The Internet is crawling with people who will tell you that articles are a great way to promote your business, content is king and search engine nirvana lies with the click of a button on some article submission software. Note that articles can be posted on a blog too, so whether you call it an article or blog content, it is still content, and this is the most important asset you can have on the Internet today!
So what is article marketing?
The term "article marketing" is traditionally associated with getting your article posted on large numbers of article sites.
So, what are the benefits here?
1. Getting links to your site is a good thing.
2. Getting people reading your articles can be pre-sold on your product or service is a good thing.
3. Articles can be a relatively cheap form of advertising.
The key is to write good quality articles. To do this, you must first create a purpose for the article. On a high level, the purposes are:
1) To increase the popularity of my site with search engines by building back-links.
2) To get lots of visitors to my site very fast so that I can sell them something.
3) To build the readership and credibility of my site.
4) To get lots of visitors to my site.
5) To become recognized as an authority in my field.
With these answers I think we can split the kind of results into three groups. The first group is those who want, for one reason or another, to get a fast and possibly short term result. The second group is probably more interested in a longer term goal. Of course, some people want everything - fast AND longer term results. This is the Internet, anything is possible and we will be looking at strategies to meet the needs of all three groups. The important point is that there is not one single magic bullet to address the needs of all article marketers!
First Past The Post!
For article marketers seeking a fast result, the priority has to be maximum exposure in the shortest amount of time.
How can this be done?
I suggest writing several articles on a related theme, using keywords appropriate to your topic and that you make sure that all links are anchor linked to pages deep in your website or blog, not just to your home page. When you have your content ready, then you want to blast it out to the world as fast as you can. Many (including me) have used a submissions service such as ArticleMarketer.com, which has a very large number of directories and groups to whom they can submit your work, but this creates duplicate content and Google is currently punishing this type of activity.
Google is pushing the idea of relevance, so posting the same content in multiple places reduces the relevance of each of those places because the associated sites have duplicate content and the search engines can't tell which one to point too. Ideally, there is one place for each unique piece of content. It is best to post your unique content on your own site and create pointers back to your site.
So what is better than traditional article marketing?
Social book marking is the way to go. When your content is posted on sites like Digg, Delicious and Reddit, it doesn't actually exist on these sites. People enter a URL (Universal Resource Locator) that points back to your content. Each person that book marks your content is actually voting for your content. This in turn generates "Buzz" and traffic to your content page. Search engines also pay attention to these votes and the more votes you get, the more your rankings increase in the search listings.
The bottom line is that for short term results, maximum output to as many outlets as possible makes sense. Having a huge amount of exposure to rapidly growth traffic through your new articles will generate buzz around your site or blog. This is great in theory and although it is possible, it's difficult to generate these effects as short term results. Another approach is to commit to creating and promote regular content at a pace that works for you.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
For those seeking to build long term traffic and authority in their chosen fields, a gradual flow of articles and a slower paced spread across the Internet is easier to achieve and builds credibility for your brand. We are not trying to build hundreds of back links over a weekend, but instead to build 4 or 5 per week (or more) week after week, month after month. In this way, growth of links and the spread of your articles will be more organic and will seem more natural to the search engines who will then reward you with registered back links and credibility. These back links seem natural and 'human-like' and will stay in the search engines for a long time - they have a long shelf life. And if your articles are well written, they will continue to generate leads for a very long time, cumulatively!
Spreading your submissions out over a period of time and over multiple sites is best. It will take longer, but the real work is in creating similar content with multiple themes, making each an original registrations. For example, if you are writing an article on real estate sales, you might want to focus one article on "how to make real estate sales" and another on "how to buy real estate". In this way, the content can be pretty much the same, but you can cover both ends of the equation.
Creating regular good content is the key to building traffic and leads on the Internet. When you are ready to get votes and leads for your content, there are services emerging that can help you get started. I will save this for another article.
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