Content marketing strategy requires some thought about which benefit is most valuable:
- More audience
- Search engine optimization
- Google’s well-known PageRank.
However, one rule dominates all others — quality now matters more than quantity.
Some article marketing networks are good at delivering audience, others provide a site with better search engine optimization and others still enhance the PageRank of a site.
Some networks don’t deliver much of anything.
Major Article Sites
en of the largest content marketing sites, along with their unique visitors as measured by Quantcast, are:
Anyone interested in building site traffic and search engine rankings to build their online business will go to one of these sites, sign up for an account and start writing.
Some of these sites require a minimum of 350 words per article, and some require much more.
he typical article consists of three elements that are either required by the article site or essential for increasing clicks:
- The title (or headline)
- The body
- The resource box. The resource box usually includes a brief biography of the writer, plus one or two links back to the writer’s site (also known as backlinks).
When search engines discover a new article on these sites, they initially may rank it high in their results because of the size and importance of a site such as EZineArticles.
The writer’s site gets value from the backlink, which in turn enhances the writer’s site in the search engine results.
Uniqueness of the content improves the article’s ranking as well.
In addition, if the title, body and call to action in the resource box are good enough, visitors will click on that link and come to the writer’s site to check it out.
Hooking the Reader
he single most important part of the process for hooking the reader is the title followed by the first paragraph.
It is the title and meta description (or some other relevant content on the page) that are displayed by the article sites and the search engines.
If they are well-written, interesting or catchy, people will click on the title link, click on the site backlink and drive the articles higher in search results.
If they are sloppy or dull, people won’t click on them.
Be aware that it can take at least dozens of articles to make an impact. It also takes patience and fine tuning the title, body and resource box if the article doesn’t produce any meaningful impact after several days.
Quantity Versus Quality
esides learning the process, another consideration for writers is whether to focus on quantity or quality.
Which approach is better? Is it a large number of short and quick articles, or a small number of high-quality articles?
There are two schools of thought among content marketers.
One school believes in producing as many short articles as possible in the briefest amount of time. They literally try to write a 250-255 word article in five minutes and produce 10, 20 or more a day.
They also will rewrite the same article as much as dozens of times and post it on numerous article sites — or use software to automate the rewrite and post the article throughout the Internet.
This approach probably gains more value from backlinks than from people actually clicking on the link in the resource box.
The second school focuses on quality over quantity. They tend to write longer articles, take more time in writing them and focus on trying to get clickthroughs to their sites from their articles.
Because they take more time, they produce fewer articles and place them on fewer sites.
But high quality articles can rank higher in search engine results if the title, body and resource box are good enough and unique enough to attract high readership.
Google has voted in favor of quality. The 2011 Panda initiative changed the search algorithm in a way that discourages content farms and emphasizes long, authoritative and unique articles, which typically receive the most backlinks and audience.
Shorter articles lost ranking in search engine results, which led to fewer page views and clicks on those articles to their outside sources.
zineArticles.com is a good example of an article marketing directory that provides all three benefits of audience, SEO and search engine ranking.
It is the largest such directory on the Internet and receives millions of unique visitors each month.
A unique, well-written article potentially can receive thousands of page views within a matter of months.
If your article has a link back to your site, that audience will follow the link and produce the first benefit, which is more audience.
If search engines follow the link, they can index and rank the page on your site.
If the anchor text in the link targets a particular keyword or phrase, the page on your site receiving the link is enhanced in search engine results.
If the article on EzineArticles eventually acquires its own PageRank of 1 or higher, it will pass some of that rank through to the linked page as well.
At this writing, EzineArticles had increased the minimum word count for an article from 250 to 400 as a result of Google’s Panda initiative.
Shorter articles have lost PageRank, while longer articles (1,000+ words) on sites such as Squidoo have held onto PageRank.
Other Article Sites
eyond EzineArticles and Squidoo, the value of other article directories becomes less certain.
At the time of this writing, ArticlesBase.com is the fourth largest directory, which results in some site visits from links, but it practices “nofollow,” so the linked page gets little SEO or PageRank value.
A large site such as HubPages has strong SEO and PageRank value, but little direct audience benefit because the articles must be much longer, which pushes any link far down on the page.
Other sites that are much smaller don’t use “nofollow,” but their small audiences provide little direct traffic.
So decide which benefit means the most for the page on your site that you want to promote. Then choose the article network that does the best job of providing that specific benefit.