I’ll let you in on a little secret – for traffic generation purposes “traditional” article directories are all but dead. Early in 2011, they had a nasty encounter with a raging Panda; the Google Panda, to be specific. Gone are the days of getting thousands (if not more) of article reads on article directories, as well as masses of traffic through our resource boxes.
Here’s a personal anecdote – between 2008 and the start of 2011, I wrote and submitted around 450 articles to Ezinearticles.com (under various noms de plume, I might add) At the turn of 2011 I had amassed over 1.1 million views of all my articles, and around 350,000 resource box clicks. Fast-forward a year, and this figure is just over 1.25 million views and 372,000 click throughs. What happened? Google Panda happened.
So does that mean that there are no easy ways to get traffic by submitting simple articles to 3rd party websites?
Of course not, and today I’m going to show you one of my “hidden gems” of traffic generation. I’m talking about getting traffic with document sharing sites.
These are sites like:
- Here’s a list of 29 document sharing sites (I can’t personally vouch for all of them, but take a look for yourself)
They allow users to upload documents in a variety of formats, including Word (*.doc) Open Office Word (*.odt) and the venerable PDF (*.pdf)
Now most people use document sharing sites for, well sharing documents with friends and family, or finding papers and research documents for college or university work. Think of these document sharing sites as “public” cloud storage for basic text-based files.
Over time, these document sharing sites have grown to become very large, and have a lot of inbound links. This means they have high PageRank, and often rank very well in the search engines for keyword phrases.
What I’m saying here is that you can upload your keyword-based articles to document sharing sites, and rank highly in the search engines.
Here are what I see as the benefits of posting your articles to document sharing sites:
- You can get indexed in Google very quickly
- Add images and flashy formatting to your articles (this can boost click through rates)
- Create your document and upload to multiple document sharing sites for more traffic and views (I’ll explain why this ISN’T duplicate content in a second)
- Easily add affiliate links into your articles.
Document Sharing Sites & Duplicate Content
I mentioned above that you can write one article, let’s say I’ve written an article called “Muhammad Ali Memorabilia”, and submit it to multiple document sharing sites. My “Muhammad Ali Memorabilia” article could quite feasibly rank for multiple positions on the front page of Google on more than one document sharing site, even if I don’t reword any of the content.
This is due to the way that search engines look at documents on sites like Scribd and DocStoc – they don’t place so much emphasis on the article itself, because of the way they are displayed in a special format. Instead, search engines tend to look at the description, tags, title, and any accompanying notes/comments. This means you can write one article, submit it to 3 document sharing sites, and then use variations in title, description, and tags for the lot of them.
You should still keyword optimize your articles properly, as there are some arguments to suggest that search engines are learning to read these specially displayed documents, and keyword-researched articles tend to have better click through rates anyway.
Document Sharing Sites & Backlinks
One area where document sharing sites fall short of the mark is in providing backlinks. Because search engines cannot properly “read” an article posted to a site like Scribd, any links you create back to your own site(s) will not be counted.
What I’m saying here is that there is little SEO benefit in submitting articles to document sharing sites; your aim should instead be generating lots of traffic to your main site or affiliate links.
How to Create a Document
Creating a document-based article to upload to sites like Scribd or DocStoc is easy. Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Research your keywords, like you would with a normal article.
- Create a blank Word or Open Office Word file.
- Write a quality article of at least 400 words. Remember that list-based articles are very popular.
- Write a resource box at the end of the article, like you normally would. Remember to add a strong call to action to encourage people to click through to your website or affiliate offer.
- Add links throughout the document. With my Muhammad Ali Memorabilia article I could add an Amazon Associates link for each product I mention, for example.
- Add images to spice up your document; make sure you use text wrapping. You can hyperlink images as well.
- Use fonts, colors, and text highlighting to draw attention and make your article more attractive to read.
- Save it and upload to document sites like Scribd, DocStoc, and SlideShare (even though SlideShare is meant for Powerpoint presentations, it still accepts Word files without needing any editing)
- Rinse and repeat for more keywords.
It really is that easy.
Document Sharing Tips for More Traffic & Sales
Here are some of my best “insider tips” for getting more traffic with document sharing sites:
- Save your file name as your keyword. For example, my “Muhammad Ali Memorabilia” article could be saved as something like Muhammad-ali-memorabilia.doc
- Experiment with different file types. Sometimes you will find that PDF files tend to rank better than DOC files, or vice versa. I can’t understand the logic or process behind this, but have noticed myself.
- Write a detailed document description that is at least 100 words long, and features your main keyword + variations. Remember that search engines will look here to understand what your document contains.
- Add plenty of tags (keyword variations)
- Write a descriptive and interesting title. For example, something like “7 of the Greatest Muhammad Ali Memorabilia” (boxing fans will understand this little joke, and be more inclined to click)
- Put links throughout your article – not just in the resource box at the end. You should have a link or two near the start of your article, as well as a prominent resource box.
- Use a larger font when writing (at least 16 point) as your documents will display much smaller online, unless visitors opt to view in full-screen mode.
Getting traffic with document sharing sites really isn’t that difficult. I wouldn’t spend hours and hours every day submitting to them, because there is little SEO benefit for your main website. However, if you spend 30 minutes a day for a month writing and submitting to document sharing sites (and make sure you optimize your articles for high rankings) then you should definitely notice a big boost in traffic and sales!
An article submitted to somewhere like DocStoc, and that has been properly optimized, can easily rocket to the front page of Google in a couple of days.
One final tip – start by hunting out low competition, long-tail keywords to build your confidence and see faster results.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on using document sharing sites to generate traffic. Just leave a comment to join the discussion!