Google To Writers: Don’t Upload Articles To Directories

    January 30, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google has put out a new “Webmaster Help” video advising webmasters and writers against submitting articles to online article directories. It’s been pretty well-known that Google isn’t incredibly fond of these types of sites for a while now, but the search team is still getting questions about it, so head of webspam Matt Cutts had some advice to share.

“I think over time, article directories have gotten a little bit of the worst name,” says Cutts. “So just to refresh everybody’s memory, an article directory is basically where you write three, four, or five hundred words of content, and then you’ll include a little bio or some information about you at the bottom of the article, and you might have say three links with keyword-rich anchor text at the bottom of that article, and then you can submit that to a bunch of what are known as ‘article directories,’ which then anybody can download, or maybe they pay to download them, and they’ll use them on their own website. And the theory behind that is that if somebody finds it useful, and puts it on their webpage, then you might get a few links.”

He continues, “Now, in practice, what we’ve seen is this often turns to be a little bit of lower quality stuff, and in fact, we’ve seen more and more instances where you end up with really kind of spammy content getting sprayed and syndicated all over the entire web, so in my particular opinion, article directories and just trying to write one article and just syndicating it wildly or just uploading it to every site in the world, and hoping that everybody else will download it and use it on their website – I wouldn’t necessarily count on that being effective. We certainly have some algorithmic things that would mean that it’s probably a little less likely to be successful now compared to a few years ago, for example. My personal recommendation would be probably not to upload an article like that.”

Google’s Panda update, launched in 2011, had a particularly devastating effect on a lot of article directory sites. It’s hard to imagine anybody being able to get much out of this kind of article submission in the post-Panda world.

In fact, Google is even advising against guest blog posts (for SEO) these days for pretty much the same reasons it advises against article directories. Guest blogging, you would think, would tend to cater a little bit more to the higher quality side of things, but that doesn’t appear to be how Google views it.

Of course, Google’s advice assumes that all the articles you’d upload to a directory would be low quality. There’s no way anyone could ever submit high quality content, right?

Image via YouTube

  • Gav

    You wrote:
    <blockquote>Guest blogging, you would think, would tend to cater a little bit more to the higher quality side of things</blockquote>
    So you would think, but sadly it was jumped all over as the "latest SEO miracle" and spammed to death. People offering guest blogging services for sites that (in my view) were no different from the million and one article sites out there. Just niche-specific, running WordPress and links only in the "author box".

    What is going to be the next "SEO craze" spammed to death?

  • http://www.promodrone.com/ Lee Davis

    First of all, as the owner of a HIGH-QUALITY article directory (open to all, but strictly moderated by myself), I have to opine that Mr. Cutts has misspoken on the subject from the bias of not having been exposed to any (lol!). Hello, Earth to Matt? EzineArticles is one of the highest ranking article directories online currently. If I could have even a fifth of their ranking, I'd be in some cheddar right now (lol!).

  • http://www.MagnaSites.com Pat Marcello

    I agree that uploading to article directories isn't effective in terms of SEO. Distribution isn't effective, I should say. But uploading an article that is 100% unique and that has a canonical link to accompany it is OK, as long as you're submitting to ONE quality directory. It's not really going to get you links, though.

    Directories may help to establish your authority in a niche, but there are much better ways to do that. That's why guest posting in itself isn't a bad idea, but guest posting on low-quality sites or sites that have nothing but UGC (user generated content) isn't effective, either. But… If you're writing for authority sites in your niche, guest posting is great.

    Rae Hoffman wrote about this yesterday <a href="http://www.webpronews.com/google-propaganda-seo-and-why-marketers-need-to-wake-up-2014-01&quot; title="Google Propaganda, SEO and Why Marketers Need to Wake Up">here</a>. Google doesn't always mean what they say. They say what they want us to think.

    I wouldn't waste a lot of time posting to directories, but if you're going to do it, make sure the directory is like Ezine Articles, for example. (I haven't checked for a while, but I think their pages are set up with canonical linking, too. That will make a diff, IMO.) And don't publish the article anywhere else, including your own site.

  • http://www.bizwaremagic.com Titus Hoskins

    You really have to applaud Matt Cutts and Google for being so hypocritical – someone should remind both of them – Google in the early years was built on articles and article marketing which Google now considers for the most part to be spam. Granted, because of Panda and Penguin, webmasters will no longer place articles (regardless of quality) on their sites, but in the past, millions upon millions of articles were syndicated around the web. Guess what folks, most of those articles were surrounded by Adsense Ads and most of them still are…

    Over the years, articles and article marketing helped funnel millions of visitors to Google and contributed billions into Google's coffers. Article writers and article directories and all the web sites which featured those articles help build Google and put it in a position where it can now snub its nose at them.

    As one of those proud article writers, I would greatly appreciate a little "thank you" along with that snub.

    And Google you're welcome!

    • Reuben

      Wonderful thing from Google! Biting the finger that fed it. How hypocritical? That animal has to be tamed somehow.

  • Shiloh

    Isn't it just great that we have "King" Cutts to tell us what we can put on our web pages and what we can and cannot do on the internet. Google has been out of control now for a year or more and the hubris they display is sickening. I honestly have never seen a corporate entity try to dictate what you can do to anything near this degree. I hate governmental intervention but in this case I think its warranted. Google is threatening free speech on the internet by penalizing anyone that does not follow their doctrine.
    This is precedent setting and it should not be tolerated by us.

  • http://www.vayamcs.com Ashish

    I love the way google update the things, this is good for genuine seo's and website owners. Keep doing this…

  • Todd

    I run an article site myself that gets over one million hits per month. Yes, the articles submitted are crappy and I end up deleting 100% of the submissions. I accidently deleted all the active articles and the traffic increased!

    So I says to meself, "self, I think we need to put some adsense ads on here" So that's what I did. In a couple of weeks I'll check to see if all those visitors are making any money for me.

    I search the web for great articles to put on my site, of course giving the author all the credits. I just want an article site with interesting and provacative articles of information that will be helpful to someone.

  • Spook SEO

    <!–td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}–>IF that would be the role, what would be the future of EzineArticle and PrLog? Would Google will pay for the closing fo the website?

  • http://mikecurleymusic.com/ Michael David Curley

    You know I sit there in bed, asking myself about a number of these so called realities to internet marketing. When comment and move, is actually more of my thing.

  • Drew

    Seems to me old style SEO is pretty much dead (and I’ve been involved since the mid-90s). New SEO could be renamed OPR (optimised public relations) where you stop thinking about crappy backlinks and start thinking about clients’ communications objectives and key messages and just use online to genuinely promote your client through the best media. Google will never object to that, so you don’t put months of effort into something that ends up having little (or worse negative) effect!