The Rise and Rise of Article marketing – What are the Implications?
September 28, 2006 • Glenn Murray
Already a very popular method of achieving a high search engine ranking, article PR (aka article submission) has now entered the mainstream. As such, its popularity is increasing at a dramatic rate. While this is great for SEO copywriters like myself, there are some side-effects that need to be addressed if article PR is going to remain a viable search engine ranking technique. This article discusses some of those side-effects, along with how they might be addressed.
But first, a little on article PR
Article PR is the process of writing ‘free reprint articles’ and submitting them to the 250+ established article submission sites on the Internet. An article submission site is simply a repository of free reprint articles – a place where authors can submit their articles free of charge, and where webmasters can find articles to use on their websites free of charge. In return for free use of your article, the webmaster includes your author bio and its links to your site. Every time your article is published, you get another link to your site and a boost to your ranking. If the quality of your article is high, it can be published hundreds of times.
The rise and rise of article PR
Because article PR is such an effective way of generating a high search engine ranking, it has now entered the mainstream. As an SEO copywriter, I get several requests each week for quotes to write articles. These requests come almost exclusively from business owners and marketing managers who know little (if anything) about SEO. They obviously didn’t go looking for article PR; article PR found them…
As a result of its newfound mainstream popularity, the number of articles being written and submitted has increased by between 100% – 600% in the past year! Christopher Knight, owner of the biggest article submission site, EzineArticles, tells me that the number of article submissions to his site increased by a staggering 600% from 2004 to 2005. In 2004, EzineArticles was averaging only 1416 article submissions per month. In 2005, it was averaging 8482 article submissions per month!
Similarly, at the end of 2005, when I spoke with Mel Strocen, owner of GoArticles, he reported a doubling of article submissions in the second half of the year. “In the last 6 months article submissions have increased by 100%, going from about 1,000 submissions per week to 2,000+ per week,” he said.
Jason Lynch, owner of ArticleBlast, reported similar increases; between April ’05 and January ’06, submissions to ArticleBlast increased by over 300%.
The web traffic to these sites tells the same story. According to Alexa statistics, at the end of 2004, EzineArticles had a reach of approx 100 users per million Internet users per day. Just over a year later, the site is reaching over ten times that many Internet users. (If we take the total number of Internet users worldwide to be 964 million, EzineArticles traffic has increased from around 96,000 per day to over 1 million visitors per day.)
Alexa stats for GoArticles report similar increases in traffic. At the end of 2004, it had a reach of approx 50 users per million Internet users per day. Just over a year later, it’s reaching approx 10 times that number of users. (Again assuming 964 million Internet users worldwide, GoArticles traffic has increased from around 48,000 per day to around half a million visitors per day.)
Figures for ArticleBlast are more difficult to ascertain as the site is younger and has lower overall traffic.
Even if Alexa’s figures are a little inflated (as I think they tend to be), they still provide a consistent measure for the period. As such, the percentage increases should be relatively accurate.
The side-effects of the rise of article PR
A number of writers have voiced the fear that article PR will die through ‘over-use’, just as keyword stuffing and link farms died. But I don’t agree. Why? Because article PR isn’t just useful to authors and SEO copywriters. The success of article PR is based on the premise that our articles are also useful to READERS. So long as the majority of articles remain useful (i.e. helpful, informative, and easy to read), readers will still want to read them, publishers will still want to publish them, and article PR will remain a viable link building method.
This is true no matter how many people are writing and publishing free reprint articles. Frequent use of a tool doesn’t make the tool ineffective. (Just look at traditional forms of advertising – millions of businesses engage in radio, print, and TV advertising, and those methods remain very effective. The fierce competition simply encourages advertisers to improve the quality of their ads in order to stand out.)
No, in my opinion, there’s no such thing as too many articles. However, there is such a thing as too many BAD articles. Readers want helpful, credible information; they don’t want badly written articles or empty words (‘article spam’) which simply carry a link.
Just as importantly, webmasters don’t want to spend hours trying to find the right article to publish. At the moment, there are literally hundreds of article submission sites out there. Most of them are generic, fully automated affairs that involve no human moderation. They don’t distinguish between good writing and bad, they don’t cull article spam, and they don’t categorize their articles very well. As a result, publishers have to wade through a sea of poor quality to find a handful of useful articles.
These issues are the real hurdles that need to be overcome if article PR is to survive.
Overcoming the problems
The article submission sites will overcome the problems. Here’s how…
As mentioned above, readers aren’t interested in bad articles or article spam. This means that, in the long run, there’s no real value in publishing such articles (either for webmasters or article submission sites); readers will frequent the sites that publish useful articles and ignore those that don’t. Likewise, publishers will frequent the article submission sites that post useful, easy-to-find articles and ignore those that don’t.
This means we’ll see an increase in the number of human-moderated article submission sites. And once this happens, the article PR landscape will change forever:
- Human moderated article submission sites will offer a higher percentage of quality articles, and those articles will be easier to find;
- Human moderated article submission sites will attract more publishing webmasters, and, as a result, more authors;
- We’ll see a decrease in the number of un-moderated article submission sites because they won’t generate enough traffic to make AdSense profitable;
- We’ll see a decrease in the overall number of article submission sites (anyone can launch an automated article submission site, but it takes real commitment, business sense, and a dedicated budget to run a human-moderated article submission site);
- The spoils will be greater for the surviving article submission sites, so they’ll go to greater lengths to ensure the high quality of their articles; and
- We’ll witness the decline of article spam and poor quality articles simply because they won’t be accepted at the good article submission sites.
All in all, it’s a positive outlook for authors and publishers of quality articles.
Happy writing, publishing, and posting!