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Why Article Marketing No Longer Works and What You Can Do About It

Updated on January 1, 2014

Article Marketing Failure

Article Marketing Destroyed By Google in 2012

The promotional strategy of article marketing was a very successful one up to 2012. However Google changed the landscape of online promotion by way of article marketing in 2011/2012 by rolling out a large number of Google algorithm changes.

The most significant of these algorithm changes and updates were Panda and Penguin

The net effect of these changes was to devalue very significantly the value of pages/articles on article directory sites like EzineArticles.com, ArticlesBase.com and all of the other article directories.

The impact for online business owners and affiliate marketers was truly dramatic.

Articles submitted to these sites, which up to then might have ranked very well in the search engines and delivered a lot of traffic to your website, were now nowhere to be found in the search results pages of Google, Bing, and the other search engines.

Articles submitted to Ezinearticles.com which might have attracted hundreds of views with the knock on benefit of sending that traffic to your website if your resource box was sufficiently compelling are now getting paltry numbers of views.

You can check this for yourself quite easily. Just head over to ArticlesBase.com or EzineArticles.com and you scroll to the bottom of the page of any article you choose.

Check two things: the date the article submitted and the number of views. What you will see will shock you because it is almost certain that if the article was submitted in 2012 or later the viewing figures will be appallingly bad.

Now, keep in mind that one of the benefits of submitting articles to article directories in the past was the possibility of your article being picked up by other webmasters and republished on their website. This type of syndication could lead to other significant sources of traffic back to your website, provided those sites had good traffic figures to begin with.

It is clear now that if your “viewing” figures for your articles have plummeted the likelihood of syndication by other webmasters will also have fallen through the floor.

Let’s face it: if nobody views your article, nobody is going to republish it.

And it gets even worse if you rely on article marketing as a strategy to promote products for which you are an affiliate or to attempt to attract searchers back to your own website.

Because for the first time ever Google confirmed in 2012 that submitting articles to poor quality sites, and Google now has article directory sites firmly in it’s sights, can actually damage your website in Google’s eyes.

Many article marketers, who recognized that Google may not be too enamored with article marketing as an attempt to manipulate its search results and page rank numbers, were happy to plod along with the strategy on the basis that “it cannot do any harm to my site”.

This is no longer the case.

Take a look at this discussion on a Google chat forum in which a Google employee confirms to a website owner that the problem for her site is the back links she is getting.

And he further points the finger at an article of hers on EzineArticles.com as being one of her problem backlinks (see below).

John Mu's Google Plus Profile

John Mueller, Google Employee Confirms Damage from Article Marketing

John Mu is a Google employee and moderator of one of the forums at Google Webmaster Central.

In the thread referred to above on the Google Groups Webmaster Forum for the first time, Mu confirms to a questioner that one of the causes of her website domain being penalized is the presence of backlinks from sites like Ezine Articles.com

He even goes so far as to give him/her a link to the article in question.

Here is a link to the article: http://ezinearticles.com/?A-Guide-To-Using-Twitter-For-Marketing-Your-Business&id=5363564

It is not actually a bad article but the very existence of this article and backlinks back to the questioners site is what causes the harm in Google's eyes.

Why?

Because it breaks one of the cardinal rules of Google webmaster guidelines-the attempt to manipulate page rank or popularity by obtaining forced or contrived back links.

Can you imagine the damage caused to your site by multiple, even hundreds, articles from article directories like EzineArticles.com, GoArticles.com, ArticlesBase.com etc.

Article Marketing-Google's Warning

Warrior Forum Internet Marketing Forum

Internet Marketing Forums and Article Marketing Propaganda

Internet marketing forums like WarriorForum.com have many, many members who are supporters of article marketing as a viable and good strategy of promotion online.

However most of these members make their income from selling the “picks and shovels” of article marketing campaigns to people like you.

They supply “content”, articles, article submission services, article spinning services and so forth.

This is why you need to be careful about where you get your information and how much weight or importance you attribute to it.

Because many people who will still insist that article marketing still works have, quite frankly, a vested interest in making you believe this.

Google's Recommendations for Quality Content

The Article Marketing Failure-How To Overcome This Problem

It is clear, and Google tells us, that their incessant striving for improvements in the search engine results pages that you need to publish quality content.

However “quality content” can be a subjective concept and many website owners struggle to understand what Google actually consider to be quality content.

Thankfully Google helps you out here because it spells out quite clearly what it considers to be quality, informative, and useful content that is likely to rank well. And this type of content is unlikely to be found on article directory sites, according to Google.

(Here are Google's guidelines for quality content from it's webspam team.)

A solution to the problem of a failing article marketing strategy is to concentrate and focus on building a quality, authority site of your own and publish your best content there.

To build an authority site you will need to commit to publishing authority content. This can be time consuming and if you don't want to do this yourself you can always outsource it.

However, you need to be careful that you procure the services of a good web content writing service from a good writer who understands the requirements of quality content and how to carry out proper research. (Feel free to contact me as gaps open up in my schedule from time to time)

An Authority Site

An authority site is simply a site that is comprehensive, authoritative, informative, and genuinely useful to its visitors.

It is the type of site that will attract links from other websites naturally because of the quality of its content and not a site which is completely dependent on “manufactured” links from article directories and other sources.

Learn more about what an authority site is.

It is also the type of site that visitors will be happy to have found and look forward to returning to…and not one that has the user clicking the “back” button on their browser.

And clearly any website that has returning visitors, natural/organic back links from other sites because of it’s value is going to rank well in the search engnes and grow your organic, search traffic exponentially in the most natural way.

Best of all is that an authority site owner does not have to be worried about the next Google algorithm update.

Because the site will be built along the very lines that Google helpfully provides.

If you are engaged in article marketing I hope you can see now that it is ultimately a futile strategy which will lead to disappointment for you.

Please excuse the bluntness of my message.

But ultimately you are better off building your website and online business on a sound foundation…and not on quicksand.

I would love to hear your comments below.

Article Marketing Poll

Do You Do Article Marketing?

See results

Comments-I Would Love to Hear Your Comments

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    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 2 years ago from Chicago Region

      I agree that article marketing is dead, but if you already have some articles up on the directories, I don't think it will hurt you, and I think that is kind of fear-mongering of Google to suggest that it will. Think about it: if that were true and a competitor wanted to hurt you, all they would have to do is post some links to your site on some of the more disreputable directories. Shame on Google for engaging in such scare tactics.

    • Ernest Hemingway3 profile image
      Author

      Ernest Hemingway III 4 years ago from The World

      Or I can make it really easy for you-contact me through my blog and I will publish the information including screenshots etc. there.

      So all you have to do is send me the evidence and I will publish; in fact, if you want to write a guest post about it I would be happy to publish. But no bogus screenshots..

    • Ernest Hemingway3 profile image
      Author

      Ernest Hemingway III 4 years ago from The World

      Any way you like eg screenshots and/or video.

      There are plenty of places to post this evidence and you could even do it here on Hubpages be creating a Hub...or Wordpress/Blogger/Typepad

      So. your claims:

      1. "5 figure" views from 13 articles from June 2013-that is at least 10,000 views. Just post the screenshot of viewing figures.

      2. $2,000 in affiliate income since June-post a screenshot.

      I look forward to it,,,

    • Jtstretch1217 profile image

      Justin Stretch 4 years ago from Virginia

      How would you like me to do so?

    • Ernest Hemingway3 profile image
      Author

      Ernest Hemingway III 4 years ago from The World

      So, from June 20th to today, 13th August, you claim to have made $2,000 from affiliate marketing and article marketing?

      I don't believe you and I challenge you to prove it.

    • Jtstretch1217 profile image

      Justin Stretch 4 years ago from Virginia

      Views=potential buyers

      I just started affiliate marketing on June 20, 2013, and have made nearly $2,ooo. Now this is nothing compared to what the top affiliate marketers are making, but I can contribute a lot of these "views" to that money in my pocket. If you aren't using your keywords and research right before you write an article, then you're right..these views mean nothing. However, if you actually take the time to research the keywords, write a good article with well placed links, and get your article to the masses....then these "views" are targeted traffic and sales.

      I don't feel the need to claim I make money from article marketing. You don't have to believe a word I say, that's your loss/win (however you want to picture it). All I did was simply comment and give my personal opinion..If you don't like it or don't want it then disable the comment box.

      I'm sorry article marketing hasn't worked out for you. That doesn't mean that it hasn't or doesn't work for anyone else.

    • Ernest Hemingway3 profile image
      Author

      Ernest Hemingway III 4 years ago from The World

      Thanks for your comment.

      But I really don't believe you are making any money from it and notice that you don't claim to do so either.

      If you are happy with "views".. good for you.

    • Jtstretch1217 profile image

      Justin Stretch 4 years ago from Virginia

      I wouldn't say article marketing is dead, it's just all in how you write/promote the article. I have wrote 13 articles and gotten 5 digit amount of views..which means more traffic/potential buyers. You must research the keyword for your article, write an article around this researched keyword, and drive home informative content to people who want to learn (along with an affiliate link to make you money)

      Article Marketing has been my cup of tea!

    • Ernest Hemingway3 profile image
      Author

      Ernest Hemingway III 4 years ago from The World

      Yes, that is the big issue.

      Panda and Penguin have destroyed sites which just publish articles picked up from article directories.

      Ernest

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 4 years ago from USA

      I think the issue with sites like Ezine is that you can copy the articles and repost them on your website or blog, as long as you give the source. In the past, if I found a good article that would add to my own content, I simply created a link to the article, rather than have duplicate content.

    • Ernest Hemingway3 profile image
      Author

      Ernest Hemingway III 4 years ago from The World

      Yes, I think it is probably the same one as above.

      And the Google chat forum linked above in the Hub confirms the damage that links from EzineArticles.com can do from John Mu, a Google employee and administrator of the chat board.

      Ernest

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 4 years ago from USA

      I found a google video today about not using these article directories, Google does not like them. In fact, I think it was same video in this hub, but it was the same guy who did the one I watched.

    • Ernest Hemingway3 profile image
      Author

      Ernest Hemingway III 4 years ago from The World

      Hi, thanks for the comment.

      Yes, you are absolutely right about using article. The main thrust of my Hub is using article directories for traffic and links.

      Ernest

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 4 years ago from USA

      We all use article marketing. We do it right here on HP using articles to sell products.

      I don't use Ezine articles anymore at all or sites like them. Duplicate content needs to be avoided.