Article Directories... why give them a wide birth?
As a provider of expert SEO services in Manchester, I’m always looking at ways to help clients with their rankings, advise on best practice and instil only the finest SEO techniques to ensure their website has the best chance of succeeding in the search engine rankings battle. Something which has recently cropped up is whether or not using article directories to obtain back links and traffic is a good idea or a bad idea. So I’ve put together a blog post below which hopefully makes light of this issue.
I'm going to start with a quick refresh on what article directories are. An article directory is an article bank where you can submit an article discussing a topic of your choice, so that other people can then download or perhaps pay to download it, so it can then be used on their own site. The article in question can be anywhere from 3 - 4 - 500 words of content, with a short bio or some kind of information about you included at the bottom. In the bio you could have three links with keyword rich anchor text which link back to your site. The theory behind this is that when someone uses your article from an article directory site such as ezine.com (but there are literally hundreds of them out there) which accept articles from site owners and publishers, the writers hope that will get a bit of traffic and links to their own website out of it.
Now then, going back a few years, there was a time when article directories were all the rage. An article could quickly be written and then submitted to hundreds of directories. The article would have links to your site in it and could potentially drive increased traffic to your site when others publish the content on their own sites to add content.
The only problem with this is that it leads to lots of duplicate content, which is potentially spammy, just being syndicated and sprayed all over the web. With many new duplicate content filters and link penalties being actioned by Google, article directories have definitely started to fall out of favour with SEOs. So with this in mind, an article which is syndicated wildly in that hope that everyone else will download it for use on their own site, might not necessarily be so effective.
The reality of this situation is that low quality, stolen or spammy content has overwritten these article directories and many SEOs just haven't realised that. Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google HQ hinted in an interview that their search algorithms are filtering and potentially penalising mass article directory spam. "We certainly have some algorithmic things that would mean it's probably a little less likely to be successful now compared to a few years ago, for example," Cutts went on to say "So my personal recommendation would be to probably not upload articles like that."
If you're still insistent on using article directories, I would advise using them only to get ideas for topics and then re-write that info in your own words for your own sites, as you'll see no ranking improvement from simply submitting to them.
I hope you've found this blog interesting and of use for your future SEO developments. To chat more about how my SEO services in Manchester can help you, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Many thanks.