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21 Mar 2011

Article Marketing After the Panda Update

Article Writing
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The first thing a lot of people probably think, thanks to the Google Farmer / Panda update is that article marketing has lost its value. Some of it has, if you solely depend on search traffic to bring visitors to your articles in hopes that they will continue to click through to your website.

But one thing that a lot of article marketers have missed is the community factor on some of these sites. Not all article directories are simply a repository of articles and nothing more. Some article networks have their own social community where members can interact through comments, forums, and question & answer areas. Members can also follow other members whose articles they like, and will be notified when that member has published a new article.

How to Maintain a Strong Article Marketing Campaign

So what are the key ways to make sure your article marketing content stands out?

1. Create 100% unique, engaging content.

The days of unoriginal, short and spun content are likely numbered. Google has said that they are going to single out the low quality content in favor of the best content, which means article networks that want back into Google’s good graces will start doing the same.

GoArticles, unaffected by the update, had started doing this months ago. EzineArticles has upped the word count of their articles to 450+. eHow (also unaffected) moved away from letting anyone sign up to write articles to having writers go through a stricter registration. More networks are going to follow suit. You will want to make sure your content and writing skills are up to par, generating only the best content for your niche in these networks.

2. Interact with the article marketing community.

Find people interested in your niche or industry through the forums, question and answer area, and by searching for related articles to find other authors on the topic. Follow them, interact with them, and rate their articles within the network – they will be sure to take notice, and possibly return the favor.

3. Promote your articles.

Search engines are not the only source of traffic. Social media, blog commenting, and forums (to name a few) can help you drive an audience to your articles when used properly to promote them. Just find targeted fans, blogs, and communities to engage with and share your content with in order to succeed.

Article Marketing Communities

Some great examples of article directories that have built in communities include:

  • HubPages – Allows members to follow each other and interact through comments, forums, and questions & answers.
  • Squidoo – Allows members to follow each other and interact through comments, groups and forums.
  • eHow – Allows members to follow each other and interact through comments and groups.
  • Self Growth – Allows members to add each other to their networks and interact through comments and discussion boards.

Those are the ones I know of off the top of my head. Essentially, if you are going for article marketing for community building, you will need to look for the article directories that offer more options within their network for members to connect with each other.

But What About Traffic?

It may be still soon to tell the long term effects of the Google update to these sites’ traffic data, but here is what we know so far. First, here is the unique visitor graph and data for the last six months through February for the above mentioned networks.

Article Marketing Directory Traffic
Traffic Data from Compete.com

Then, if you go to Alexa, you will find Pageviews percentage changes are as follows.

  • HubPages – down 5.2% in the last month.
  • Squidoo – down 7% in the last month.
  • eHow – up 6.4% in the last month (unaffected by the Panda update).
  • Self Growth – down 0.6% in the last month (unaffected by the Panda update).

So needless to say, these sites are still getting traffic within their own community, even if the search traffic has dropped off a little. And if you want a piece of that action, you will need to start creating great content and interacting with their communities!

What is Your New Article Marketing Strategy?

Has your article marketing strategy changed since the Google update? Please share your observations, from changes in traffic to rankings, and where you focus your article marketing efforts now.

13 Comments

  • Tia Mar 21, 2011

    Hi Kristi – I wrote a number of hubs last year and just got back into it today, submitting another (this is a timely post for me). My hubscore has only been increasing, and I’ve found that my hubs do really well with traffic.

    I know that for me, the update wasn’t an issue because I write Hubs for the fun and income. If I were written them for article marketing purposes, I think I would just use the same approach. When you write them to contribute good content to the community, as you said, you don’t get affected by search engine algorithm changes.

    I really like Hubpages and will continue to write there. They didn’t freak out about the change. They hardly mentioned it; they have always been a community that values good content and weeds out the bad content, and I appreciate that.

  • Kristi H Mar 21, 2011

    @Tia I haven’t noticed much change to my HubPages so far, traffic wise. Do you use analytics to monitor your traffic? I’ve been curious if people who write unique, quality articles were affected, or if the algorithm maybe only hit the really bad articles on some of these sites. HubPages does do a pretty good job in moderation though. Good to know the community itself didn’t freak out about it – that maybe proves a lot of the main traffic comes from inside the community!

  • Stuart Mar 21, 2011

    Hi Kristi

    I don’t know what to make of the latest updates. It’s interesting that Google decided to come down hard on article sites. I still regularly see sites using obviously spun/scraped wiki content performing well in the searches. Scratching my head there..

  • Kristi H Mar 22, 2011

    It is confusing Stuart. I personally would have rather seen sites that have fully scraped / stolen content get punched long before sites like EzineArticles, but I’m sure Google is working on those as well. It’s probably difficult as sometimes the “which site published it first” is hard to tell with scraper sites posting from RSS feeds that update just minutes after the originating site.

  • Sewing Supplies Mar 28, 2011

    Every single one of my articles were dropped way down. Article marketing is dead in my books.

  • iDCx Mar 29, 2011

    Thanks for the read vertical mes – i noticed the ezine at the beginning of the week – but yea – i guess there has always been emphasis on the quality of the copy distributed – i think those of us at the higher level, thus – the ones that use one piece of copy for an article and distribute it via the appropriate methods need not worry about this update – but those who say – respin their articles might need to hold fire..

    essentially – although i have heard much through the seo circles about this update – i am still to see any impact on my or the ranks we check daily… personally – i think its a load of bull and that Google has indeed tweaked the way they view sites that use WP robot and those kind of things – these sites never really had authority as they never had original content to grow the authority in the first place.

    A great read nevertheless with some pretty nice points of interest about go articles and such.

    Thanks for the read.

    iDCx

  • lawrence kent Mar 29, 2011

    I wonder what will become of all those happy smiley “you can make a million in am month with my SEO article marketing” program people, if it means the end to these annoying lil &$^#s then good on Google!

  • Ryan B. Apr 04, 2011

    I have a feeling a lot of article spinners are going to go out of business.

  • Julian Hooks Jul 22, 2011

    This update dropped my article directory traffic tremendously, but subsequently gave my organic search traffic to my blogs a boost. But now I’m starting a new website and I’m not sure if posting content to directories is worthwhile anymore. Why not just post all my articles to my own site. I’m wondering if the backlinks from lets say Ezine are still as powerful as they once were…

  • Kaila Strong Jul 22, 2011

    Links from eZine and other article marketing sites likely are not as strong as they use to be. The tactic you suggest of adding content to your site is a good one. Good luck!

  • David Corman Aug 14, 2011

    Kristi,

    Do you think the tighter acceptance rules of these article directories that you mention in point #1 will make a difference in the eyes of Google to not automatically consider content on their sites as low quality?

  • Richard Cummings Oct 14, 2011

    Kristi, another great post! I too have noticed a drop in the traffic received from article directories. They simply don’t show up as high in the serps and therefore provide less traffic. As you mentioned, I think it is important to write quality articles for these sites. I have many articles that have PR rank of 3 on these sites (which makes backlinks more valuable) because they are quality and I promote them. Cheers, Richard