Article marketing means a lot of different things to different people, so let’s start by defining our purpose for “article marketing” first. Our goal for article marketing is to create backlinks and also to drive traffic. How you choose to monetize with your articles is up to you, so I’m going to cover primarily the SEO tactics along with some other Article Marketing Tips.
We want to create well-written articles that provide highly relevant, contextual backlinks and are of a caliber high enough to get syndicated by non-directory sources. This is actually the most important part and main focus of our article marketing efforts – syndication by non-directory sources. In all honesty, spinning tons of poorly written articles and submitting to hundreds of directories is not going to work for you in the long run, or even that well in the short run.
The Article Marketing Strategy
Our goal is to get as many relevant, high PR backlinks from our articles as we can. The articles you submit to directories serve as decent backlinks as far as relevance goes, but they really aren’t the best backlinks. As previously stated, our goal is to have our articles syndicated by non-directory sites. This means that you want webmasters looking for content on Ezine and other directories to find your article, and place it on their site. These backlinks will prove to be much more valuable to you than the ones from the directories.
Remember, you are trying to build a business – you want to think long-term. The links you get from syndication are going to be permanent and more valuable because they are placed in a section of content that can only be modified by the webmaster, they will be relevant, and they may even pass some PR.
Now that we are clear about the purpose of our article marketing, let’s press on and discuss how to structure our articles with the goal of creating relevant articles that will get syndicated by non-directory sources.
How to Structure/Optimize Articles
You want to get the most out of everything you do in your business so article marketing should be no different. As stated, our emphasis is on SEO so we want to make sure that we have highly optimized articles. Before we get to specifics I want to be clear that you don’t need to get too crazy or about the optimization of the article. The truth is you can’t write an article without Google understanding what it is about. This is largely due to Google’s sophisticated LSI(Latent Semantic Indexing). My point is, this page is about “article marketing” and naturally through writing about the subject, I will end up using many of the synonyms that Google expects to see. All I have to do is fine-tune things a bit to focus Google’s concept of my content around my keyword, and this is exactly what we will do with our articles.
Articles offer a great opportunity to create backlinks with a ton of relevance. You have control over the title tag <title> and all of the content that will surround your backlink, so make use of these tools! We are going to focus on getting optimal keyword density and placement, proper anchor text, and the best use of your description and resource boxes.
Keyword Placement and Text Formatting
A lot of people will recommend writing 300 word articles, these people are writing for the directories. We are writing for webmasters. This means we want to write great articles that are informative, entertaining, and also lengthy. Your articles should be somewhere between 700-1,500 words in length. Webmasters don’t want to publish short, promotional articles on their sites. They want long, informational, and very readable/entertaining content that they think their readers will also enjoy. This being said, optimizing content gets tougher the longer your article gets. A common recommendation for keyword density is to mention your keyword once per 100 words, but that can be very hard with 1,000 words. For instance, this page is only so optimized for “article marketing.” How many times can I really get away with using that term: much less than once per 100 words. Use your keyword as many times as you can without sacrificing quality and make sure to support it with many different LSI keywords – don’t abuse them either.
The only specificity I have for using your keyword is mentioning it once in the first and last sentence. It is said that this has a greater effect on how Google decides what your content is about. You will naturally use synonyms and LSI keywords in your writing, but you can use Google’s keyword tool to find the most relevant terms for your keyword. Keep in mind, the results are sorted by relevance by default, but their order is somewhat trivial. In other words, any words on the first page of results should basically be treated as all equally relevant to your keyword.
Anchor text is EXTREMELY important – you need to use it. The anchor text you use tells Google what the page on the other end of the link is all about, so obviously you want it to be your keyword. The reasoning is that the words closest to your link have the greatest affect on it, so clearly having the link itself be the keyword you want will have the most positive results – this is indisputable. That being said, you will also want to mention your keyword again nearby your link or at least some LSI keywords.
Your title is very important and has a great effect on the context and relevance of your backlink. You want to create a title with your keyword in it, preferably the first word(s), but that also makes sense and makes people want to check your article out. Most of the time, it isn’t worth it to sacrifice readability for optimization purposes. Just make sure your keyword is at least in the title.
The purpose of your description is to get people to click-through to your article. It’s essential that you create an engaging description that makes people want to read more. Often times, you don’t need any clever or fancy wording. If you’re providing the info they’re looking for, they are going to want to read more.
For SEO purposes, once again, just make sure your keyword and some LSI keywords are in here, no need to get too crazy.
Just as your description is supposed to get people to click-through to your article, your resource box is supposed to make people click-through to your website. So, write in a compelling manner that will make them want to click on your link.
You’ve probably already guessed what I’m gonna say here about optimizing… use your keyword and LSI keywords! But there some other points to be made here too. The fact that you want to use anchor text in your link has already been covered, but I personally always use two links in my resource boxes. One is a plain URL to my home page and the other is a link with the proper anchor text leading to whatever page on my site it’s supposed to lead to.
Do not ever make your anchor text “click here”, this is just awful SEO. You will miss out almost entirely on any SEO benefits because this link will essentially tell Google that your page is about “click here” – probably not the keyword you’re aiming for. Also, putting in such a distinct call to action will make your article much less likely to be syndicated by non-directory sources. No one wants to post a promotional article on their site with a call to action.
Finally, a great technique for developing better “article flow” and even increasing the CTR (click-through rate) is making the last sentence in your article the first sentence in your resource box. Start your resource box with that last sentence with your keyword in it we discussed earlier, and make your keyword the anchor text for your first backlink. Follow it with something like, “John Doe is a specialist in ___ and is the founder of www.hiswebsite.com”
Why Quality is SO Important
Don’t ever forget while writing content for your site, articles, or whatever, that you are writing for people and not search engines. And you’re hearing that from a site about SEO! Here are the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons for writing high quality articles.
Articles can get targeted traffic to your site. The whole point of your SEO efforts is to get targeted traffic, why not get some while you’re working on getting some!? There’s nothing better than getting great traffic from a backlink. You might be thinking, “well why not just do article marketing strictly for the backlinks and spin a ton of articles?” There are a few reasons why this is not a great strategy and here is the first:
You don’t want only article directory backlinks from your articles. Most people only think about this and never get any further, but we want to think long-term. The most effective strategy when article marketing for backlinks is to get your articles syndicated by non-directory sources. For instance, what if you write an article about how to install and setup wordpress on a domain, and submit it to all the major directories. What does that get you – some relevant backlinks and hopefully some traffic too. But what if that article is found by a webmaster for a tech site, and he decides to post your article on his site – you’re going to get an much more valuable backlink. This kind of backlink is so valuable because it will be relevant, might have PR to pass, AND it will be more valuable being placed in a part of the site that only the webmaster can control. Having your articles syndicated by other sites is the way to really succeed with article marketing for SEO.
Should I Spin My Articles?
Spinning articles, in my opinion, is not worth the time. The biggest concern is always whether or not your article is going to be unique enough, for Google and for the directories. How do you know if it’s unique enough? You don’t! Sure, you can use copyscape, but do you really think that Google uses copyscape too? Of course not, so it’s irrelevant. Rather than spending your time spinning articles and dealing with the stress of whether it’s unique enough or not, as well as worrying about the grammar, you might as well just start fresh on a new article. To restate, quality is of utmost importance, don’t write something you wouldn’t want to read yourself.
Regardless, some people still choose to spin, and while it’s not something I usually do, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done effectively to further the results from the work you do. Just make sure your not spamming the web with illegible garbage.
There are a lot of article directories out there to submit to. The problem is that the majority of them have very short life spans and disappear within six months. This is why it is essential to submit to the more popular and well-established directories first and do it manually to ensure your articles end up getting published. Here is a list of what I consider the most important directories to submit to:
(All of them are “dofollow”)
After submitting to these directories you can stop there or submit to a ton more with any auto-submission software that you have. This isn’t necessary, but once again, you should always aim to get the most out of your work.
Let’s put things in perspective. The most important part of this article marketing strategy is to write high quality articles and get them on the top directories so that they will be syndicated by non-directory sources that will get you superior backlinks. However, you can get some results from the directories alone, and you may as well blast out your articles to a bunch more directories for further backlinks and possible syndication.
The article submission software I use is really awesome, it’s called Article Marketing Robot and a lot of other people really like it too. It can sign you up for thousands of directories (you can add more whenever), verify all of your accounts, and submit articles very quickly. I don’t include the directories I mentioned above, but I have a list of over 5,000 others. The success rate is usually around 50% which is pretty good. The way I look at it, I spend literally about one minute preparing it, and then it auto-submits for a few minutes. This leaves me with well over 1,000+ new backlinks, not bad right? You can try article marketing tools as well.
Should I Build Backlinks to my Articles?
I end up linking to my articles naturally I as reference them sometimes from blogs and other web properties, but I don’t just backlink to them to try and rank them. Why backlink to someone else’s website instead of your own? You want to build your own business, not theirs. I can see how it might be tempting since sometimes your articles might start off with a great rank, but there’s no point in backlinking to an article unless it’s targeting a keyword you’re never going to target, but why would that ever even happen? This brings me to one final point.
You can submit your site’s content to Ezine and other directories.
You want unique content on your site, but for a lot of the posts or other content you write, it’s usually worthwhile to also submit it to article directories. Add the content to your site first, and then after it’s indexed on your site, submit it to the directories. The only reason you might not want to do this is if you have a very new site that Ezine is going to outrank. Once you know your site has enough authority to outrank the articles you post there, you might as well do it. You just want to make sure you are not going to be competing with yourself.
Following up with email to Syndicators
Here’s the final step to ensuring the greatest results from your article marketing. After your articles have been published, search occasionally to see if anyone has used one of your articles. If someone has and they included your resource box the way they’re supposed to, send them email about it. Thank them for using your content and let them know that you are going to send them articles you write a day or two before submitting them to any directories. If they used one of your articles, they’ll probably want to use more. This eliminates any of the “luck” from getting syndicated. Once you have a list of webmasters like this, you can ensure that every article you write will be syndicated somewhere else which is awesome.
If someone uses one of your articles and leaves out the resource box, don’t immediately threaten them with legal action. You could still possibly build a good relationship with this person. Tell them you noticed they are using your content, but omitted the resource box and ask them to add it. If they don’t then you can take action, but that almost never happens. They’ll usually add it and then you can tell them too that you will email them your articles before submitting them, and now you have another candidate for your own personal syndication group
Article marketing can be effective or a waste of time depending on how you go about it. A lot of people never develop a well thought out article marketing strategy like the one outlined above, but this is the way that all the true pros do it. Often times, people don’t want to spend time creating high quality content because they don’t think it will pay off. Meanwhile, someone is trying to sell them their new article spinner and telling them they need to blast the web with SO MANY articles. This is unnecessary. Putting in your time and creating quality content that real people will enjoy may take more time, and the benefits may not be immediate, but in the long run it is much more beneficial and time efficient. Write something people will like, write something you can be proud of.