I attended today a 2-hour Google Webmaster Event (“Tricks and Treats”) hosted by several Google employees and attended by 400+ webmasters around the world. After the presentations, participants can ask questions for Google employees to answer.
Being in the business of information publishing, one question caught my eye — that of article marketing and its impact on Google rankings. One of the common ways to inexpensively market a web site is through article marketing, which entails writing and submitting articles to article directory sites. The goal is to have as many websites use the article thereby building your reputation and getting more links to your site.
Alas, the article marketing strategy has started to show its cracks. Here is the question raised by a participant in the Google Moderator site for the Tricks and Treats event and answered by Google’s head of web spam team Matt Cutts:
“Until recently (the last six months or so) a high ranking was achievable by submitting articles to article directories (providing they were 40%-60% unique), it no longer seems to be the case. Have links from article sites been de-valued at all?”
ANSWER By Matt Cutts:
In my experience, not every article directory site is high-quality. Sometimes you see a ton of articles copied all over the place, and it’s hard to even find original content on the site. The user experience for a lot of those article directory sites can be pretty bad too. So you’d see users landing on those sorts of pages have a bad experience. If you’re thinking of boosting your reputation and getting to be well-known, I might not start as the very first thing with an article directory. Sometimes it’s nice to get to be known a little better before jumping in and submitting a ton of articles as the first thing.
If you must do article marketing, be sure that the directory you will submit your articles are high quality. Submit only to those directories that are selective and reviews the submissions before inclusion in the directory. Avoid article directories that accepts articles from anyone on any topic imaginable.
Google has become smart about article marketing. As the guy who posted the question inferred, article submission may not give you any boost in terms of pagerank and rankings, thereby just wasting your time.
You can read other important search engine lessons — from Googlers themselves — in the Google Moderator page of the Tricks and Treats event