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