Article Marketing Featured Google SE Optimization

Google Killed My SEO Business — But Article Marketing Kept My Websites Thriving

If you are interested in getting into Google’s good graces, you probably live-and-breathe links all day long. You may spend most of your day trying to get your links placed in various websites, just so that you can get the opportunity to make sure Google will find your website and list it in its search results.

You may even spend days on end tweaking the content on your website to make it more SEO-friendly, never really knowing if what you are doing will have any impact at all.

That is the biggest problem with search engine optimization in 2016. It is much harder to draw a straight line between the SEO activities you undertake and your rankings in Google’s search results.

When Google was still young, we could play SEO games all day long and move our websites up and down Google’s search results with simple changes to our websites.

But Google has matured a lot in the last several years, wiping out most of our ability to make simple changes to see massive results.

I was playing Google like a fiddle in the 2000s. I knew exactly what to do, and I had the skills to do it, to push anyone’s website to the top of Google’s search results. I was so good at what I was doing that I was even able to offer my services as a search engine optimization provider and collect monthly fees in the range of $18,000 per month.

Google killed my business in an afternoon by announcing it was going to kill paid links in their search algorithms.

Now, I tried to explain to my clients this announcement would have no effect on what I was doing, because I wasn’t paying anyone to place links to their websites.

But to no avail… each of my clients said, “We are paying you and you are creating links for us, so Google is talking about us.”

I am so glad I got out of the SEO-industry in 2008, because clients would freak out every time a Google employee sneezed.

Because I knew my clients were wrong, I continued to work my magic with my own websites, and I continue to benefit from those activities even today as 2016 is winding down.

I closed another of my websites in 2010. I didn’t shut it down, but I quit adding new content to it and promoting it actively. I also took down all of my buy buttons. We are coming up on the seven-year anniversary of when I stopped supporting that website. This particular website still received traffic from 142,000 unique visitors in 2015, and it is on track to match the same traffic levels in 2016.

The bottom line is, that I have been using article marketing to promote my websites online since circa 1999.

Article marketing works as well today as it did 17 years ago.

The Day Article Marketing Died

If you are like me, you might have heard about “the day article marketing died” – Feb. 23, 2011.

That was when Google introduced the Farmer/Panda updates, and lost 90 percent of its footprint inside of Google’s search results. lost 94 percent of its search rankings, lost 87 percent of its search results, lost 85 percent and lost 90 percent.

Google pretty much decimated all of the article directories in a single day.

The article marketing industry was turned on its head, and many providers in this niche lost their shirts.

Article directory marketing died, and it has never returned to prominence, despite hundreds of companies trying to hang on and find ways around the embargo.

But Here is the Thing That Might Surprise You

The traffic to my website was barely affected, because I had never really used the article directories to promote my articles.

My articles were published on websites, inside blogs and newsletters. The Farmer/Panda updates did not impact the websites where my articles were published. In fact, those properties likely benefited from the death of the article directories.

My articles were published in places where a human-editor chose my article from a stack of articles on their computers.

Online publishers who are driven by a need to keep readers happy will focus only on publishing articles that they have reviewed and decided were a good fit for their publications and their audiences.

This is the Article Marketing Secret Sauce

In order for your article marketing activities to be successful, you need to be able to get your content placed somewhere where a human-editor is reviewing your article for placement in their website.

The secret sauce is “human reviewed and audience approved.”

With the advent of social media, “audience approved” is easy for Google to identify. If people enjoy an article, they will share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Linked In.

If Google is able to see how often a particular article has been shared on social media, it knows that the particular article offers a lot of value to its readers.

The Proof of This Idea Can Be Found in Mashable

Founded in 2005, Mashable is the top source for news in social and digital media, technology and Web culture.

According to its advertisers page, Mashable has 45 million monthly visitors, and it has 29 million followers on social media. Mashable also indicates that one of its posts is shared on social media every three seconds, and 55% of its traffic comes from mobile users.

I took a few minutes to scroll through Mashable’s front page to look for articles on its website that might stand out in Google’s search results. Here are just three examples:

  • I found an article titled, “People Were Nuts About Guns This Black Friday”. This article had 490 social media shares. I Googled “people nuts about guns” and Mashable was the No. 1 listing. “Guns Black Friday” was also ranked in Google showing Mashable in the No. 8 listing.
  • Another article I found was called, “Online Sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Broke All Records”. It had 547 shares. I queried “online sales black friday cyber monday” inside Google without the quotes, and Mashable was the No. 9 listing.
  • The final article I checked was titled, “Samsung Brand Autopsy: How Can The Company Earn Back Trust?” It had 513 shares. When I queried Google for “Samsung brand autopsy” and “Samsung brand”, the story inside Mashable was ranked No.1 in Google. Even a search for “Samsung company” shows the Mashable article in the No. 8 spot in Google’s search results. is ‘willing to take’ ( articles from people like you and me.  To increase the likelihood of seeing your articles published on Mashable, I encourage you to read the article ‘12 Things Not to Do When Pitching a Story to Mashable’ located here:

As seen above, Google has proven that article marketing isn’t actually dead to them. Article directories are dead, but article marketing is not.

Because That Is Where The Money Is

During his 40-year criminal career, Willie Sutton stole approximately $2 million and spent half of his adult life in prison for his crimes.

When asked why he robbed banks, he said “Because that is where the money is.”

Which brings us to the question of why I have always used this kind of article marketing to promote my websites… “Because that is where the traffic is.”

I don’t worry about doing SEO for my own websites. I worry about getting my articles into a website that already has tons of traffic.

For several reasons:

1. I want my share of their traffic.

2. If their readers share my article on social media, then Google will share my article with more of their users.

3. If social media shares impact how Google perceives the value of my article, on a major website, then that value will transfer also to my website via the link in my author’s resource box.

4. A few really valuable web pages linking to my website trumps thousands of links from low-value web pages.

In Conclusion

There is nothing really hard about this approach to search engine optimization.

All you really need to do is to focus on creating content that people will want to read, then put it in a place where lots of people already go to find the information that they want to read.

About the author


Bill Platt

If you would like to learn more about how to get your advertising in front of millions of readers, take a look at Bill Platt's “Masters of Audience Building” training located here:


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  • Thank you for this. Have never really focused on article marketing too much in the past. Quick question, if you write a really good article then that people are likely to share, are you saying that it would be more beneficial to place that content on a site like Mashable rather than on your own site?

    • The question you need to ask yourself is which one will get you access to the most eyeballs.

      You will reach more people publishing on Mashable than you will on your own website.

      When you write up your Author Bio, you will link to your website, and the people who are interested in your message will visit your website through the link in the author bio.

  • As one a reviewer for submissions to several niche and well-Google-ranked content websites, I know painfully well that most “article” submissions are hardly-disguised second-hand trivialities, written by people who announce themselves as “experts” on this that and the other topic, but whose sole purpose is to place a link on an external website.
    If anyone seriously imagines that Google (a) is blissfully unaware of this and (b) does not already have, or is not developing the skills to detect artificial links such as these, even from sites with “human editors”, they have to be dreaming.
    Besides, the reality of human editing / assessment of content is that link-bait articles are not accepted, except by websites that have little or no critical acceptance standards, and will publish anything. And again Google must surely have sussed this out.
    In addition, human editing is a time-consuming task, and is only viable while the quantity of submissions remains manageable. If, as this article seems to suggest, everyone should go round submitting zillions of articles to a small number of human-edited content sites, the system will collapse on its own.
    SEO is dead, they say. Thanks Google! Hopefully “article submission” by self-styled experts-on-anything-you-want will put the final nail in the coffin.
    The idea that All you really need to do is to focus on creating content that people will want to read, then put it in a place where lots of people already go to find the information that they want to read. is laughable… as if serious “content” can be produced by any old seo consultant, and as if the reputable places people go to find serious information do not already have more than enough content from their own in-house experts and columnists…. people who really do write on topics they master.

    • Haha. I know you cannot be bothered to actually read what was advised.

      One article to one publisher — exclusive to the publisher. Much like the article you read in Sitepronews this morning — one exclusive article sent to one publisher with an audience of 300,000 people.

      No where in this article did I advise to send one article to “zillions of publishers.”

      One article to one publisher with a large audience and some SEO value, period — end of story.

      By the way, kudos to the editor for a much better title than I had come up with on my own. 🙂

  • So you think Google is really penalizing paid links? Think again. Make a good research about the positions of the websites in the real world, nor bullshit blogs, analyze the links they have and see where they end up. Of course it is paid links, of course Google knows it and of course…

    • As the article indicated, Matt Cutts announced in 2007 that Google would start penalizing paid links.

      My customers assumed that since they were paying me to build links for them that their websites would be penalized by Google. My customers left me.

      I made no assertion that the claim was true.

  • Still remembered the good ol’ days… link buiding strategies and the works. But now, we’re just sticking with article & email marketing.. hard work building up a strong subscriber base during the early years, makes it simple for us to share contents with our audience without over doing it.

  • There’s nothing like leading by example. Love the click bait headline. But maybe I would better like ideas on finding websites to post. Being an on page SEO guy with some success in local small biz, this article mktg is next logical step. But I would not have known that from the headline. Learn something new everyday. Good job!

    • I wish I could take credit for the click bait headline, but I cannot.

      The editor at Sitepronews pulled that one out of her hat.

      Kudos to her for knocking it out of the park.

  • Tons of thanks for nice and informative article.
    One thing I can’t understand, why all writer write suggestatin for only ” English Language”.
    As a publisher/writer, I am doing my job in local language. I know I have 20 million expected potential visitors worldwide, who are using google and other social media. But I/we ( me and writers useing local language).
    No one expert writing for us.

    • You need to request articles from people in your local language.

      Most people only write for English, because they believe that all of the customers speak English.

      I can only write English, which is probably why I haven’t written in your language. 😉

    • No, but they will let other people rank above you and your SEO clients.

      White hat SEO will only prevent your site from being penalized, but it will not guarantee a good ranking.

  • Frankly speaking Google has not improved to show us any quality algo with better relevant content quality since altavista, rather search results are getting worst all day. The only thing google is doing is to make noise in the chicken shake that produces traffic and that clicks, the whole marketing strategy is making noise. What google did since then they cornered the ad market to eliminate any contextual ads to appear unless google controls it.

  • Content marketing is no doubt one of the fastest ways to make money and earn today. It is also why more and more people are absorbed in it day to night. The effective utilization of content marketing depends on a good content marketing strategy or an inbound marketing strategy. It also depends on one’s knowledge to understand how search engine marketing works.

    1. Making Use of Available Tools Is Key

    2. Content from Data Findings Is the Best

    3. Don’t Go for Numbers

  • Interesting article. I am in the process of learning about SEO and how to please Google. It is beginning to feel like big brother. This article put a breathe of fresh air into the mix.

  • Nice article.

    I’m now understand that’s hard to stay on first page on Google SERP.Also on the conclusion I could mention that newly born website won’t have any chance of competing with older websites that are more famous with readers… It’s a bad news for newly born webmaster and her new website.

  • Thank you author. Good Intel. And Jackie big brother indeed if he wore a black uniform jack boots. I’ve been dealing with Google and loosing the battle as an Seo professional for ten years. Over and over their costs PPC skyrocket and swallow up my clients life savings. It’s a Nazi dictatorship anew. Can’t fight them can’t please them just feed them
    Money hoping for the best. I’m in a small security niche where not many article outlets are available. But we’ll battle on. Best wishes for Xmas one and all. Paul.

  • Can you please share what is the best length, word count of the article that you promote for best results? I haven’t started article marketing yet but I believe minimum 1500+ words. What’s your experience and the results tell you?