September 30, 2011
After the Google Panda Update, has article marketing become less effective? That’s a major question which many webmasters and online marketers seem to be asking these days. It has also brought up the whole notion that article marketing is, in fact, dead. Well, here’s my two cents on this whole issue.
Article marketing has always been one of my most basic and solid online marketing techniques. One which has brought in sales, traffic and those all important one-way quality backlinks to my content. Then came the Google Panda Update and changed everything.
We have had countless major Google Algorithm updates before, but Panda was different, mainly because instead of examining just one page on your site, it looked at the quality of your WHOLE site and ranked it accordingly. Supposedly, those sites with perceived “poor quality” or not enough “original” content got lowered in the Google Index and rankings – not a good thing to happen to any site. Unfortunately, like all these updates, some innocent high quality sites were hit and their rankings and search traffic dropped significantly.
And then as they say, all hell broke loose.
Panic quickly followed and many webmasters with lucrative high ranking keywords in Google, not only took notice, but started making changes on their own sites. This panic or alarm was so great, we had thousands if not millions, of webmasters dropping content which was not original or/and changing many of their outgoing links to “no follow” on their sites.
It seemed like everyone had collectively closed shop and drawn a protective barrier around their sites; making doubly sure they would not get penalized by Google for having too much non-original content or a poor quality site.
I believe article marketing was the greatest victim of the Panda Update and fallout. Not only were the article directories like Ezinearticles hit hard, but more significantly, the perceived effectiveness of article marketing itself, took a direct hit by this update. Sometimes perception is everything, especially on the web. If webmasters believed having a non-unique article on their site, no matter if the article is well written and of top-notch quality, would lower their site’s rankings in the eyes of Google, then the article must go or be deleted.
While it is sometimes foolhardy to draw general conclusions from your own limited experiences, I have seen my traffic and sales, from the different article directories fall dramatically. My traffic from Ezinearticles, which was my biggest source, has fallen to a trickle. More alarmingly, my articles don’t get picked up and displayed on other sites like they did in the past. Again, it should be emphasized, these are only my findings… other authors may have different outcomes and I do know of a few marketers who have seen their traffic increase from Ezinearticles, mostly with unique articles displayed on that site.
After Panda, it seems Google is trying to list or rank the author’s site first in their rankings for any articles. After a slight drop in traffic immediately after the Panda Update, I have seen my traffic bounce back and this may be one of the reasons. In the past, I had placed many of my articles on my own sites as well as on the other sites and in the article directories. Going forward, I will write more unique articles for other sites and the directories, just to keep the “original content” factor/signal from popping up.
Google’s Use of the Author Tag
I was also very curious to see that Google has started supporting “authorship markup” or the “author” attribute tag in their search engine. According to a post by Othar Hansson, a software engineer at Google, “The markup uses existing standards such as HTML5 (rel=”author”) and XFN (rel=”me”) to enable search engines and other web services to identify works by the same author across the web.” If the content is on the same domain you use the rel=”author” tag and link it to your author’s page on that same domain. If your content is listed on a site where you don’t have an author’s page or profile, you can always link the content back to your own site’s author page by using the (rel=”me”) attribute tag. To learn exactly how the “author” tag works visit Google’s help page here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=1229920
I am even more interested to see if, over time, Google starts placing the same kind of importance on web writers, as they do with authority sites. Google’s goal is to present the highest quality content available on the web. One way of judging/ranking this quality is by the author. King is King is King… no matter where it is displayed on the web.
However, getting back to our initial question concerning the apparent extinction of article marketing? There is no denying that article marketing has become less effective after the Panda Update and the follow-up changes made by Google.
Some webmasters/marketers are solving this problem by using software programs to “spin” articles in order to produce countless unique versions of an article. Quite frankly, I have never been satisfied with any “spun” version of an article – it simply sounds awkward or doesn’t have the right flow to it. However, it may fool the search engines, and many unscrupulous marketers are seeing good results from this type of article marketing because all the articles appear unique. Obviously, this is another headache for Google, because these inferior “spun” articles may become much more prevalent on the web after Panda, lowering the overall quality of content on the web and in their index, rather than increasing it.
Personally, while I am losing X amount of dollars, I just can’t bring myself to use this sort of “software” to produce countless inferior versions of my articles. Instead, I have started to write unique articles and submit them to only one site. And for what it’s worth, I will still continue to write other viral articles which will hopefully get placed on numerous sites. And while they still bring targeted traffic back to my sites, my returns on these viral articles seems to be less and less, as many major sites have stopped taking these “non-unique” types of articles after the Panda Update. In my honest opinion, while article marketing is not quite dead, its glory days have long since passed.
Titus Hoskins is a full-time online marketer who has numerous websites. For the latest web marketing tools try: http://www.bizwaremagic.com . If you liked the article above, why not try this Free 7 Day Marketing Course here: http://www.marketingtoolguide.com . This article may be
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