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Posts tagged: article writing and distribution

Organic SEO In The Black and White Era: Not Harder, Just Different

Organic SEO is one of those fields that’s constantly evolving, and every once in a while gets completely overturned by a change from the top — in this case, ‘the top’ meaning ‘Google’. In the past couple of years, a number of once-commonplace SEO practices have been deemed ‘ungood’ by the Goog, with the result that many people who considered themselves decent search engine optimizers suddenly found that their toolbelt was nearly empty. But is SEO actually harder since Google’s “black-and-white” updates (Panda and Penguin) hit?

No. It’s not harder — you can still accomplish the same kinds of results in about the same timeframe as you could a couple of years ago. But it is different, because the tools that you have to use to get the same website SEO‘d properly have changed radically.

Two years ago, you could bust out a daemon that would sign up your website to 2,000 different website directories in a matter of hours, pay a Bangladeshi family to create a dozen Web 2.0 properties and linkring them, and of course hire a hack ghostwriter to bust out a few dozen vaguely-related articles and put them up on EzineArticles.com, and you’d be doing ‘good SEO’.

Today, you have to work a bit more carefully — you have to have, among other things, a good writer and a social media expert. The same time you used to spend waiting for your daemon to finish, you’ll have to spend describing to your writer what it is you want him to do. The same money you used to spend on the Bangladeshi family and the ghostwriter, you’ll have to give to your writer to pay him to create 3-4 good, high-quality articles. And the effort you put into posting articles and linking Web 2.0 properties, you’re going to have to put into spinning each of your few articles a dozen times and then posting each of those dozen variations across different article directories.

The end result of all of this careful article writing and distribution is going to be about the same as your slapdash efforts of a couple of years ago — it just takes a different kind of content and a different attitude toward SEO to get the job done these days.

Why You Shouldn’t Write Your Own: The Article Writing and Distribution Of Today

There was a big-time Internet marketing phenom a few years back called BUM Marketing. It centered around the idea that any old bum off of the street could make money online if they followed a simple article writing and distribution strategy. It worked like a charm for a while, made quite a few people rich…and now it doesn’t work anymore.

Why not? Because when ever everyone and their brother starts doing something, you inevitably get a diminishing returns situation. The more EZineArticles.com got flooded with non-English-speaking writers that spammed the editors so hard that occasionally a barely-comprehensible article made it through, the more surfers became sensitive to poor English and bad sentence structure and simply clicked away the instant an article became incomprehensible, even if only for a single phrase.

That, in turn, has led us to today: with so many old, crappy articles on the Web’s various article directories, Google has cracked down hard. Quality levels have to be high if you want an article to score a decent spot on the SERPs — and not just high as in “you speak good English”, but high as in “people who click on this article will leave feeling like they just got what they wanted”.

AND they have to be built to exacting SEO specifications. Now, it’s totally possible for you to learn in-text SEO tricks and take the time on a regular basis to write things about your industry that people would actually love to read and leave feeling like they won a prize. And even to learn to weave calls-to-action into the text so that the article sold your product or service as well…but could you do all of that and run your business effectively at the same time?

Not bloody likely. A dedicated website SEO guy, however, can easily learn enough about your business to write intelligent, useful, practical, SEO’ed articles that will drive traffic to your site. That’s his job — and that’s precisely why you shouldn’t write your own. It worked a half a decade ago, but today, it’s the age of the geek. Let us do what we do best.

Forum Posting vs. Article Writing and Distribution: Which Is Better SEO?

There are a lot of very different activities that all fall under the umbrella of ‘SEO’. One of the things that SEO companies do constantly is evaluate their processes to see which if any of these processes is going out-of-date or otherwise becoming a less efficient thing to do. It’s an in-depth and very complicated process, because there are often no clear answers. Unless Google comes out and says “we’re devaluing XYZ backlinks” (which they have done in the past!), it’s all inductive logic and pattern analysis.

So let’s look at two common SEO activities: forum posting and article writing and distribution.

Forum Posting
The essence of forum posting is to go onto a forum, make a name for yourself there, and then slip in a few backlinks to a few choice sites. The advantage of forum posting is that it’s a backlink that comes pre-equipped with a pile of potential traffic: the forum-goers that respect your efforts are quite likely to click your link and check out your wares. The disadvantage of forum posting is the administrator: if they decide that you’re a marketer and you’re spamming, all of your effort can vanish with a click of their banhammer.

Article Writing and Distribution
Writing and distributing an article is a time-consuming effort that begins with research, continues with writing original content, and ends by finding the right place and method of making that article available to the public alongside a link back to your webpage. The advantage of article writing and distribution is that your article will generally rank well in the SERPs all by itself, creating an entirely new crowd of people who will see the article and might click the link bank to your main page. The disadvantage of article writing is the enormous amount of effort that goes into creating a proper article that will drive proper traffic.

The question of which makes better SEO depends on a lot of variables. If your goal is raw SERPs, you’re probably better off with forum posting; there are a lot of very high-authority high-relevance forums for just about any niche out there, so forum posting can nail you lots of quality back links relatively quickly. If your goal is traffic, the articles may get you better in the long run since they score for SERPs on their own in addition to raising the ranking power of your website.

Better PR: Custom Blog Creation or Article Writing and Distribution?

There are lots of reasons you might want to focus on creating an ample amount of high-quality content for your business. The biggest is the social factor: the more you say (intelligently and well, that is), the more people on sites like Facebook and Twitter will talk about what you said. The more they do that, the more traffic you get, the more (free) backlinks get built on your behalf, and so on.

So, knowing this, some people have come to use with a pretty simple question: if you’re going to focus on creating killer content and putting it out there, where should you put it? Google’s recent focus on “fresh” content seems pretty solidly in the camp of “don’t duplicate it”, so that’s out. And really, when you get right down to it, there are two basic options — you can put it all up on a blog, or you can post it to various article directories.

So which is better PR?

If you go for custom blog creation:

  • Readers are much more encouraged to move from one post to another, learning more about your company as they go.
  • You can add your own widgets and tools to make your blog more SEO-friendly, more reader-friendly, and more ‘you’.
  • The various tags, titles, categories, and other natural blog elements all add to your ability to focus each page, SEO-wise, on a specific keyword or two.
  • As you add more pages to your blog, it will grow in relative authority and each post will benefit from that.

If you go for article writing and distribution:

  • Readers reach the call-to-action and they’re much more likely to follow it to your site’s landing page than they are to click off to another article.
  • Article directories tend start with higher authority (and thus significantly more readership) than a blog will, no matter how well-SEO’d.
  • Article directory pages benefit (or suffer) from the overall quality of the directory as a whole, so a very good directory will pass even more juice onto your content.

On the whole, it’s somewhat of a conundrum, because if you have an established blog with a pile of content on it, you’re better off posting to the blog in most cases — but if you don’t, you’re better off posting to an article directory. But if you keep posting to the article directory, you’ll never get that blog off of the ground. In the end, as was probably entirely predictable, the best answer is to do both.

Quick Links Like Forum Posting Or Slow Links like Article Writing and Distribution?

Last week, we mentioned a divide between two different kinds of links in the SEO world. Since then, we’ve gotten several Emails from interested readers who wanted us to explore that difference in a little bit more detail. Here goes.

Quick Links
The first category of backlinks are the ‘quick links’ — links that take very little creativity, time, or even expertise to generate. These are links like the ones you get from forum posting, social bookmarking, RSS aggregation, directory submission, and blog commenting.

The goal of a quick link is to get a backlink pointing from a unique root domain that you’re not already linked to — all other elements of the backlink are secondary. It’s nice if you can control your anchor text, your link context, your LSI, and all of that — but it’s not necessary. The simple fact that there’s a new root domain on your list of “root domains that are linked to my page” is the goal.

You can get quick links from almost anywhere — even most SEO-ignorant stay-at-home moms can be trained in the art of quick link building in a matter of hours. The important attributes of a quick-linker are a long attention span, an immunity to boredom, and a resistance to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Slow Links
The second group are the ‘slow links’ — links that get built at the rate of two per hour instead of twenty per hour. These links take a spark of creativity, because they need content in order to be built. Article writing and distribution, press releases, Web 2.0 properties, guest blog posts, and marketing videos are all slow links.

The thing about slow links is that they’re like the Swiss army knives of SEO: they do everything, and they do it all pretty well. A well-written slow link will give you:

  • * A backlink — and usually one with decent authority and juice behind it.
  • * A landing page from which potential customers can find you.
  • * A public work that you can point to as evidence of your expertise and use as a tool to build your reputation.
  • * A piece of content that other people might backlink to voluntarily, widening your sales funnel even further.

In the end, the best SEO strategies probably involve a bit of both kinds of links. Focus too much on quick links and you’ll lose to someone with a better reputation. Focus too much on slow links and someone with a mountain of quick links will outrank you. A divided approach is the best answer for most companies.

Article Writing and Distribution Is The First Step in Online Reputation Management

Article writing and distribution does a lot of good things for a website. It creates powerful backlinks, it drives mad traffic all by itself — and if you hire a spinner to multiply your articles, it’s a great form of affordable SEO. But one thing that many novice webmasters miss out on entirely is the ability of a solid set of articles to create an online reputation for an individual or a business.

Think about it — if you go to an article repository and you see three dozen articles by the same guy on several different aspects of the same detailed subject — let’s say it’s Italian art. Furthermore, each of these articles links to one of two pages on a website all about Italian art. You can scan these articles and find technical terms and details that clearly demonstrate that this guy knows a hell of a lot more than you do about Italian art. And, of course, the website he links to clearly indicated that he is the owner of the site and it’s attached business.

You walk away from that experience with the understanding that if you ever have a question about Italian art, that dude — and that website — are your go-to sources of information. You’ve just been hit by the online reputation building power of article writing and distribution.

On the other hand, the inverse is also entirely possible. If you submit a boatload of articles that are full of bad grammar, incorrect facts, and a childish tone of voice, you can utterly destroy your online credibility. It’s a double-edged sword. That means it’s worth a lot of time and energy to get your few articles done well — and also worth a little extra cash to hire a high-quality article spinner, and a top-tier distribution expert.

Some people have decided that the possibility of a negative impact is so great that they’d rather just skip out on the article marketing part of SEO altogether. On the other hand, if you love what you’re doing and you’re passionate enough to know the details, it should be easy for you to impress.

Article Writing and Distribution is the Foundation of Long Term Success

When you get going with a Web-based business, there are two separate tacks that people take in order to establish their success. The first is to spend money on advertising, get people to come visit their sites, and hope that they make more than they spent on advertising. The second is to work, spend a lot of time building backlinks and raising their rankings through organic SEO, and hope that they rank high enough to start bringing in enough money to pay the bills.

Then, there’s article writing and distribution. It’s both at once, and it works wonders.

In general, you can pay someone to write the articles, to distribute the articles, or both — though frequently it won’t be the same person doing both parts. That’s because the kind of people who find it easy to string words together with flowing eloquence tend not to enjoy sitting there and mindlessly clicking “submit” over and over on dozens of different article directories, and vice versa.

Once you find the people who can tag-team the job appropriately, however, you’re golden. Here’s why: when you have a well-written article and you submit it correctly to an authoritative article directory, you get the total package. Your article will likely rank quickly for it’s chosen keyword (assuming you did your keyword research correctly, of course). Once it’s ranked, you’ll start getting organic traffic through it as people click from it to your homepage.

That’s targeted traffic, and it’s worth quite a bit. Moreover, every article provides you with a context-controlled backlink with the anchor text of your choice, generally from a quite reputable source. (If you’re submitting to Jackopff’s Article Bucket, you might want to reconsider and see what it takes to get onto EZineArticles.com or another major article directory.)

Repeat the process, coming up with quality topics, solid keywords, and reputable directories every time, and you’ll soon find yourself with a quite functional web-based business. It’s a lot of effort, and it takes both creativity and technical knowledge, but once you know the game, it’s very very worth your while.

The Power of Conversion: A Lesson in Targeted Email Marketing

Let’s do a little bit of basic math. Let’s say you’ve got a website, and for every 200 visitors that come to your site, you make a sale. (People spend a little time on your site, so you know they’re not just bouncing as soon as they land — there’s clearly something attractive about your copy that has them engaging, they just won’t buy.) You’ve got yourself a conversion rate of a meager 0.5%.

Let’s say you’re selling an ebook that doesn’t cost anything to produce, but you have to make at least $1200/month to pay your bills and whatnot. Every sale makes you $30. At this point, in order to make ends meet, you need 40 sales — or 8,000 visitors each month. Sound likely? Not unless you’ve got a lot of money and one hell of a PPC management team.

Solutions to the dilemma are obvious: get more visitors, or improve your conversion rate. Getting more visitors is going to get exponentially harder — but there’s an easy tool you can use to improve conversions; it’s called targeted Email marketing.

With targeted Email marketing, you collect Email addresses from the people who visit your site, and you send them Emails regarding the topic they visited about. For example, if your site sells a product designed to help them pick up men at a bar, you might send them Emails about common problems with bar patrons or how to drink without getting wasted.

At some point, you slip in a sales pitch for your product — and because they’ve had the chance to get to know you through your Emails, they’re a lot more likely to buy from you. The longer you wait to pitch them — and the higher-quality the material you send in the interim — the better it works.

The result, if done correctly, is a massive spike in conversions. Because after all, if you can convert a whopping 3% of your visitors through targeted Email marketing, you don’t need 8,000 visitors each month anymore — you only need 1,334. That’s an incredible decrease in the effort you need to put into marketing, all for just a little extra put into conversions.

Directory Submission: The Front Line of Backlink Building

When it comes time to get someone to do some basic website SEO work for you, there are a lot of different techniques that they could engage in order to get your website indexed and ranked quickly:

  • Article writing and distribution
  • Blog commenting
  • Directory submission
  • Forum posting
  • Video marketing
  • Social bookmarking
  • Custom blog creation
  • Web 2.0 properties
  • And those are just the most common…there are dozens more!

It’s important that SEO companies use a variety of these different kinds of methods. One thing that search engines hate is a monotonous link profile. In other words, if 80% of your links come from forum posts, the search engine isn’t going to give those links a lot of authority, because they’ll assume the same person is making all of those forum posts.

That said, there’s a pretty good logic behind doing at least one of those activities often and first: the directory submissions. The reasons are simple.

You Get Indexed
If you’re a brand-new site, you need Google to recognize your existence as a valid site before it will send you any traffic about any subject. Getting indexed can take weeks if you’re not smart about it — but when you submit your URL to a few dozen high-authority website directories, you virtually guarantee that you’ll be indexed within 24 hours.

You Get Authority
Website directories — at least, when they’re chosen well by your SEO people — have quite a bit of standing with the search engines. They tend to be old sites (that’s good), with pretty narrow categories, meaning your site is on a page with a bunch of closely related sites (that’s good), and the links are one-way rather than reciprocal (that’s good). All that goodness adds up to plenty of benefit for your website.

You Get Control
When you submit a link to most web directories, you get to control a few very important things. The first is the description of your site in the directory itself. That gives you control over the context your site is listed in. The second is the anchor text of your link — that lets you focus your site’s ranking impact on a particular search term.

With all of these benefits, a startup’s strategy should be obvious: start with the directory submission, move on to everything else. You’ll be glad you did.

Local Internet Marketing Is Good Small Business SEO

In the vast world of small business SEO, there are some practices that are obvious, and some that are overlooked by many small businesses. For example, it’s commonplace for small businesses to have a website and for that website to feature a blog. That’s just good SEO. But one thing that many businesses seem to completely overlook is the power of local internet marketing.

Local internet marketing is essentially the art of convincing Google and the other search engines that your business exists at a specific location. The result is that when people in your area search for a keyword related to your business, they see your website in the rankings. The second result is that when people someone else search for a keyword related to your business alongside a keyword related to your locale, they’ll get results that include your website.

The reason why local internet marketing is good small business SEO is simple: it’s easier to be a small fish if you’re in a small pond. A florist in remote Forks, Washington can reach the top of the local rankings with about twenty minutes of concentrated effort — compare that to the 55 million results for “floral delivery” without the location in mind. Even if you live in a big city like Los Angeles, local internet marketing can cut your competition by as much as 90% compared to the generic form of your chosen keyword.

Local internet marketing also has a bigger benefit to your business than generic internet marketing does. That’s because local internet marketing sends people through your front door. Broad-keyword internet marketing sends people to your website. The conversion rate from visitor-to-buyer on a website is excellent at about 5%. The conversion rate for visitor-to-buyer in a brick and mortar store is appalling at 5%; it’s average around 40%. So local internet marketing is easier to rank with and converts better.

If you own a small business, you have every reason in the world to look into local internet marketing — but just in case you need one more, here goes: most SEO companies charge less for local internet marketing than they do for broad-spectrum SEO work. Check it out for yourself, and jump on the bandwagon before someone else in your town takes the number one spot all for themselves!