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Freelance Writers: 10 Reasons the Google Panda Update Makes (SEO) Article Marketing Even More Effective & Means More Work for You

What Is SEO Writing -- A Keyword Search Result

Update: 11/23/2012 — Learn why I started my own article directory in January of this year.

Note: This is an in-depth post (about 2,500 words) about article marketing — complete with graphics and links. If you can’t read the whole thing now, feel free to bookmark it to refer back to later. Hope you enjoy it and of course, all comments are welcome.

About Article Marketing: Is It Worth It In Light of the Recent Google Panda Update?

Every since Google made its algorithm change (aka the Google Panda Update) back in February, the web has been abuzz about how it’s making article marketing less relevant, how article marketing is dead, how it’s now a waste of time — and just bad things in general about it.

Following are just a few of the articles I ran across when doing a quick search on the subject:

From WebProNews: The Panda Reaps – Is Article Marketing Still Viable?: Google Change Throws Tactics Into Question

From a Digital/Internet Marketing Firm: Google Panda and the Death of Article Marketing

From an SEO Copywriting Site: Has Google’s Panda Update Killed Online Article Marketing?

And the list goes on and on.

As an aside, many of these articles make very cogent arguments on both sides of the debate – some point out that article marketing can still be effective; while others say it’s completely dead.

About Article Marketing: While I Believe in It – Even More So After Google’s Panda Update

I’ve been an avid article marketer since 2004; I’ve literally written hundreds of articles to promote everything from my ebooks to affiliate products. Just Google my name (Yuwanda Black), you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Just FYI, this site (InkwellEditorial.com) took a hit in the rankings with the recent update. We lost top positions for several keywords we’d ranked well for for years – effortlessly. But even that hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for article marketing. I attribute the drop in rankings it to a whole bunch of stuff I haven’t done to this site, eg, site navigation.

Article Marketing Is Not Dead: 10 Reasons Google’s Panda Update Made It an Even Better Way to Market Online

And even after the Google Panda Update, I believe in this form of online marketing more than ever. Following are ten reasons that get into a bunch of stuff about article marketing and why I think it’s still an excellent way to market online (and I’m not even going to mention backlinks y’all!).

I. Content Marketing Rocks: Article marketing is nothing more than content marketing. And as we’ve discussed on this site recently, content marketing is where it’s at nowadays. A previous client who owns a leading internet marketing firm that teaches seminars around the country on PPC (and other forms of internet marketing) remarked in the post linked to in this paragraph:

Content marketing is the wave of the future and those who invest in it now will leapfrog over the competition, who’ll be playing catch up for years.

II. Good Content Still Ranks Well Even on “Low Quality Sites” Like Article Directories: There will always, always, always be a need for good content and no matter how it’s distributed, eg, article marketing directories, blogs, social media, etc., if you produce it, you want people to find it, right?

I know I do!

For example, if you type in the keyword phrase “seo writing” (without quotes), you know what the number one organic result is as of this writing? An article written by me in January of 2009 – on EzineArticles.com. And, this is out of almost 92 million results – yes, million!

Not to brag (only to prove a point), but content written by me about “SEO writing” occupies four spots on the first page of Google. It can be found on everything from my site which has all unique content (SeoWritingJobs.com (see result #5 in the graphic below)); to free press release sites like PRLog.com (see result #6 in graphic below), which are rife with lots of so-called, low-quality content.

In short, if it’s good, quality content, it stands a chance of being recognized by the search engines and showing up high in search results – even if it’s part of a “content farm.”

what-is-seo-writing-search-results

III. About Article Marketing and Garbage Content! It’s getting harder to rank with a blog/website that has spun (ie, via article spinning software), regurgitated, non-useful content. So goodbye to garbage content. Google wants quality.

In fact, Google’s whole algorithmic change was meant to give good content more room to shine at the top. Now, we can fight over what “good, quality content” is all day long.

Michael Martinez, who writes over at SEO-Theory.com (and a few other places) puts forth a pretty in-depth, funny, bit of a sarcastic article on this entitled, Why Your Quality Content Sucks, writing:

The most frequently used expression that I gleaned from reading dozens of these posts [on why some sites lost rank after the Google Panda Update] was without question “quality content” or some variation on it. . . . “Quality content”, like “quality links”, is a nonsense expression. That means it makes no sense. That means it doesn’t mean anything within the context of search engine optimization. Your “quality content” might be HIGH quality content in your eyes and LOW quality content in my eyes. Which of us is right?

With that being said, in my opinion, if your content is useful “in the eyes of enough beholders,” it will still rank well – whether it’s found in an article marketing directory, or on your website.

IV. Distribution Is Just as Important as Writing Good Content: Just like in marketing, distribution counts. You can have the best thing-a-ma-bob around (or article or blog post or video), but if no one knows about it, what good is it? That is, assuming you’re marketing your thing-a-ma-bob to make money.

And most of us write content — and distribute it — to drive traffic, generates leads and make sales. Article marketing rocks when it comes to getting the word out quickly to a lot of places!

V. It’s Cheap and Easy Compared to Other Forms of Marketing: Article marketing remains one of the cheapest, easiest ways to distribute content. It’s FREE after all! Compare that to, for example, pay per click marketing. Once you read more about article marketing and start comparing it to other forms of online marketing, you’ll quickly realize how cost effective it can be.

VI. The Returns are Long Lasting: Articles I wrote years ago still pop up high in search results. Proof?

From 2002-2004, I had an online store that sold ethnic décor – eg, soft home furnishings like mudcloth pillows, ethnic candles, woven African baskets, etc. With no money to market, I used article marketing to get the word out about it.

As of this writing, if you type in the keyword phrase “ethnic décor” (without quotes), an article I wrote in 2003 still pops up in search results on the first page of Google (positions #4 and #8) out of over 6 million results. Sure it’s a small niche, so it’s easier to rank well for. But that’s the whole point of online marketing, to dominate your niche, right?

I closed this business in 2004 and this article STILL ranks well – some eight years later!

And that’s the beauty of (SEO) article marketing; if it’s good content it can drive traffic for years to come. Years! Can’t beat that for ROI.

effects-of-google-panda-update-on-article-marketing

VII. Dominate Your Niche: The more you learn about article marketing, the more you’ll see how niche marketing with it can really make you stand out. And depending on your niche, it can be pretty easy to dominate it with this form of marketing. BUT, I want to repeat — it depends heavily on what your niche is.

In case you don’t know, marketing on the web is all about nicheing (if you don’t at least know this, then article marketing ain’t gonna help you).

About Article Marketing’s Power: Case Study — How One Small Business Owner Dominated Her Niche Pretty Quickly

To demonstrate niche success with article marketing, let me tell you a little story.

In 2008, my sister wrote an ebook on foreclosure cleaning. She ran a very successful foreclosure cleanup business in Atlanta at the time (now she just consults about it) and people kept emailing her tons of questions that she just didn’t have time to respond to in-depth.

I kept saying, write an ebook on foreclosure cleaning. She kept saying she didn’t have time. Finally, after about six months of pestering her, she wrote it. I signed on as an affiliate to help her market it. And of course, I used article marketing (in fact, I got her into it too!)

Now, if you type in keywords like foreclosure clean up; foreclosure cleaning; cleaning foreclosures; etc., you’re going to find something written by one of us (sometimes both) — on the first page of Google. Proof?

In this graphic, the first result is an article written by me, the second result is my sister’s website and the fourth result is an article that mentions her company in USA Today.

effects-of-google-panda-update-on-article-marketing1

How did a national newspaper find out about her? By doing research on the web. Now, I don’t know if they found her via an article in an article directory or via her website directly. But I bet you this:  they read more than one piece on her company and some of them were articles written by us that appeared came from article directories.

Get National Attention with SEO Article Marketing

So, article marketing paid off here big time!

This happened to me when I had my ethnic home décor store online as well. I did radio interviews and appeared in quite a few regional newspapers – because people found me online via articles I’d written and submitted to article directories and other “content farm” places like free press release sites.

VIII. It Builds Authority: The more content you put out, the more people run across content written by you, the more they come to view you as an expert – an authority in your niche.

My name pops up so much in freelance/SEO writing circles because I’ve published so much content on the subject. Now while I don’t consider myself any type of SEO guru, plenty of subscribers to my newsletters think of me that way (they tell me so).

So I’ve built my “street cred” in this niche. Hence, if someone wants to order content from my SEO writing company, or purchase one of my SEO writing ebooks or sign up for my SEO copywriting training class, they’ve more than likely already been pre-sold by the enormous amount of articles I’ve written (and distributed) on the subject.

And to think, my foray into article marketing all started because I had no money and wanted to market my new little business (Ethnic Home Decor) online. I learned about article marketing — and haven’t looked back since.

Note: Learn more about article marketing in this tutorial.

IX. More Users Conduct Online Research before Purchasing: Finally, the Google Panda Update means greater returns from SEO article marketing than ever before because more and more users are coming online everyday to search for – and buy — stuff. And shoppers are more savvy. They conduct online research before making a purchase — even if the purchase is at a brick-and-mortar location. Proof?

Ninety-four percent of online shoppers conduct research prior to making a purchase and 61% of online shoppers always or often use search engines, according to the Compete Online Shopper Intelligence Study. [Source: MarketingCharts.com]

In my opinion, one of the best ways to get found online is to still write and widely distribute quality content. And one of the best ways to do this is still SEO article marketing.

X. But, Stats PROVE that Article Marketing Is Not as Effective as It Once Was: Not for nothing, but I took statistics in college (and hated every second of it), but one thing I learned is that you can make statistics say what the hell you want. Really! Just ask any politician — they twist stats so much that you can’t believe any number that comes out of their mouths.

Now, this is not to say that article directories didn’t get banged up pretty badly by the big Panda. The article marketing stats afterwards scared the bejeezus out of some.

But it made me think, “Wow, what a great opportunity! Many are now going to stop marketing with articles. Yoohooooo!” A lot of these quitters weren’t churning out great content anyway. After all, you have to KNOW your content (your niche) to write quality (ie, useful) content.

You can’t be a fly-by-night operator who just wants to throw together a few, generic 250-word articles (or tons of them if you’re paying a $1/per article writer) and make money.

Now, the REAL business owners can shine; the ones who know their niche, put out useful content and are in it for the long haul. Dare we dream that our content will get rewarded?

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for folks like us. Yes!

SEO Article Marketing: The #1 Reason I Will Continue to Invest in It

I will continue to invest in article marketing. I will continue to advise my clients to invest in article marketing. And I will continue to tout the benefits of article marketing to my subscribers.

And the main reason is this – I don’t spend money online to make money. Or, very little. Ninety percent (90%) of my online marketing is article marketing (or now as its becoming known by its more newfangled name — “content marketing”).

Because, for me, it works.

Why the Google Panda Update Means More Work for Freelance Writers: How I Sold the Benefits of Article Marketing to a Client

Yesterday, I had a phone consultation with a new client. And, I was explaining the benefits of article marketing to him (as it’s laid out on my SEO writing company site). I STILL believe this. I told him to do more research on his own so he’d have a grasp of both sides of the argument. But, he said:

What you said makes sense; we want to start with some foundational content and some “easy, breezy” content on an ongoing (weekly) basis.

And, he placed (and paid for) his first article order just a few hours later.

Note: Don’t sell what you don’t believe in. If I didn’t believe in article marketing, I wouldn’t continue to use it for my own ventures and of course, I’d never sell the service to clients. The ONLY reason I offer this service to clients is because I believe wholeheartedly in it.
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BEWARE — Article Marketing Scams: I Don’t Endorse Products Like Article Spinning Software

In spite of what you may run across on the web, I have NOT endorsed any products like article spinning software, article submission software, autoblogging software, etc.

Because I am an avid article marketer and have written extensively on the subject (and authored an article marketing ebook), I’ve run across “Testimonials” I’ve purportedly given for some of these types of products. It’s not me and if you see my name attached to it, it’s a scam so don’t purchase it. 

About Article Marketing: Is It for You?

I hope I’ve given you enough information about article marketing to help you make an informed decision about whether it’s something that can work for you — whether you’re a freelance writer who wants to sell this service to clients; or an affiliate marketer looking to make money (when you have no marketing budget); or just an internet marketer wondering if it’s still worth your time.

Sincerely,
Yuwanda

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    Comments

    1. Thanks for the kudos Michael. That’s one of the main reasons I use this two-pronged approach (as you put it); the other reasons being to get wide distribution seamlessly and cut down on the need to come up with 100% new ideas for what to write all the time.

      Articles generated for article directories can just be takeoffs and/or putting a different spin on, a foundational piece offered only on your site.

      Again, thanks for dropping by.

    2. For small businesses, content marketing remains the most cost effective way to grow an online presence. The reason I still worry about article directories is that you can’t rely on them. They can get Panda-slapped or simply go bust. If you are going to use article directories, I think Yuwanda’s two-pronged approach is the best bet.

    3. Heidi, you’re welcome. I love reading views different from mine. I find that’s when I get the most out of a piece, because it forces me to justify why I believe what I do, and if I can’t, then maybe change perspective.

      One thing that I don’t ever see changing is the need for good content — and search engines rewarding it (with proper marketing; so many content producers don’t do enough of this. I know I’m guilty of it).

      Glad you enjoyed the piece and thanks for dropping by.

      Continued success!

    4. Yuwanda,
      Thanks for giving this topic such detailed explanation and for posting the articles with the opposite viewpoint. It’s important to gain perspective. I appreciate this very much and I am still excited about the field. Good content should always prevail, regardless of changing algorithms.

    5. I really believe in your point that “Article Marketing Still Rocks” but my only reservations about it is this- did Google actually cracking down on low quality contents as contained in the data base of article directories and so called “content farms”? Or are they just witch hunting article directories who not only display low quality contents, but also well researched and superbly written contents who currently but quite unfortunately lost rankings as a result of this update?
      How valid these reforms are and the future of article marketing after the update can only be seen in the coming days, time they say will tell…

    6. Yuwanda says:

      Michael,

      First, I’m honored that you took the time to stop by and leave your thoughts on this subject.

      Thank you.

      RE “The main point that I wanted to draw out in my post was that the Panda update presents an opportunity for people to use content on their own site to start to dominate a niche.”

      I agree wholeheartedly with this. But as you know, it takes time for this to happen.

      That’s why at my SEO writing company, we offer “easy, breezy” content — which is meant to be distributed to places like article directores, and “foundational content,” which is unique content meant only for a business’ site.

      With this two-prong attack, if you will, online marketers get the best of both worlds.

      At least, it’s worked well for me and my clients.

      I think we’re in the same book though — we may just differ a bit on which “chapters” we’re in.

      Again, thanks for lending your insight to the discussion.

      And, you too just got a new follower!

    7. Michael Lautman says:

      Yuwanda, I’m the owner of the digital agency you link to in the post. You make some great arguments in favor of article marketing. The main point that I wantedto draw out in my post was that the Panda update presents an opportunity for people to use content on their own site to start to dominate a niche. As you point out, since article directories still dominate the results in some categories the new ranking changes should favor on-topic sites (like a business’ blog) that produce high quality content. Keep up the good work. You’ve just found a new follower.