It was predictable and effective and we all knew it. Article Marketing was a reliable way to build quality links and drive significant traffic to web properties. It was a perfect way to augment most any SEO campaign, that is until the Google Farmer/Panda update.
We now face the stark reality that a method revered by many, will be reduced to a mere supplemental method of obtaining links. We knew the day was coming. And to be honest, it took longer than I expected. There had been numerous times in the past where I experienced the game of cat-and-mouse, sifting through multiple search results only to find countless versions of the same regurgitated garbage.
A change was needed to clean up the landscape and Google responded with the Farmer/Panda update.
Even though Google released an official statement on their blog claiming their intent was to find more high-quality sites in search (released only in the United States at this time). It became obvious the Farmer/Panda update was a laser sharp effort to disparage content farms, and claim back the territory they once owned. Good or bad, article directories were a main target of this algorithmic change. And even though collateral damage is inevitable in a change of this magnitude, at the end of the day the Internet will become a better place because of it.
It's still too early to determine the fallout of this seismic algorithmic change, but one thing is clear.
Quality metrics for content and site will be taken to a new level.
Adjustments will be needed to salvage campaigns that relied solely on spinning and mass submission to hundreds, even thousands of article directories.
So where will article marketing fit into the new SEO landscape?
It will likely remain a viable method, but will now contain barriers to entry. Brands will be given priority, and you will need to knock them off their perch by showing superior content and site structure.
Here are some things you will want to consider:
- Deliver only high quality content.
- Become an authority on your chosen niche.
- Publish content on your site.
- Attain a more natural linkage progression.
- Consider reducing the number of article directories used to the top few.
- Theme content through silos.
- Deep link from article directories (not just your home page).
- Social Media integration.
- See opportunity to fill gaps that will be voided.
- Diversify, diversify, diversify.
Quality content will become even more important in the days ahead, especially if you are looking for long-term results. When you choose a niche, be determined to become an authority on it. MFA (Made for Adsense) sites will become a thing of the past.
Article directory links will most likely drop in value, at least for the short-term. Therefore you should consider publishing content on your site, using article directories sparingly. When you do use article directories, consider submitting only to the top few, thereby decreasing your chance of becoming an unwarranted target.
Your objective should be to make your site the primary "owner" of the content, establishing a more natural linking progression in the process. I believe this algorithm change is a precursor of what is more to come, as Google continues to ramp up efforts on low quality/thin sites.
Site structure is most likely another major factor. Theming your content into silos will aid in the overall keyword ranking and allow for easier deep linking. In addition, excessive Ads on your site is considered to be a detriment factor in the Farmer/Panda update.
Social media integration has become a very effective way to diversify and expose your content. Google now observes and uses signals from social media outlets, this will only increase over time with a premium given to those that can produce a “buzz factor.”
Google will always be changing their algorithm, that's a given. Diversification will be the key and ultimately the deciding factor, to long-term success. Never hang your hat on one method of satisfying Google's algorithm, it's a game won by few.
Content will continue to reign as king. This new paradigm shift should be seen as an opportunity to fill the gaps left by the masses. Building an authoritative presence is a long-term effort that produces rewards at the end for those that persevere.