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What is Article Marketing? Does Article Marketing Still Work in 2013?

Updated on January 1, 2014

What is Article Marketing Introduction

"What is article marketing?" is a common question for anyone who is seeking to start a small business online working from home. Because if you are one of those people you will probably have read that article marketing is a worthwhile strategy to pursue, especially if you are limited in financial resources at the outset.

This page will explain what article marketing is and will save you a lot of time, hard work, and heartache if you are thinking about getting involved in article marketing in order to start at work at home type business. There is another version of article marketing as it was traditionally understood called "article syndication" which is also covered on this page.

Article Marketing and Article Directory Sites-How Article Marketing Works

The starting point for understanding article marketing as an online promotional strategy or technique is to understand what article directory sites are.

Sites like EzineArticles.com, ArticlesBase.com, GoArticles.com, Buzzle.com, ArticleAlley.com, ArticleSnatch.com, Helium.com, ArticleDashboard.com are article directories. There are thousands of such directories but these are the most popular ones.

These sites allow you to open a free account and submit articles for publication. So your article will be published on EzineArticles.com for example and in addition other website/blog owners can reproduce your article on their website.

In return for the free content that you provide to the article directory you are allowed a back link or two back to your website or blog at the end of your submitted article in a "resource box".

So you might write a nice article about a particular problem that people have such as how to lose weight. In your resource box you would tell the reader where they can get more useful information about this problem by visiting your website or blog.

And they can visit your site then by clicking on the link in your resource box.
Now, if other website owners choose to reproduce your article on their website theoretically you can obtain new visitors to your website from the article directory itself and from the other sites that choose to publish your article on their site.

Once the visitor visits your site you have the opportunity to sell them a product, sign them up as subscribers, or send them to an affiliate site like Amazon.com or Clickbank.com.

This is how article marketing works in theory but does it actually work in practice?
Read on..

Google Dumps Article Directory Sites in 2012

Up to 2012 article marketing, as explained above, worked very, very well.

However 2012 saw huge changes with Google rolling out a series of algorithm updates and changes like the Panda and Penguin updates.

These changes saw many, many article directory type sites being very badly damaged with their search engine rankings and traffic plummeting to catastrophically low levels. The top three sites, EzineArticles.com, ArticlesBase.com, and GoArticles.com were very badly hit.

Here is an example of the drop in traffic to many of the leading sites.
wisegeek.com -77%
ezinearticles.com -90%
suite101.com -94%
hubpages.com -87%
yourdictionary.com -74%
brothersoft.com -66%
buzzle.com -85%
associatedcontent.com -93%
freedownloadscenter.com -90%
essortment.com -91%
fixya.com -80%
americantowns.com -91%
lovetoknow.com -83%
articlesbase.com -94%
howtodothings.com -84%
mahalo.com -84%
wrongdiagnosis.com -73%
findarticles.com -90%

Domain Visibility Index Loss SISTRIX (percentage loss)
Source: www.sistrix.com

It is pretty apparent that this drop in traffic numbers to these sites has had a very detrimental knock on effect on the articles submitted by people trying to succeed online through article marketing.

Because not only has the traffic to article marketers' sites dropped dramatically, the potential for your articles to be republished on other websites has been wiped out due to nobody actually viewing or reading them.

And if you head over to a site like EzineArticles.com and check the viewing numbers for recently published articles you will see that the figures are shockingly bad.

The sad fact is that many people are still pursuing this failed strategy because it worked in the past. But when it comes to search engine optimization and search engine rankings things move pretty quickly.

The people who are still pursuing article marketing as outlined above have simply not moved with the times and failed to take into account the huge changes which have occurred in the last 12 months in search engine optimization and changes rolled out by Google.

If you are going to pursue an article marketing strategy you really will have to write great content, or have it written for you. But you need to ensure that if you decide to outsource your content creation requirements that you engage the services of a good writer.

If you are going to buy articles feel free to contact me.

Although I am usually pretty busy, I might be able to fit you in.

(Wikipedia will give you a good background to article syndication and article marketing generally if all of this is new to you.)

What is the Alternative to Article Marketing?

The alternative to the failed article marketing ploy is to publish your articles and great content..on your own site.

Controlling your own web property and ensuring that your hard work and time spent writing quality content is essential to succeeding online.

There are a number of advantages to this strategy including:

1. your content is unique and can only be found on your website which means that you will rank well in the search engines and you won't have to worry about being outranked by another version of your article on someone else's website or by the article directory to which you may have submitted your hard work;

2. you have complete control.
Let me explain: when you publish an article on EziineArticles.com there are a lot of obstacles in the way of your reader clicking through to your website. For example, Adsense blocks which EzineArticles.com monetize their site through the Google Adsense program and all of these advertisements can suck away potential visitors to your website if the reader is distracted and clicks on one of them.

3. you don't have to worry about another version of your article ranking higher in the search engines than the version on your website.
Remember Google will rank the version which they consider most relevant to the searcher's query, not necessarily your version or the version that was indexed first. (Source: Google.com)

4. you don't have to worry about having your website penalized by Google for trying to obtain search engine optimization benefits from submission of lots of articles to article directories.

In 2012 for the 1st time Google confirmed that seeking to manipulate search engine rankings of your website through the use of article marketing will see your site penalized.(See this post on the useful Typepad blog to learn what Google's John Mu has said)

This is of enormous significance because for many years article marketers thought that even if there was no benefit from an seo perspective then at least there was no harm and this strategy could not hurt their sites. This is no longer the case as confirmed by Google.

This hub about seo tells you more about building a website that will rank well in the search engines, gain top rankings, and almost guarantee your success online if you are prepared to work hard.

And you will have a website that you can genuinely be proud of packed with unique, helpful, and informative content for your visitors which will be a genuine asset in your goal of working from home in 2013.

Article Syndication-The False Alternative

When the strategy of trying to get traffic and online sales through article marketing began to falter and fall through the floor after Google cottoned on some self appointed "gurus" on the Warrior Forum and elsewhere shifted tack.

They began to trumpet what they described as a more "sophisticated" version of article marketing called article syndication.

Fakers like Alexa Smith and Paul Uhl began to make completely outrageous and unsubstantiated claims about this "new form" of spamming the internet with duplicate copies of the same article.

And the desperate and the naïve flocked to believe..because they need to believe in something to keep the dream alive of making lots of money on the internet with minimum investment of time and money.

They too have found the same pathetic results.

You can read more about the article syndication scam here.

Despite warnings from reputable websites like SeoMoz.org and Google webmasters central about the damage you will inflict on your website by distributing multiple copies of the same article all across the internet many people find out the hard way..when their site disappears from the search engine rankings and traffic plummets.

Steve Wagenheim Admits Article Marketing No Longer Works

Steve Wagenheim of the Warrior Forum has been a long time advocate of article marketing, particularly using EzineArticles.com as a platform.

He has recently admitted on the Warrior Forum that article marketing no longer works and he is, in fact, broke.

This is a man who made a lot of money, according to himself anyway, telling others how good article marketing was to promote affiliate products, running a business online, etc.

In conclusion, if you think that article marketing works in 2013 you are making a big mistake. You rin the risk of wasting a huge amount of time and money writing stuff that nobody will read on article directory sites like GoArticles.com, ArticlesBase.com, EzineArticles.com, and so forth.

Does Google Recommend Article Marketing?

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© 2013 Ernest Hemingway III

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    • Tat808 profile image

      Caroline Smith 3 years ago from Montclair, New Jersey

      Great hub. Thanks for the info. I agree the best way to rank now is to roll up one's sleeves and build an authority site. Thanks for the links