When you’re trying to build a brand website rather than a pure thin affiliate website, there are plenty of link building opportunities you avoid. Paid links, article spinning, links from irrelevant websites and so on are all tempting, but a real no-no when you’re trying to keep the quality up. One of the methods that did seem to be okay though was article marketing.
An effective strategy…
I’m sure many of us have submitted articles to Ezine Articles and Suite 101 amongst others for the sole purpose of getting links. And why not? The premise was simple and effective – write a decent article, get it reviewed and quality checked by a real person, have it published, and get a backlink in return. Traffic from the article might have been very little, but as long as the backlink was there, everybody’s happy right?
Thinking back though it was never something I was comfortable doing.
…or a flawed strategy?
Whilst doing things completely white hat and above board on my main website, article marketing felt wrong. Although I spent time making sure the article was well written and meaningful, I couldn’t have given a flying jiggery if anyone actually read them, I knew why I was writing those articles: for links.
Despite my gut feelings though, article marketing was seen as a sure fire winner in SEO circles and was constantly recommended. A decent backlink, in return for a decent article – nothing wrong with that, and quite safe too. Why would Google penalise you for writing decent content? Well they probably wouldn’t have done until article spinning became popular. When the same article was spun, re-written, spun, and re-written again the quality went down, and the quantity of these articles went up. Google had to act, and they did so like ruthless ninjas, coming in and slaughtering the article sites overnight.
No longer a viable strategy
And I’m glad they did. It never felt right writing decent content for someone else’s website when I could have written it for mine, but it was necessary to do…
- Because it was accepted practice recommended by dozens of SEO and experts;
- My competitors were doing it and I needed to so I could stay in check with the competition.
But I’m glad that avenue has now gone. It is something else I don’t have to worry about doing. My competitors aren’t going to be doing it (or hopefully they will!), so I don’t need to do it.
I was never a big article publisher (I think I did a grant total of four) so it has not been a problem to go back and pull those articles, and lose the links. However, doing so made me realise what a waste it was to write them for someone else in the first place – I may as well have written them for my own site.
When so many SEO’s are suggesting you give it a go, sometimes, despite your best judgement, you end up saying ‘everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t we?’ But at least now I don’t have to.