Banner

Follow Along

RSS Feed Join Us on Twitter On Facebook

Get Engaged

Banner

Featured Article

Digital Marketing Insights; Integrated SEO 2013Digital Marketing Insights; Integrated SEO 2013Hello and welcome to the first of many Google Plus Hangouts here on SNC. To get things rolling our first session...
Read More >>

Latest Comments

Related Reading

Latest Articles

Digital Marketing Insights; Integrated SEO 2013Digital Marketing Insights; Integrated SEO...
Hello and welcome to the first of many Google Plus Hangouts here on SNC. To...
Read More >>

Our Sponsors

Banner
Banner
Banner

Latest Search Videos

Join Us

Banner
Banner
The Panda That Killed Article Marketing
Written by Barry Adams
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 00:00

Whenever Google twitches, search industry pundits around the world are eager to proclaim that SEO is radically changed forever. It seems that everything that looks even remotely like a shadow of a passing Google update gets folks all riled up and ready to declare SEO dead once again, or at least transformed beyond recognition.


Needless to say I'm not part of that crowd. Nearly always when Google changes something in its algorithm - and if reports are to be believed, Google does this several hundred times a year - nothing really changes in how we optimise websites.

Sometimes though an update comes through that does require us to alter our SEO tactics somewhat. Like with the recent Panda update, on which I won't elaborate very much because plenty's been written about it already. I'll summarize it as follows: Panda was aimed at downgrading low quality content sites in Google's SERPs.

And, looking at the SERPs and traffic reports so far, it's fairly successful at it. Which is somewhat problematic for SEOs like me that have been relying, to some degree, on article marketing as a linkbuilding tactic.

What does it mean for Article Marketing?

Article marketing is a tried and tested method of generating links. You find a topic, write an article about it that includes a link or two, and publish it on several article directories. Or, more accurately, you pay someone else to do all that for you, and you just provide the link destination and anchor text.

And up until recently article marketing worked. It shouldn't be the cornerstone of your linkbuilding strategy, but it got results for relatively little cost.

The problem is, article marketing has lost much of its potency. The Panda update, by targeting low quality content sites, has in one stroke wiped most article directories from the SERPs and has robbed them of nearly all of the link juice they used to pass on.

This is not entirely unexpected, nor is it unfair. Because, let's be honest, the vast majority of content published on article directories was indeed 'low quality', to put it mildly. This type of thin content had no other purpose than to generate long tail traffic for the directories and links for the content writers. It certainly didn't aim to fulfil user's informational needs, and so its disappearance from SERPs won't be mourned by many.

What this does mean, however, is that SEOs that have been using article marketing as part of their linkbuilding activities will need to find a new channel to generate easy and keyword-rich links.

No Need to Panic

When you look at the bigger picture, this is all part of Google's drive to fight artificial links and force SEOs to generate truly link-worthy content. And in an ideal world, we all should be writing 'great content' and be justluy rewarded for it with nice chunks of search engine traffic.

But that's not how the world works. 'Great content' is a hollow, meaningless phrase that just makes me roll my eyes, and whatever it is it certainly doesn't automagically generate tons of juicy incoming links. No, we SEOs have to work hard at getting links to our client sites. And, in this link-based ecosystem that Google has created, that means we often have to rely on artificial linkbuilding methods.

So, out with article marketing - to an extent - and in with something else. What that 'something else' is, I won't tell. Wouldn't want Google to start cracking down on that too, now would we? :)

Barry Adams -

Barry is the Senior Digital Marketer for Search at Pierce Communications in Belfast , where he works for a wide range of clients in the UK and Ireland. Since starting his career in the mid-'90s as an intranet content manager, Barry has worked in a wide variety of positions including corporate webmaster, in-house SEO specialist for a large regional newspaper, and web consultant for SMEs.

You can also hook up via

Read More >>


More articles by this author

Two Great SEO Tips for Large-Scale Ecommerce SitesTwo Great SEO Tips for Large-Scale Ecommerce Sites
When it comes to large scale ecommerce sites, many of...
Read More >>
The Death of SEOThe Death of SEO
Yes, I'm going there. Bear with me, this is not...
Read More >>
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 15:45
 

Comments  

 
+2 #1 Blippitt 2011-03-16 16:16
I'd have to agree. It's not the end of the world.

If you produce good, quality content, then the links will come naturally.
Quote
 
 
+1 #2 Michael Martinez 2011-03-16 17:18
Very concisely stated and well put. If Google hadn't much such a fuss about how links were so important in identifying "quality" content, a lot of this crap would never have come into existence.
Quote
 
 
0 #3 Eren Mckay 2011-03-16 17:57
Hi Barry,
So what do you think the alternative will be to article marketing? And also.. even though those sites got slammed, can we be sure that they won`t be passing any link juice from now on? Of course it`s pretty logical that the link juice will diminish but do you think it will be completely gone?
Maybe I`m just trying to be positive in the midst of all this ;-)
All the best,
Eren
Quote
 
 
0 #4 Debra Ellis 2011-03-16 18:34
Barry,

Thank you for writing this post. The SEO is dead conversation is getting old. I wish people would spend more time learning how to use search and less time pronouncing it dead.
Quote
 
 
+1 #5 Barry Adams 2011-03-16 20:16
Thanks all for your comments.

@Eren: I think some article sites will continue to pass link juice - and it won't be hard figuring out which - so some measure of article marketing will probably continue to be somewhat effective. But it's definitely lost whatever potency it had remaining, and as SEOs we need to move on and embrace new ideas.

As for alternatives, hit me up in the Dojo chat some time. :)
Quote
 
 
0 #6 Jun Baranggan 2011-03-17 08:15
SEOs are very creative people. Whatever we have lost in the article marketing side of things, will get replaced in another way in no time. :)
Quote
 
 
0 #7 Edmund PELGEN 2011-03-17 11:32
Barry I was under the impression that Panda was about dropping poor quality content in the rankings.... If those article directories are still indexed and no follow won't they still pass link reputation and authority? Even if they themselves don't rank highly?

Are u saying now that google needs to classify the quality of the link based on the content it is in and somehow lessen it's impact?

Would love ur thoughts..

Ed
Quote
 
 
0 #8 Barry Adams 2011-03-17 11:53
@Edmund: yes I suppose some article directories will continue to pass some measure of link juice, so article marketing isn't entirely obsolete. But I'll bet you that what value they pass - on those that have not scurried to adopt nofollowed links in an effort to please their Google masters - has diminished significantly.

Don't let their TBPR fool you - a website's SERP rankings are a measure of their value as link sources, and low rankings tend to correlate well with low amounts of link juice.
Quote
 
 
+1 #9 Tracy Anderson 2011-03-18 21:28
It is easy to determine the impact of the Panda update on the rankings of pages from the article directories. It seems logical to assume that the link authority passed by these articles has been greatly diminished as well. However, I have yet to find quantitive evidence that supports this conclusion. Thus, at least for now I'll keep an open mind. I am still submitting an occasional article to the top article directories, but with very minimal expectations for getting much payback.
Quote
 
 
-5 #10 John S. Britsios 2011-03-22 01:56
I feel like something is not posed right here.

Article marketing is not finding a topic, write an article about it that includes a link or two, and publish it on several article directories. Also it is not just paying someone else to do all that for you, and you just provide the link destination and anchor text :-*

I am working as an SEO since 2006 and I always consider the practices you mentioned as pure scam or poor link building attempts, and not article marketing.

I expressed my opinion in full at the blog of Michael Martinez, in case you want to read more details what I am about: http://www.seo-theory.com/2011/03/15/article-marketing-for-seo/comment-page-1/#comment-2082

About the post title "The Panda That Killed Article Marketing", was that a sort of link baiting attempt? If yes, it hurts.
Quote
 
 
+4 #11 Barry Adams 2011-03-22 08:49
That's great John that your particular interpretation of article marketing is unaffected. Keep it up I'd say, use whatever works. Your definition of what article marketing is probably differs from mine, but hey YMMV and all that.

One thing though: if you feel pain at a cannily crafted headline that helps building links to content, SEO may not be the right industry for you. ;)
Quote
 
 
0 #12 Stevo 2011-03-22 09:06
It's the evolution of SEO. Things change and with the new Panda update certain SEO practices will be diluted and lost. So good riddance to weak content article marketing......and Hello! to fresh innovations and forward thinking. So let's pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move on!
Quote
 
 
-2 #13 John S. Britsios 2011-03-22 20:34
Quoting Barry Adams:
That's great John that your particular interpretation of article marketing is unaffected. Keep it up I'd say, use whatever works. Your definition of what article marketing is probably differs from mine, but hey YMMV and all that.

My article marketing strategy is not my own interpretation. The problem is that people in the SEO/SEM industry simply needed to treat article marketing with more respect instead of assuming that mass content production and distribution would be the “best practice”.

Quoting Barry Adams:
One thing though: if you feel pain at a cannily crafted headline that helps building links to content, SEO may not be the right industry for you. ;)

I did not know that creating misleading headlines was a task of a SEO professional. If it is, you are right: I am in the wrong industry.
Quote
 
 
+4 #14 Barry Adams 2011-03-28 08:02
Quoting John S. Britsios:
My article marketing strategy is not my own interpretation.



Yes, it is.

Quoting John S. Britsios:
I did not know that creating misleading headlines was a task of a SEO professional.


There's nothing misleading about my blog title, John. I define article marketing in my blog post (a definition that is widely shared in the SEO community, though you obviously prefer to adhere to your own), and I point out the fact that it is no longer a viable link building method - i.e. it's been "killed". No deception, nothing misleading, it's all open and clear.
Quote
 
 
-1 #15 John S. Britsios 2011-03-30 10:54
Quoting Barry Adams:
[quote name="John S. Britsios"]My article marketing strategy is not my own interpretation.



Quoting Barry Adams:
Yes, it is.

Well if that is my interpretation, then I am the founder of a unique, Panda safe and successful article marketing strategy. Doesn't sound bad at all! Thanks for clarifying.

Quoting John S. Britsios:
I did not know that creating misleading headlines was a task of a SEO professional.


Quoting Barry Adams:
There's nothing misleading about my blog title, John. I define article marketing in my blog post (a definition that is widely shared in the SEO community, though you obviously prefer to adhere to your own), and I point out the fact that it is no longer a viable link building method - i.e. it's been "killed". No deception, nothing misleading, it's all open and clear.

Now I got what you mean Barry. My apologies for my assumptions. I fully agree with you there.
Quote
 
 
0 #16 goa accommodation 2011-07-14 11:24
Barry, the title of one of your paras, "No Need to Panic" was encouraging. Thank you.
Quote
 
 
0 #17 TheRenovator 2011-10-04 10:00
I've seen some SEO changes over the years. Sometime back Squidoo was hurt, they recovered. I bet same time will happen to EZA, just need some time for the dust to settle.
Quote
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Getting Around the Site

Home - all the latest on SNC
SEO - our collection of SEO articles
Technical SEO - for the geeks
Latest News - latest news in search
Analytics - measure up and convert
RSS Rack - feeds from around the industry
Search - looking for something specific?
Authors - Author Login
SEO Training - Our sister site
Contact Us - get in touch with SNC

What's New?