, the articles should be related as closely to the theme of the site as possible. If the article is not related, the article directory may not accept it. Furthermore, when the content is unrelated, it will have less value as a link in the eyes of the search engines. Finally, those who read the articles are much more likely to click on the links when the topics are similar.
Keep in mind that people scan articles much more quickly when reading on the internet than they would when reading from other sources. This makes it a good idea to divide the article into sections with subtitles, lists and the like for easy scanning and reference whenever possible.
Whatever an article is written for, it will have the best chance of success if it is informative, humorous, controversial or engages the reader in some other way.
Another benefit, and perhaps the most important one, of article submissions is that others may republish the articles they like on their own sites. When this is done properly and the link is included, it provides additional links back to the site the article was written for. Articles that are well written have a much higher change of being republished, and this is sometimes done by sites that attract a lot of visitors. When this happens, a single article can bring in a considerable amount of traffic.
Most directories will allow two or more back links. For best results, put the link within the article if the directory permits and always use anchor text that includes the targeted keywords. At the same time, be careful to constantly vary the links and anchor text. Most links should point to inner pages of a site and not just to the top page.
Article submission software
Although it is not a good idea to mass submit every article, article submission software can be used to submit articles to many sites for increased exposure. It also can come in handy to help organize and automate the submission process. When this is done, the article should be “spun” so that different directors receive unique versions of the article.
Another option is to use article submission services to submit articles to many more directories and blogs. These services will automate the entire process, for those willing to pay a recurring fee.
As the value of links from the less popular directories is not what it used to be, many article marketers are now concentrating more on a select number of directories rather than using mass submissions.
Other writing tips
Remember that the article needs to attract attention quickly so a catchy title can really help. When practical, the article should lead the reader into clicking on the link.
Top article directories is a good place to get started with good sites for article marketing. It is probably a good idea to use at least a few directories to get a variety of links from different sources (see article marketing mistakes for more guidance on what to avoid and do). Article marketing is a great tool for SEO and traffic and should be used by every webmaster working to increase exposure to their sites.