Do Article Submissions Work for SEO?

Jun 28th

Michael Gray recently asked what people thought of using article syndication as an SEO technique. While it may have some upside if the articles get picked up and syndicated outside the article databases, the article databases themselves carry little weight. Patrick Altoft noted that after tracking the results for about 500 clients he discontinued his automated submission service because he thought it didn't offer any value anymore.

A better way to syndicate content to sites outside article databases is typically to create something they would want to link at, or to start building social relationships. As Jeremy Luebke posted in Graywolf's comments, those links work. Google is getting better at determing what parts of the web are active and worth trusting.

Published: June 28, 2007

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Comments

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July 5, 2007 - 10:55am

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Craig
July 6, 2007 - 7:48pm

Hi everyone,

What a great discussion. Very informative and enjoyable. Myself, I own and operate an eCommerce consulting practice in which SEO is a primary function for which clients desire. MANUAL article submissions is a key aspect of our service and we have gotten some great results for both our internal site (#1 on Yahoo and #3 on Google for eCommerce Consulting) and many client sites as well.

But, the engines are getting smarter and it is matter of two things IMO. Consistency and diversification. One round of article submissions is not going to get you anywhere. 12 months of multiple, MANUAL (the real key) submissions will help. The content should be at least 800 words and making sure that anchor text is configured properly is vital to success.

That being said, its not a silver bullet by any means. we supplement our content syndication services with blog recruitment, social bookmarking, and PR releases. Not a big fan of buying monthly links and never engaged in that practice but would love to hear success stories from someone who has some.

Lets not forget the most important thing though - on site content. Without publishing new and original content every other day or so, its very difficult to rank extremely high for ulra competitive terms.

Aaron - kudos for a great site and great tools!!

Khalid Hajsaleh
June 28, 2007 - 6:17am

Hi Aaron,

I must agree that article submission sites at this point in time are worthless. Still, we publish about an article a week on few of these sites. Most of these articles get picked up by many other sites which can provide us with valuable link backs.

We have been following this approach for the last couple of months. It helped push our ranking for some of the key words we were competing for.

Khalid

Nedim Sabic
June 28, 2007 - 6:19am

It's pure logic, that if you write a good article you do the best article submission, because people will link and copy&paste it to other places. Any automated process except the smart ones which are not selled, is just wasting of time.

James Dunn
June 28, 2007 - 6:49am

Mass Article Submission won't help much in competitive niches, but I think they work in uncompetitive areas. There are a lot of long-tail/uncompetitive terms out there that Google has little to no information with which to rank sites. Therefore Google has to put up sites that may only use the keyword in the body or title of the page. In those cases a few links (even low quality ones) can shoot your inner pages to the top.

Targeting long-tail phrases on your inner pages may not seem to do much good, but it doesn't have to to have a worthwhile effect. You only need a decent ROI. Say you spend $5 on an article, pay iSnare $2 to distribute it, you only need $10 in additional traffic over the course of the next year to justify the expense.

AshRo
June 28, 2007 - 9:13am

James,

I do completely agree with you. There is no single ranking algorithm for every query. Its a pyramid and the queries at the bottom are long queries or queries from uncompetitive industries. The tapering end of the pyramid is real estate, attorneys and pills/porn. Different algos/filtering criteria for different queries

stu foster
June 28, 2007 - 11:57am

I both use and own an article directory.

A link at the foot of an article is completely relevent to the topic itself and i'm sure we agree that relevence is key here?

I know of certain websites that dominate hugely competitive areas purely from submitting articles as opposed to paying for spurious links on unrelated sites.

Page rank and perceived weight isn't the be all and end all, relevence on the other hand is of utmost importance.

There seems to be an anti-article wave sweeping the internet right now but i genuinely can't find a better way of generating honest and relevent links.

June 28, 2007 - 12:02pm

A link at the foot of an article is completely relevent to the topic itself and i'm sure we agree that relevence is key here?

Hi Stu
It is not...the keys are being trusted enough to get deeply indexed and being trusted enough to have your votes count.

if neither of those happen then it needs to lead to direct traffic or other indirect signs of trust (like syndication of some sort).

stu foster
June 28, 2007 - 12:39pm

Aaron.

I fully understand what you are saying here and i do agree with you but i feel it may be wrong to say that article sites are being discounted.

They seem to get new sites of mine spidered very quickly, which proves the engines are regularly deep crawling.

I maintain that it is a better practice when pursuing incoming links than that of buying or recriprocal building.

I guess it's the same as anything else on the web, some article sites are good and trusted sources and some are not so...

Khalid Hajsaleh
June 28, 2007 - 1:34pm

Besides trust issues from search engines, I think the bigger concern with article sites is the quality of articles on them. Any website owner is writing a 200 word so called article and posting it on these directories. As a result, these sites are filled with thousands of useless articles.

stu foster
June 28, 2007 - 1:48pm

That ties in with what i said above.

There are good and bad sites of any genre all over the net.

Nothing new there.

Jake
June 28, 2007 - 3:15pm

article databases carry little weight if any at all.

Chris Angus
June 28, 2007 - 3:48pm

If you want to get a site indexed in three days or less, write a crappy article and put in to Ezine articles. Ezine is a trusted site and gets spidered all the time. It's the quickest way to get a website indexed easily. Unless you have some good sites of course :)

Jaime
June 28, 2007 - 3:59pm

I understand it doesn't work with Google, but what about Yahoo and MSN?

Megan
June 28, 2007 - 4:34pm

I think that if you're going to post your content on other sites it makes the most sense to go directly to good quality sites that accept article submissions. These would be known quality resources on your topic with really good search value and lots of respect from the topic community. Guest blogging is another option. Great for reputation building too.

Obviously, your best content should go on your own site (obviously). It doesn't make much sense to spend time writing articles for distribution sites that may or may not help much. And if you're writing linkbait then you want those links to point to your site not someone else's!

Doug Cress
June 28, 2007 - 4:59pm

What about more mainstream sites - some of our financial content is getting picked up on the likes of Yahoo! Finance. Am I to understand the links included in these articles are of no value - outside of the traffic they send?

Jim Boykin
June 28, 2007 - 5:04pm

No one has mentioned the other obvious....what good is duplicate content articles that will go supplimental anyways?

Ryan
June 28, 2007 - 5:08pm

I've noticed that most article I publish to those sites get picked up by a lot of other websites - but they all edit out the links and even my name.

In fact, I've found about 10 articles I've written actually posted on the net with the name "Kritika" as the author, and links to his websites at the bottom.

That's what made me stop syndicating. Other people took my articles and labeled them as their own.

Tyler Dewitt
June 28, 2007 - 6:58pm

Yes, Aaron I think they work very great as long as the person is submitting unique articles, and not duplicates even if they are brand new article directories it still has value, and plus when your link is placed on the website the domain will age over time, so the link gets more credit in the future.

Look at my rankings it worked for me ;).

Pearse
June 28, 2007 - 7:05pm

The key here, which has been mentioned before is getting sites relevant to your niche/industry to republish. Two years ago I was doing this with automated article submission but I have since moved on to contacting relevant sites directly and set up a content partnership.

I typically pitch it as an added value to their users and don't offer search engine rights to the publisher site. This way I can noindex,follow these pages without having to worry about a stronger site gaining credit for my content.

This method usually provides better results than the article hubs do IMO.

Sean Mize
June 28, 2007 - 7:08pm

I have multiple web sites that occupy top positions for various keywords - and the only thing I do is article marketing to make that happen.

The key is that you have to write original articles, and you have to personally submit them by hand.

The article directories see the automatically submitted articles as spam - and won't publish the articles.

By the way, I see that alot of you are concerned about people taking your articles and taking off your links.

I couldn't care less - why not?

Because it is the links I do get, not the ones I don't get, that matter.

If I get 100 new links, and 100 people publish my articles without links - who cares?

It is better than getting 1 new link or paying for a link - and not having my articles out there somewhere without my link.

One of the big differences between me and most of you is that I have over 1500 published articles - you can't publish 10 articles and then make a conclusion.

David Eaves
June 28, 2007 - 10:07pm

I don't rate it, if I ever have time to write an article I keep the content for myself, why give it away to someone else?

Kyle
June 28, 2007 - 11:27pm

Article submission is just flooded with content there's not enough intelligence to decipher whether or not it's of good quality or not.

Mike Tekula
June 29, 2007 - 1:34am

I've been debating about this myself lately. I personally syndicated a few articles recently to what I consider to be the top 3 article syndication web sites, and I happened to get most of them published in SiteProNews (they were SEO-related). This was great exposure and brought in a ton of traffic - not to mention links from the SiteProNews home page. How valuable was it for link building? Difficult to say.

My own inclination at this point, especially after reviewing some of the outright garbage people are posting on article syndication sites, is to just go back to the old, trustworthy method of CREATING QUALITY CONTENT. Anyone can throw an article together in 15 minutes. The response for that article will likely be crummy. Put together a great page of content that is informational, aesthetically pleasing, entertaining, etc., then go out and tell people about it - this is far better.

The simple fact I'm seeing here: every time a new "quick and easy" method of gaining inbound links and rankings shows up we're talking a few months later about why it's not working anymore. I think this is credit to Google - they're filtering this junk out very well, and forcing us all to be white hat to a T on the one hand and great content creators on the other.

My opinion (based on observation): syndicate a great article and it'll show some benefits in the form of links, traffic (only through publication). Create a great page of content, and do the hard PR grit work of getting it out there - benefits ten fold.

Justin Anderson
June 29, 2007 - 5:21am

Wow... My eyes are still burning from blaring through the 22 comments on this post so far (Nice job, Aaron). What I enjoyed most about most of the comments was the differring levels of success shown and little tweaks and strategies.

I have had some success with article submissions and some of my top traffic refers come from some higher syndicated articles sites with a link to our website for the anchor linked search term. It is frustrating as the article on our domain is PR4 (as most pages of the site are) and also gets a decent bit of traffic itself but the article site outranks it. But the traffic from the link in the article and the link juice itself relative to other related search terms still makes it definitely worth it's time and energy.

In closing... it doesn't matter if you spend 15 minutes or 2 hours on an article if it is has these 3 basic ingedients:

1: first and fore most, it needs to be useful and well written.. (even if it may be "rewritten" ;))

2: A great title that can capture attention (like the title of this blog post)

3: A well constructed resource box (multiples are better) with targeted keyword anchor text that are not only relative to the article but also contain a call to action.

Call to Action... You can't forget that. Linking and anchor text is one thing, but clicking is another and it isn't that hard to combine a good call to action with your target keywords for the link text.

Sorry for the ramble, but wanted to contibrute to the discussion.

arnab
June 29, 2007 - 7:26am

Hi Aaron,

Do you want to mean that article submission does not hold good today?

Christine
June 29, 2007 - 7:47am

I am not sure whether it works, but it sure is frustrating to slave away writing articles to submit to ezinearticles when people post the article on their site and remove the resource box with links back to your site! It just seems worthless as there is nothing you can really do other than to contact them if you can get their info.

Stu Foster
June 29, 2007 - 8:24am

You can't argue with the fact that many webmasters sat at number 1 on Google have used article marketing alone to reach that position, even in markets such as loans and insurance.

By claiming that article sites don't carry value, you are saying that web 2.0 is a waste of time?

June 29, 2007 - 8:29am

A bit defensive, eh Stu?

Feel free to show a few examples of sites that only submitted articles to article directories which currently enjoy #1 rankings in Google for high value insurance related keywords.

I do see some Ezinearticles pages that rank for a while, but unless you do linkbuilding for those pages I think they typically eventually drop off too.

stu foster
June 29, 2007 - 9:57am

haha.

I'm defensive simply because i have conflicting proof with yourself Aaron.

A blog is here to discuss and if we were all just to take your word on face value, the comment section would be useless.

I read your blog daily and like what you write but i have my own brain and my own experiences which on occasions will conflict with your personal analysis.

link:www.ukpersonalloanstore.co.uk

There's a good example of a website that got where it was from article submission. it does have other links of course but you can clearly see what method was used from within.

The site ranks top 2 for 'home loan' and ranks number 1 for many other terms.

Just one example, i won't give any more because i don't want to hijack the thread but you can see my point of view surely?

You are welcome to read and comment on my blog Aaron - www.niche-marketing-blog.co.uk
I would love to see you there :)

Cheers

Stu

June 29, 2007 - 10:09am

Hi Stu
There are always some exceptions, but I think the key is to be as rounded as possible with the marketing to make a site stick.

A friend of mine who recently did article stuff kept seeing their rankings come and go...doing some other link building stuff really helps. They kinda overdid it and didn't diversify their stuff enough.

Looks like the site you mentioned got a few .edu links and some decent blog exposure too, but obviously that is a nice ranking they got for a rather new site.

Mark Rushworth
June 29, 2007 - 10:17am

Call me uneducated but maybe its the link moving from a list on the sites home page (as theyre probably all submitted around the same time) to pages within the site that saw the fall off - i see this A LOT!

Its the ebb and flow duder.

Like ur post Stu.

stu foster
June 29, 2007 - 10:24am

Cheers Mark but as you are my partner in crime, you would say that :)

PocketSEO
July 1, 2007 - 9:13pm

I've seen an article submission get shown on the first page because of Google Universal Search (News). I've also recently seen an article submission get ranked in Google within minutes of being published. I wouldn't give up on all article directories yet...

August 8, 2009 - 2:48pm

I am starting to try article submission as a tool for building backlinks. I will let you know what kind of results I get.

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