Writing on-topic articles and distributing them among the publishers who seek content has been a proven internet marketing method. You may in doubt but no matter what your subject is, you will always find publishers who are willing to publish your articles. It’s because of the growing nature of the internet. Some webmasters just become unable to produce content and rely on others’ content. Some just need to include the ones that they think would be helpful to their audience. There are set of established article directories that you can submit your article, so that publishers would find them.
You don’t have to have an established online career to write articles. But you surely need to have a matured knowledge on your subject. That will produce high quality articles that other webmasters are willing to publish. The return includes in the Bio Box (few lines describing the author) of your articles that carries with each of your article. This usually includes a link back to your site and any webmaster who publishes your article has to keep it intact.
Effectiveness of Article Marketing
Main advantages of Article Marketing are branding, traffic and link building. When you distribute articles, you are naturally concerned as an expert in your subject. You may get traffic from article directories you submitted as well as from the web sites who publish them. But the traffic will go down when your articles are getting old.
Link popularity you gain will remain a considerable amount of time. Article directories usually delete articles after a certain time period (usually 6-18 months) but web sites that syndicate wouldn’t. However SEs will identify that same article appears everywhere and the value you get from links in them will decrease.
But the bang you make can bring more natural links. Any webmaster who publishes your articles will feel respect and will point his audience to you when you have addressed something better than him. As you can feel, none of this is permanent. You need to do it repeatedly to see a continuous effect. Position it in your marketing arsenal depending on the time and money you can spend on it.
Content of Articles
You can reproduce articles from your web site or create brand new articles or you can higher someone to produces articles for you. The main purpose of your articles should be to give something valuable to the reader. A dull article will only waste your time. Think about the facts that people in your subject pay attention. A proven way is to give how-tos. Anyone likes to know how to get something done that he faced difficulties.
Another way is talking about importance. You can point out something effective that people have left off. You will come to your best articles with the practice. To get started, examine some already published articles. You can get articles in variety of subjects at EzineArticles.com, a major article directory. It has also got a long list of editorial guidelines which are applicable for any article directory. As a rule of thumb, avoid self promotion and affiliate links within the article body. General word count is about 300-800.
This is where you need labor. Even though there are article distribution services that would do it for you, you will always have to distribute them manually for maximum exposure and to find out which article directories work. Some directories inform the approval of your article via email. If you are going to heavily involve, it would be better to set a separate email address for it (like firstname.lastname@example.org) so that you can easily recognize them. In registrations, article directories ask First Name, Last Name, Postal Address etc. You can use Google Toolbar’s AutoFill feature to avoid repeated typing.
Article directories usually ask the Title, Summary, Body, Bio Box (also called Resource Box or Byline) and associating keywords at submission. So order them in a text file before starting your submission. Almost all article directories review submitted articles before publishing. This can take up to a week or more.
Your Bio Box is where you get return on investment. So pay well attention to it. Describe yourself and your business in 2, 3 lines in 3rd person. That is like The author….. not like I am…. You can add one or two links to your site depending on the article directory you submit. Most of the directories prefer plain text while some allows HTML that allows you to hyperlink keywords which is a good practice in search engine optimization.
In this case, prepare several Bio Boxes with different keywords hyperlinked and rotate them in submission because repeating same keywords in incoming links is not a good SEO practice. If not mentioned, you will have to decide which type to use depending on the distribution of article directory. If it’s an email group that broadcast articles to its members then you better use plain text because HTML code won’t work in emails. Below are 2 Bio Boxes I used, one in HTML and the other in plain text. In plain text, it is always better to include only one link and capitalize appropriate letters in the URL.
The author Gayanath Jayarathne maintains a set of detailed Home Business Articles at his web site that educate newbies. You can continuously get them by subscribing to his Home Business News Channel.
There are many established article directories out there and new ones pop up regularly. Submitting to all these directories is not possible and effective. You can use Alexa Rank and Google Page Rank as measurements. Generally a directory with PR4 or higher is worth a try. Chetan has listed a long list of article directories in his blog based on Google Page Rank. But those links are not active. To get active links and lots of other contributions, visit his post at Digital Point forum.
iSnare which also offers free article distribution has a paid distribution service where it promises higher exposure (40,000 publishers). It has got number of packages. You can start with $10 which lets you submit 5 articles and measure the effectiveness. Remember that this 40,000 includes publishers (or just subscribers) in all subjects and your article will be delivered only to relevant groups.
However just say it’s 2,000, it’s a high number that is too tedious to achieve alone. Its main distribution points are email groups. So, you better use plain text version. To measure the effectiveness, just wait some time (2-3 weeks) before submitting to other article directories.
Frequency of Article Distribution
It is always great to write and distribute articles whenever you can. But be careful. Don’t reproduce every article in your web site because you won’t have your own identity. You also have to consider the quality of your articles. If it takes time, take it and make it great. You will also be bounded by the number of article directories to submit. As a benchmark, one quality article per week and submitting it to 10 article directories per each day of next week will be manageable and profitable (specially in link building aspect)
Using Ghost Authors
You should always try to write articles yourself. It is important to brand your voice. However if you are too buried or don’t have knowledge to write on it then you can hire someone else, a Ghost Writer to get it done. The name has been famous because usually people get done an article and distribute it with their own bio boxes as they wrote it.
This won’t be illegal depending on the agreement between the writer and you. But it may affect the branding of your voice because people will easily recognize the writing style of you two. If this is a concern to you, try to reveal his identity in Bio Boxes like The author Jack Bauer is an invited writer at …… You can get done Ghost Writer projects at Elance. Usual rate is $5 per article. Need An Article is a paid service which promises range of expert authors. Ask whether they have authors in your subject before registering.
Tracking Published Articles
You article will get a good circulation after about 2 weeks of distributing (after accepting by article directories). To track the progress, do an exact search (wrapping the search term in double quotes) for the title of your article in desired search engine. I use HomeBizPal Keyword Profitability Search for this. By pasting the title once, I can do the search for all three major search engines in same window. If any webmaster hasn’t included your Bio Box, remind them via a polite email.
After seeing the places your article published, if a certain webmaster has given a prominent placement for your article and he is in your subject then he can be a great prospect. Contact him and ask whether you can send him future articles. By building this kind of list, you can get a guaranteed exposure. But be aware that it is time consuming and don’t go after everyone.
Some directories like EzineArticles.com give a prominent place to popular articles and list them in related articles (usually at the end). You can keep a page in your web site to list summaries of your articles and link them to full articles in desired article directory. Mention them as free content other web masters can syndicate. This can help you get that extra exposure and also it will increase the Google Page Rank you get from those articles.
Duplicate Content Penalty
There is a school of thought about duplication penalty where web masters think that they will get negative effects by distributing/publishing articles. In a Google Webmaster Blog Post, Google addressed it.
Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, make sure they include a link back to the original article on each syndicated article. Even with that, note that we’ll always show the (unblocked) version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.
This means that you won’t get any penalty as the author as long as you take care to keep Bio Box (with backlinks) in your published articles. Publishers will also not get a penalty, rather Google won’t give any credit to them.
The meaning of “Even with that,” part is, if you distribute an article and a site with higher SEO facts (Most of the time Google Page Rank will be the fact) publishes it, Google will show that publication in search results over the one in your site. That’s why sometimes you see articles submitted to EzineArticles.com etc outperform original publication in search results. However Google will still recognize you as the source through the Bio Boxes in syndicated articles.
If you are reproducing articles from your site (some directories accept only fresh articles) always try to make them little bit different and keep the original one in your site 2,3 weeks to be available to SEs, so that they will recognize you as the author.
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