Is Article Marketing Dead?

By Samuel Frost
Is Article Marketing Dead?


If you browse the big Internet Marketing forums like Warrior Forum or Digital Point, there is one question that always pops up: 

“Is article marketing dead?”

Those of us who have been involved with affiliate and Internet marketing for a while probably remember the “glory days” of article marketing. Around 2007/2008, you could make massive profits with just an Ezinearticles account, and a simple landing page or URL redirect to an affiliate offer. 

This approach, immortalized in Travis Sargo’s Bum Marketing Method, involved writing short articles with lots of keywords and a strong call to action in the resource box. The aim was simple; piggyback off the authority of article directories and Web 2.0 sites to get first page rankings, and watch the money roll in.

Then, in 2011, the article marketing world took an almighty sucker punch from a Panda. The Google Panda, to be specific, brought on the end of article directory marketing for most. As Google sought to improve the quality of search results, article directory listings disappeared from the front pages. Many lost incomes and clients overnight, with the fallout still being felt to this day.

But enough with the history lesson- we’re here for a reason. Does article marketing still work? Yes, but you have to get “smart” about it.

It’s no longer enough to write mediocre articles that don’t offer anything of value, and then submit them to article directories hoping for a miraculous first page ranking. Instead, here’s how you should be tackling article marketing in the post-Panda wasteland:

  • Focus on quality – This is the key “metric” for all content these days. No amount of clever SEO or keyword-stuffing is going to be able to replace honest, quality content. Make sure you deliver stellar content that meets the promise of the article headline, and actually offers something of value (for example, if you promise to teach ten cool iPhone hacks, actually teach them, and don’t just waffle for 500 words then point to a landing page) As a caveat, longer articles are not necessarily better quality. Avoid the temptation to pad out a short article with lots of meaningless sentences and “weasel words”, as there is no magical article length that guarantees success.
  • Look for syndication opportunities – There is still lots of power in article marketing, but it comes not from the directories themselves, but actually getting your content syndicated. This means that other webmasters pick up your articles, and republish them on their own blogs or websites. You need to actively encourage syndication by writing articles that deliver massive value to readers.  
  • Here’s a little bonus tip – Search for your article headlines in Google and then visit the sites that have republished your articles. If they look like human-edited websites, and not just automated scraper blogs, contact the admin and offer your articles personally (so they can cut out the middleman directories) In exchange, request that you get to add an anchor text link to your website in the body of the article. Voila- more links from higher quality sources!
  • Move toward guest posting – Reaching out and connecting with quality blogs and bloggers in your niche, and then offering your best (unique) articles as guest posts is a powerful way of leveraging a hybrid form of article marketing.  While everyone else is running around like headless chickens, trying to work out why they aren’t seeing results from article directory marketing, you will be laughing all the way to the bank with a proper guest posting campaign.  Keep an eye on this blog for my next post, which is going to show you how to make the most of guest posting!
  • Research keywords thoroughly - “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”. This rings true when talking about article marketing and preparation. Research your keywords thoroughly, so you are sure that you have the best phrases possible. If you aren’t sure about keyword research then make sure you watch the Affilorama how to do keyword research video. If you can do proper research for your articles, you will experience
  • Put content on your sites first – One of the biggest ways that people were stung by the Google Panda update was through having their original content wiped out of the search engines, because it was all on article directories. It is crucial that you focus on putting quality articles on your own website or blog first, so that you build up a base of content. The ultimate aim is to get your sites ranking well, and not someone else’s! 

Article marketing isn’t dead per se. What has departed is the era of being able to churn out dozens of cookie-cutter articles and submit them to a few article directories, and then forget about it and watch the money roll in.  This is bad for affiliates who want an easy way, but if you are willing to work diligently at creating content then you actually stand to benefit from the drive for better quality.

Rather than writing three or four 300 word articles of ‘average’ quality, spend that time creating one amazing piece of writing that will attract readers, captivate search engine spiders, and generate links to your website. I promise that you will reap the rewards.

How have your experiences with article marketing changed over time? What do you find works effectively in our post-Panda world? I’d love to hear your opinions, comments, or article marketing tips, and I’m sure other Affilorama members would too. Just leave a comment below!

PS: Make sure you are following Affilorama on Google

John Wright 13 years ago
I enjoyed your article and it made a lot of sense to me
Samuel Frost 13 years ago
Thanks very much Jay I'm glad you found it useful
Kari Farmer 13 years ago
I’ve personally always wrote higher quality articles. At least I thought they were. In fact, I’ve wrote so many articles that I should be seeing more than just results. I should be seeing absolute success with them. I’m not though.

I’ve decided to focus more on guest posting this year, as I have seen really good success through guest posts. Between finding good, relevant blogs to post on and using the service My Blog Guest to have people find me – I’m hoping that guest posting will produce something more than just a few people finding my articles in google.

I mean guest posting guesting allows you to get more social media interaction and more interested readers (assuming the blog has some sort of following) and build links through other places besides ezines and whichever lazy person picks your article up to throw on their blog without the resource being intact.

For me – article marketing may not be dead but it is in the hospital in the sick ward.
Samuel Frost 13 years ago
I've no doubt you have been writing quality articles (generally people know the quality of their work!) but I can understand your frustration at not getting success with normal article marketing.

I assume you had been submitting to article directories like Ezinearticles and Articlesbase? Unfortunately, these are on their way out; still useful for a quick blast of traffic and some low value backlinks, but not the silver bullet they once were.

You are definitely right about guest posting being more effective. It does allow greater interaction and the building of meaningful relationships (if you read through my previous blog posts here you can see I'm all about the importance of building relationships with others in your niche)

Because you provided such a great comment, here's a little bonus tip for your guest posting - if you find a great blog that you want to guest post on, start by leaving insightful comments on their posts. I mean you really need to bring a lot of value to the blog here, but keep doing it. This will help build trust between you and the blog owner. THEN approach and ask for a guest posting opportunity. This works really well for large blogs with big readership.

All the best for 2012!
Kari Farmer 13 years ago
Thanks for tip. I would hate to be rejected by the blog owner and lose that opportunity. I will be checking out your other articles as I really need to put the focus on relationships this year.

Thanks again
Samuel Frost 13 years ago
No worries!
Christian Sarono 13 years ago
Amazing! That was really a nice post. I found everything that I needed; it has a lot of great and applicable ideas. And by that, I will recommend this post to my buddies. Thanks for posting useful thoughts.
Samuel Frost 13 years ago
Thanks for your kind comments Christian. I'm glad my advice was helpful for you.
Robert Quinn 12 years ago
Hey Sam, not to just rehash all the comments above, but the article provided incredible value for me. Guest posting seems like an incredibly valuable proposition, especially if you can land one on a big site. I just had a few questions.

Firstly, for the articles that I write for my site (aka the content), you mentioned that I should post them on first on my site, then submit them to directories and other sites second. How long should I wait before proceeding to the second step? In other words, how long will it take the search engines to index those pages and credit me as the owner of that content?

Secondly, for these articles that I write for my site, should I spin them before submitting to article directories and other sites? Or can I submit my articles word for word?

Thirdly, if I am launching a new site, how long should I wait before I begin building backlinks with my articles and other methods? I have heard that if google sees a new site building enough backlinks, it will "sandbox" the site, or effectively eliminate it from the search results.

Sorry for such a long comment. I more than appreciate your feedback, as well as the articles you write here. Your input is worth more than you know.
Samuel Frost 12 years ago
Hi thanks for such a kind comment, I really appreciate it!

With regards to posting your articles first, I would wait at least a few days between posting to your site and then other sites. It depends on how long content takes to get indexed on your site though. For example, my blog posts here on Affilorama are indexed in hours, whereas a new website might take a week or two.

I would suggest you spin them a bit before submitting to other sites and directories. However, the jury is out over whether this is necessary or not. Mark Ling (the "Top Dog" behind Affilorama) recommends spinning. I don't think it's quite so important, as duplicate content is only a problem if it's hosted on the same domain (ie you post the same article more than once on your domain)

I suggest you build a site, wait for it to be indexed (could take a week or two) and then start building links. As long as your link building isn't unnatural or spammy, you'll be fine.



P.S. if you have any other questions just ask.
librezine 12 years ago
I've just started writing articles for 1 month, it's really difficult generally. At first, I recommend you read more before writing.
12 years ago
Got my Articles Directory ban in Google and then now google reconsidered it after I have deleted all the old articles and make it fresh one with moderation rules
tom sneed 12 years ago
Excellent, excellent article. I actually wasn't sure about the importance of guest blogging, because not too many guest blogs had a greater page rank than say ezinearticles or articlesfactory. This piece of writing has caused me to change my whole outlook on article marketing; I will now focud on getting ten more articles on my own site - I currently have about 5 - before re-starting a program of both guest blogging requests and article directory submissions. Thanks a bunch.
Manuel Matienzo 12 years ago
Dear Sam, I have been much encouraged by this post. I am particularly interested in your suggestion to post articles in blogs as a guest in lieu of directories and your kind offer to expand on the topic in a seubsequent post. Have you already done it? If so where can I access it?

Take care,