In spite of them taking a huge hit in the SERPS, an article directory can still bring about decent SEO results if you use it correctly. But the main question is what is the best one to use nowadays?
I would have to say either EzineArticles or perhaps Streetarticles. Though I wouldn’t depend on them too much, these places still provide some decent link juice and OK SERP results. People still depend on these types of places for faster results in the SERPS, but I want to give you the pros/cons of using them and help you decide if it’s worth the risk.
The quick history of article directories:
There was once a time (before 2010) when article directories were an internet marketer’s best friend. People who had little/no experience in the industry could write simple 250 word articles, get ranked high and make a lot of money through these places. I personally experienced MASSIVE success with article directories and raked in some amazing monthly profits.
However all good things must come to an end and what eventually happened to article directories was that they began to amass far too much low quality content which filled up search engines and lowered the user experience. This led to a huge slap taking place and knocking down article directory websites as well as those who posted articles on it.
Suddenly the industry that was built upon the backs of article directories and other content farms began to fall and people wondered if things would ever be the same.
Is there still opportunity with article directories in 2014 and moving forward?
The answer is yes, but nowhere near to the level it once had. If you think you can just write tons of articles, link it to your site and get high SERP results, you’ve got another thing coming. Nowadays your best bet is centralize ALL content from within your site.
What this means is that you should write any/all articles on your own website and build content from there. Overtime, if you have enough high quality content and a good user engagement, this will lead to higher SERP results.
But what about article directories? Can we still use them?
Yes you can, but again, I would discourage it. At the very least, you can try to write out some articles on places like this:
- Squidoo.com (not an article directory but it still get decent SERP results)
- Hubpages.com (not an article directory)
But make sure the content you place there is:
- Completely original (NO duplicate content of any kind)
- Links back to your website, but more importantly to a relevant post/page.
- Make sure most of the content you produce is on your website (we’re talking 95%) while the rest may be spread out across article directories.
Utilizing this method, you should see some favorable results, but the speed at which this happens really depends on a few factors:
- The competition of the keywords you’re chasing (Stick to low competition keywords).
- The competition of your niche/market you’re involved in. For example, if you’re trying to have your website gain massive authority in the MMO (make money online) niche, you’re in for the long haul as that niche is VERY competitive. In my experience, maybe 3-6 months is needed before you see some decent rankings in the SERPS.
- How often you place content on your site & how often you write on article directories. I prefer you write as little as possible on article directories and write on your site on a daily basis. This in my opinion yields to better results in the long run.
- Write more content on both article directories & your website’s content. I prefer at least 1,000 words. Some say 400 is OK, but the more the better in my experience.
The risk of using article directories:
While there are still pros in using article directories (potentially faster/higher SERP results), there is still 1 major risk that needs to be mentioned: The risk of losing all your work if the article directory you’re writing on decides to ax your work.
As many people (including myself) found out the hard way, putting all your eggs into the article directory basket ended up being a BAD investment. All it takes is 1 Google slap or a change in their TOS and all the work you put into writing up content can go straight out the window. This happened with Squidoo and man was it destructive…
In a worst case scenario, you want to be in FULL control of your content and the best way to do that is to keep your content on YOUR website. That way, you’re in charge of everything.
And if that wasn’t reason enough, understand in today’s world of SEO, more value is placed on the website and it’s content and not going around content farms and placing content there. This is seen as being a form of low quality content that is frowned upon and thus why it’s lost it’s weight.
Long story short: If you want SEO success, stick to keeping your content on YOUR website.
Yes this approach does take much longer to see results with because when you start a fresh site, it can/will take time to gain enough authority to rank well in the SERPS, but in the long run, it’s worth it, trust me.
If you’re still fully convinced article directories or as some call them, content farms are still the way to go, then again, at the very most, make sure whatever content you place there is minimal and stick to popular places like I mentioned above. Most importantly, leep most if not all of your eggs (articles/content) on your website.
My final thoughts:
I believe as time goes on, article directories will become less and less relevant for marketers. What is likely to happen is that the owners of these places will put in ridiculously strict rules to prevent anything close to linking (like Squidoo did) and make it almost important to ulitilize if you’re a marketer, which is understandable since they want to maintain a good reputation in the eyes of Google.
So as time goes on, worry less about article director ies, which is the best one to write content on. The answer is probably Ezinearticles, but compared to how good it was years ago, nowadays the difference is night/day and with the way things are evolving in SEO, safest thing you can do is write your own content and keep it on your website.
For example: Take this website. It took me a good 6 months to earn enough authority to start to get decent traffic, and I never wrote on article directories and kept all of my content centered HERE. For other niches that are less competitive, the same approach might have led to faster success. Either way, it’s a the safer route in my opinion.