Home Web Marketing Five Reasons Not to Engage in Article Marketing

Five Reasons Not to Engage in Article Marketing

by amol238

article marketing

Defining the Problem, What is Article Marketing?

Matt Cutts gave a fairly good, though not very concise, definition of article marketing;

“…you’re writing an article and you try to include a link at the bottom and you’re hoping a bunch of other people put up copies or mirrors or duplicates of that article and that those links might flow through.”

Matt then added,

“Typically the sorts of sites that just republish these articles are not the highest quality sites.”

Okay, aside from that, why doesn’t article marketing work? Part of the reason is that it these articles don’t rank very well, if at all. As Matt explained, SEO articles often end up on low quality sites.

Consequently, the quality of backlinks they often generate aren’t very helpful. More often, though, articles which are dropped into article directories are often detected and removed by one of various Google filters, so they may never see any kind of ranking, good or bad.

Article directories are full of articles which are marginally readable and not very useful. They were created as vehicles for various keywords and backlinks, not as a source of information or entertainment. As a result, they don’t get Liked on Facebook , submitted to DIGG or mentioned on anyone’s blog.

It seems odd that despite all this, many people still tout article marketing as The Thing to Do. Whether you’re selling Yamaha piano keyboards, Kitchen Aid Mixers, or featuring retouching photoshop strategies, one will try to convince you that article marketing will help your site, and more to the point, they can sell you some software to help you make it happen.

However, I can give you five good reasons why article marketing is no longer a viable marketing strategy.

Problem #1: You Can’t Control Where Your Article is Published

Writers use article directories in the hopes that their articles will be picked up and published on a good quality site. Unfortunately, the minute you press the “Submit” button, you give up all control over who picks up your article or where they put it down.

It would be great if your article were published on a trustworthy site which is in good standings with Google , but the odds are strongly against that. It’s far more likely that your article will end up in some low ranking Google backwater.

Writers who want the kind of backlinks that generate improved Google rankings for their own sites need to retain control over who publishes their articles and where.

Reason #2: Google Filters Eat Duplicate Content

Think for a moment what duplicate content will do to a search engine. If the top 20 search results for a given keyword all contain the same two or three articles, the result is a lot of frustrated users. By 2004, this had become a real problem for Google, and it needed to be fixed.

The folks at Google fixed this problem by upgrading their algorithm with a filter whose job was to remove duplicate content from search results. Fortunately for them, it worked great.

Unfortunately for article marketers, it worked great. Consequently, they could no longer maintain any momentum because they had to keep generating new articles. As a marketing model, it’s rather ineffective;

  1. create or commission articles and submit them
  2. enjoy a fractional improvement in Google ratings
  3. watch your articles get filtered into oblivion
  4. create or commission another article

For years now, I have been discussing article marketing. While a few folks have actually made some money from this practice, most have not. In any event, they could have made more money and made it much easier by not attempting to take on the Google filters.

Given that Google doesn’t care for duplicate content, and article directories are designed to generate duplicate content, it’s only reasonable that Google has singled them out for special attention.

Reason #3: Google Filters Eat Duplicate Anchor Text

Timing can be a beautiful thing.

A frustrated article marketer just called me with a question. He had been attempting to improve his site’s Google rankings by shooting out backlinked articles to different article directories.

He intended to improve his site’s rankings for the keyword phrase “Lasik eye surgery ”, so he asked me why his site had plummeted from Google’s page three to page thirty for that phrase.

That must have been a pretty hard thump.

I asked a few questions and discovered that he used several different articles and sent them out to on hundred different article directories. The problem was, he used the exact same anchor text in each article to backlink to his site; “ Lasik eye surgery ”. I found the problem pretty quickly. More to the point, so did Matt Cutts and the folks at Google.

Think this through for a minute. If eight random webmasters published a blog or article that linked back to your website, what are the chances that they would all use the keyword phrase, photo retouchers as the anchor text?

Naturally, the chances are pretty slim.

It follows, then, that the chances of a hundred website owners using the same anchor text to link to the same website are slim to the point of being nonexistent. The folks at Google are fully aware of this, and they see such an anomaly for exactly what it is, a clumsy attempt to manipulate their site’s Google rankings.

Not surprisingly, Google has no patience for this kind of behavior, and they have a simple and effective fix. They ensure that the web page in question never sees daylight, let alone a decent Google ranking for that keyword phrase.

Danger Signal #4: Google Filters Don’t Like Bad Neighborhoods

For the purposes of SEO marketing , there is such a thing as a bad neighborhood. Your virtual neighborhood is made up of the sites that link to you as well as the sites you link to.

In the brick-and-mortar world, real property values are affected by the location of a home as much as the “value” of the home itself. In the same manner, your website’s neighborhood could affect your rankings on Google searches.

Please don’t think this is an accidental byproduct of the algorithm, and a “fixable” one at that. Matt Cutts made it clear in a recent announcement that your websites rankings could be negatively impacted by who was linking to you, and this was being done on purpose by Google.

That settles it.

Submitting your articles to article directories causes far more trouble than you want to deal with. It opens your site up to penalties based on duplicate content, duplicate anchor text, and worst of all, links from low quality websites, which you won’t even have any control over.

Reason #5: Google Filters are Designed to Stop Article Marketing

Google’s recent spam-fighting upgrade for their algorithm is called the Panda update , and it will be a game-changer for article marketers.

Despite this, I have since been assured that “article marketing still works”.


Link partnering, duplicate content, scraper sites and article spinning all worked once, too. These techniques have since been addressed by Google, which is corporate-speak for “they don’t work anymore!”

Article marketing can only “work” if marketers keep employing a steady stream of ways to work around the Google filters, which means it never really “worked” to begin with.

Article marketing never was, and never will be, an effective use of your time or money.

All of the ingenuity, effort and cash which article marketers have poured into these short lived strategies has been wasted. Okay, a few people have benefited in the long run, but the typical article marketer must constantly keep reinventing his strategy.

Someone wondered aloud to Matt Cutts “…if he recommends article article marketing as an SEO strategy?” He simply answered

“…so if I had to make a prophecy or forecast about how Google feels or how search engines feel about them in general, the trend that I am hearing and the sort of complaints that I am hearing are that people are not huge fans of article marketing and don’t view it as an incredible value add in terms of the content that gets added to the web.”

Our friend Matt has a strange sense of humor.

When he makes a statement like, “So if I had to make a prophecy or forecast…” remember that he gets paid to protect Google from search engine spam – which is often generated by article marketing..

He is totally aware of Google’s feelings toward article marketing, and what Google plans to do about it.

Eliminate it.

Granted, some folks could assume that Matt is providing a rosy picture for shareholders rather than veiled threats toward article marketers. On the other hand, how often do you have to look even as far as page two of the Google search results to find what you we’re looking for?

Do you remember trying to look for information on AltaVista, WebCrawler or Excite? Google has accomplished much in the past few years.

The bottom line is that article marketing pollutes search results with millions of unreadable, uninformative fluff pieces. Since it is in Google’s interest to eliminate such content, what kind of chance will you have against the next algorithm update?

Is Article Marketing Worth Your Time?

At one time, article marketing was an effective business tool. I believe is was during one weekend in early 2005. Since then, however, Google has become very adept at seeking out and destroying any content that remotely resembles search engine manipulation.

If you are looking for an expensive and time consuming hobby, then perhaps article marketing could keep you busy during a long winter. On the other hand, if you are looking for an effective, sustainable marketing strategy, it’s time to move on.

I would welcome your thoughts on this matter.

This is a guest post by James Martell, you can check out the guidelines to guest post here.

Image Credit: Pocket Hyena

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Melvin July 24, 2011 - 11:19 am

If we were talking about 3 and more years ago then I would definitely do it. Back then, article marketing not only gives your search rankings a boost, but also gives you highly qualified readers.

These days its like Google’s algorithm has been becoming more and more against article marketing people. They’ve done some tweaks that have made article marketing not worth doing it anymore.

ZK July 24, 2011 - 12:36 pm

The new Panda change has impacted article sites to a great extent, you don’t see an ezine article on top of searches the way it was before the Panda change..

James Martell August 2, 2011 - 2:16 pm

Yes, I agree I do run the odd article in ezine but they no longer are a dominating factor

Anima Farway July 25, 2011 - 7:08 am

I think Article marketing is nice concept for SEO as it will help to put relevant traffic as well as increase the traffic on your site .
We are still following this …

James Martell August 2, 2011 - 2:15 pm

I can’t see I agree for all the reasons I mentioned in the article above

Wordpress Plugins July 25, 2011 - 4:09 pm

I still believe that article marketing works but Google is definitely giving less importance to it. Obviously article marketing should only be part of one’s strategy as having the right mix is the trick.

Kavya Hari July 26, 2011 - 2:59 am

Article marketing is one of the most important tool in web. And, its working well on here too 🙂 Thank you so much for given your post on here 🙂

Wheatena July 26, 2011 - 11:51 am

Didn’t really care much for article marketing anyway. It just cluttered results and you’re right, makes people feel frustrated. Glad that Google cleaned this up and acted on it right away. .

James Martell August 2, 2011 - 2:13 pm

Yes I agree. The SERPs really did need to be cleaned up. Its great to see that Google is finally dealing with this. I must say that were way overdue.

Safe and Sound Property Inspections July 26, 2011 - 4:46 pm

Hey Guys,

I believe that article marketing is for sure a dying marketing on the internet and it is just moving into the Web 2.0 properties stages, with much more customization, etc.

Thanks for a great article

julian July 26, 2011 - 7:54 pm

this is true, google punishes any type of repetion.

Miniclip July 27, 2011 - 4:01 am

not punishes if you have good backlinks and site old!

Krinal Mehta July 27, 2011 - 5:53 am

Haven’t really been a great fan of Article Marketing, so let go the past. If you had a low quality website and have felt the Panda Heat then you know what James is talking about.

James, do you think the same applies to Press Releases ?

James Martell August 2, 2011 - 2:10 pm

Hi Krinal,

Good question, if its a legitimate press release being distributed to a legitimate distribution service its fine. A press release is typically loaded with the who, what, where, why and when.

Whereas a typical article marketing “article” is so content thin that it does not compare. These thin articles are also typically submitted on mass to crap sites. Never a good idea.


Nowicki July 27, 2011 - 10:50 am

Article marketing still useful. patience is essential if implementing
this strategies.. nice post!

iPhone 6 Blog July 27, 2011 - 1:03 pm

I had a complete different experience.In a couple of days after I succesfully submitted article of one of my site,my site jumped from 2nd Page to 3rd Rank and it is still there after couple of weeks have passed.

Classified Software August 3, 2011 - 12:51 am

It’s great, but I don’t think that your PR was so strongly connected with this article. The fact is PR update took place and a lot of websites got their positive changes in their PR.

Bob Erwin July 27, 2011 - 1:38 pm

Good article. Yes article marketing on a wide scale will be slapped by Google hard.

But well written articles placed on high authority site (like yours, like this site) work.

James: What else would you suggest as effective link building?

James Martell August 6, 2011 - 11:31 pm

Hi Bob,

I personally love this new era of guest blogging. I find it is a great way to not only get exposure to a new audience, but to also get the backlinks. It’s really all that’s needed.


Felicia @ No Deposit Poker July 27, 2011 - 11:35 pm

Hi James,
If you are doing article marketing and submitting it to article directories to get backlinks, that probably wouldn’t work nowadays. However, if you are doing article marketing for you niche and publishing high quality articles on your site, then you are likely to be favored by Google and not be dismissed. This is why bloggers try to publish more than one post per week to get the attention of Google crawlers.

James Martell August 6, 2011 - 11:34 pm

Hi Felicia,

I agree. It’s the mass blasting of low quality articles to the article directories that I suggesting to avoid. Writing a quality article and offering it to another webmaster who publishes it is a great way to go!


DD July 28, 2011 - 12:35 am

The time I decided on doing article submission was when I heard google changed its algorithm. I am currently doing what you have suggested about creating article about a good niche. I use different keyword tools to find out if a niche has potential and I would create a unique content.. I don’t submit it, instead I post it on my site. I just have to make related articles with related niche of my main keyword.

Mindy @ Competition Diet July 29, 2011 - 12:44 am

I have done a small amount of article marketing and received some traffic because of it. If you are an expert in your niche, and write quality articles that provide good information I don’t see how that can hurt you or waste your time.

Carl August 2, 2011 - 8:52 pm

I agree – IF you are an expert in a niche, AND your article is actually well written and informative, it could work. Problem is, there is 1 article like that for every million out there. Hence, Google doesn’t like it.

James Martell August 6, 2011 - 11:35 pm

Agreed. It’s all about placing a quality article on another quality website.

DD August 3, 2011 - 1:51 pm

The time I decided on doing article submission was when I heard google changed its algorithm. I am currently doing what you have suggested about creating articles about a good niche. I use different tools to find out if a niche has potential and I would create unique content. I don’t submit it, I just post it on my site. I just have to make related articles with related niche of my main keyword.

SEO Boston August 4, 2011 - 10:30 am

Unfortunately, Google seems to be in a constant state of change which makes it hard for anybody to get a good grip on what may be working at the present time. Article marketing was once an excellent way to improve a website ranking. However, things have drastically changed. However, I does make sense to create articles that are niche specific as this article recommends.

James Martell August 6, 2011 - 11:40 pm

As I see it article marketing was doomed from the very beginning because of two things:

1.) low quality content
2.) duplicated on low quality websites

The sad part about it is that it never was “an excellent way to improve a website ranking”. It took Google a while to deal with it, but this method of “marketing” was easy to see that it wouldn’t last.

Google doesn’t like crappy content, especially when it’s duplicated on crappy website on mass all over the Internet.

The one BIG thing to keep in mind in my opinion is just because it’s working now — doesn’t mean it’ll work in the future.

One thing you can stand on firmly though is you will be rewarded for creating quality content.



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