June 8, 2007
Search engine optimization (SEO) mainly deals with what’s called on-page optimization – placing keywords and phrases in different areas and in the code of a webpage. On-page SEO is great for letting Google and the other search engines know what your website is about, but it’s also vital to let them know how important your website is. You can accomplish this through a broader branch of online promotion call search engine marketing. One area of search engine marketing is article writing and syndication, and it works wonders for building backlinks to your website, as well as providing good content for your website’s visitors.
There are many great reasons to start writing articles and syndicating them, but there are three major reasons. The most obvious reason for writing articles is to fill your website with relevant and informative content. Visitors to your website are looking for information. By adding articles to your website you are adding value to their experience and they are more likely to return and tell others about the wealth of information available on your site. Another great reason for writing your own content deals more with search engine optimization – search engines will deem your website more important if it’s full of original and relevant content. The last reason deals with link building. By submitting your article to an article syndication site, you make the article available for other website owners to include on their website, and in return they provide a link back to your website.
Content Is King
Given the advent of social bookmarking websites such as Digg.com and Del.icio.us, Internet search is depending more and more upon the preferences of real Internet surfers. In the old days it was easy to make the search engines “think” that your website was important, but these days, actual people will play an increasing role in determining how “good” your website is. It makes sense too – if a few hundred Internet users think that your website is a wonderful resource for information, it probably is. Google and the others will increasingly pay more attention to these social bookmarking sites to identify important websites. So for the future of SEO, it’s important that your website have good content.
Search Engines like Fresh Original Content
Google and the other search engines have the ability to determine whether a block of text is original, or has been copied from another website. When search engines crawl your website and find new original content, it shows that the site is updated regularly, not neglected, and that a lot of time went into creating the website, rather than cutting and pasting text from other sites. This is one of the ways the search engines determine if you have a “good” website. Typically, a website with a lot of relevant, original and frequently updated content should do well in the search engine results.
Article Syndication and Link Building
After you’ve written your article and posted it on your website, you can take further advantage of the article by letting other website owners use it as content on their website as well. This is accomplished by submitting your article to an article directory. These directories operate much like a normal website directory, but instead of listing websites they list articles. Just perform a search for “article directory” and you are bound to find hundreds of these sites. Website owners are allowed to use your article on their website as long as they include a resource box at the bottom of the article that gives you credit and also provides a link back to your website. Building backlinks to your website is one of the more important factors of search engine marketing because the search engines figure that, the more websites that link to you, the more important your website must be.
Optimizing Your Article for the Search Engines
Part of search engine optimization includes using related keywords and phrases, not only on your website, but also on webpages that link to you. Be sure to include your keywords or key terms as many times as possible in the article, but don’t overdo it or your article won’t sound natural. When search engines index your article and find a link to your website, they will associate your website with the content of the article.
The Resource Box
The resource box is the last part of the article that includes the author’s information and a link back to their website. This piece of information is important because, after all, the whole point of article syndication is to get backlinks to your website. Just including your website’s URL is fine but it’s best to use something called anchor text. Anchor text is the clickable text that brings your from one webpage or website to another. Using your website’s name is fine too, but you should try to include your top keyword or phrase in the link. This is an extremely important SEO technique because the search engines place a lot of value on anchor text when determining search results. Some people will recommend putting anchor text in the body of your article. While the search engines may like this strategy, to humans it just looks “spammy” and your article won’t get picked up by any reputable websites.
Duplicate Content & the Value of Your Article
It makes sense that if we want other websites to list your articles and provide a link back to your site, then you should submit your articles to as many sites as possible. This seems like a logical strategy, and there are actually many article submission services available on the Internet that will submit your article to 400 or more article directories. There is a problem with this approach, though. Although you may gain a whole bunch of backlinks to your website, Google will probably flag your article as duplicate content, and it will in turn carry much less value. In other words, as more and more websites post your article its value is being diluted. Plus, important and respected publications don’t want to use content that is posted on another 100 or so websites. One backlink from a respected source with high Page Rank is sometimes worth a 100 backlinks from smaller site with little or no page rank. So, it’s probably a good strategy to only submit your article to 5 or so article directories – the top 5 in Google search will probably do.
The Best Strategy
If you have the time and inclination, you can get more out of article marketing by posting the original copy of the article on your website, and then re-writing a copy for the purpose of syndication. This way, your website won’t get penalized for duplicate content. From here, it’s really your choice if you’d like to submit your article to 400 directories and get as many backlinks as possible, or focus on getting your article included in more respected publications and receive higher quality backlinks. Personally, I prefer the latter, but the choice is yours. Good luck!
Author: Paul Coulter owns and operates a Toronto Website Design Company that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO).