Ezine and Other Article Farms: The Word from Google

by donhx
26 replies
  • SEO
  • |
There are often posts here about the usefulness of articles posted at places like:

EzineArticles
ArticlesBase
GoArticles
ArticleTrader
Articlesfactory

Some people think they are still effective. Some think they are secondary, and at the very least it can't hurt to repost copies of articles already on your site, with the hope others will syndicate them.

Others of us have thought for a long time that this type of article marketing is not effective anymore, and is not worth the effort. This comment by Matt Cutts at Google (Jan 29, 2014) seems to confirm that thought.

What is your recent (2013-2014) experience?

#article #ezine #farms #google #word
  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    This stopped to work over a year ago.

    You can continue to think that it still works but it's a waste of time IMO.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Marketers who fully understand the real leveraging power of article self-syndication continue to do exceptionally well in directly driving massive floods of highly convertible traffic sans Google.

      It really has never been a viable marketing model to game the search engines by submitting massive quantities of semi-coherent text to article directories.

      The time-proven method for generating direct response traffic has simply been to write real articles, intended for real people, and submit them to real publications.

      Especially in recent years, those who have fallen for the mania of Google ranking by polluting the internet and article directories with keyword-laden garbage have quite often failed miserably.
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    • Profile picture of the author donhx
      Originally Posted by hpgoodboy View Post

      This stopped to work over a year ago.

      You can continue to think that it still works but it's a waste of time IMO.
      Some think of it as a very "90s" way of getting visibility. It did work longer than that, I think.

      Let me note that articles still work--that is a bedrock method of getting ranking and traffic. Doing guest posts is also a very powerful strategy. However, posting your articles on one of the sites I mentioned, or copies of them, in hopes of getting syndication and backlink juice, is a thing of the past.

      Content is still king, but it needs to be the highest quality content, not a couple hundred words someone spews out. There is lots of that at the old article farms. I can't see those types of articles, and any hope they will be widely syndicated, as being relevant anymore for the reason Cutts explains in the video.

      Of course, I would like to know if anyone has had recent success by using article farms as traffic builders.
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        Originally Posted by donhx View Post

        Of course, I would like to know if anyone has had recent success by using article farms as traffic builders.
        This issue has been discussed and debated ad nauseam since "Big G's" Panda first appeared. Article directories (particularly EZA) still certainly have their place in a functional article marketing model.

        However, the flawed "article directory marketing" (aka bum marketing - submitting thousands of articles to article directories for backlinks) model is an ass-backwards approach to the timeless and proven concept of article syndication; marketing by writing just a few quality articles then submitting them to thousands of niche-relevant publications.

        I still do submit articles to one article directory site (EZA), but only after every other possible publication source has been exhausted. It appears to be well regarded by ezine publishers and bloggers for content sourcing, and I have been picking up new syndication partners from it on a regular basis for well over a decade.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    It doesn't hurt my website so still do it only f I have enough time. I still get some direct traffic but I don't think t can help the ranking either.
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  • Profile picture of the author bwh1
    It still works for what it was made for - syndication.

    Google just won't index them anymore automatically on first page as used to be so no organic SE traffic here.

    But to be honest, when I see the crap which Google serves today in time I wish we could go back in time and have some valuable Articles from EA on first page.

    G.
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  • Profile picture of the author sadekjake
    I have stopped contributing good content to article directories. Article directories are losing relevance with the change in reader interactions over the web. They will be of even less importance in coming days.
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    • Profile picture of the author donhx
      I had an old friend send me a PM. She doesn't post here as much as some of us think she should, but she always has had important things to say. Therefore, I respectfully post a portion of her PM. I hope she does not mind me quoting her comments....

      Respectfully, Don, the problem in your thread is that you're not distinguishing between "article directory marketing" (about which you're 100% correct, of course) and "article marketing", which is something totally different. For all the reasons explained in this post, nobody in their right mind would want to use an article directory "as a traffic-builder"! But of course that isn't what they're there for anyway, so saying (accurately) that that isn't a purpose they can fulfil isn't much of a criticism of them, is it?! That's exactly as logical as saying that the problem with a cauliflower is that your car won't run on it, if you put it in the gas tank.

      Using them for their intended purpose can, however, be very successful indeed! And all the more so after all those Google updates: we article marketers are now able to use them for their intended purpose without any of the former, pre-Panda problems


      I have read the post she refers to several times and understand totally. The farms are not the source of traffic. As the links says, "The purpose of EZA [and other farms] is to offer your article to publishers, not to customers." But does everybody understand that? Or are they expecting results from the farms they should not be expecting? Does Google understand that, and do they think farms are offering the kind of syndicated content they want to see on publisher sites? The Cutts video addresses that. A well-placed guest post may get more visibility for your product and service, if that is what you are expecting from syndication.

      Again, I always appreciate the input of the friend who sent me the PM. She has always added value to any discussion including this one, even if by proxy.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    Myob nailed it.

    Syndication still works, but not much from the likes of the article directories being discussed.

    I think I have submitted 3 articles to EZA in the last year, just to test effectiveness. No one will be surprised to hear that I am not seeing much value from my articles in that article directory.

    However, I am still seeing good response by submitting relevant, good-quality articles to niche publishers. I think I syndicated about 15 articles in 2013, under 3 pen names, and two articles under my own name.


    p.s. Article directories have been junk yards since the Google Farmer update, never to rise again.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Let me see if I can clarify this a little bit better for the anti-article directory folks. The article marketing model can perhaps be better understood without any SEO or Google connection. It can stand on its own merits and drive traffic directly from reading audiences without any intervention from the big G at all.

      Article directories are a tool for marketing, and they still work quite effectively when used within the originally intended purpose. Publishers are increasingly hungry for quality content, and sourcing through EZA and other article directories is still a widely accepted practice.

      There seems to have been an incredibly strong cognitive dissonance, particularly in this forum, when trying to separate article marketing and syndication from SEO. Of course, I've never given much heed to Matt Cutts or Google, but that's just me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dayne Dylan
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    But do really high quality/traffic websites even pull articles from EzineArticles to publish on their websites, with the signature intact? To me, it seems like most of the articles are very low quality.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Originally Posted by Dayne Dylan View Post

      But do really high quality/traffic websites even pull articles from EzineArticles to publish on their websites, with the signature intact? To me, it seems like most of the articles are very low quality.
      If you want the "really high quality/traffic websites", you're going to have to actively target and market to them directly. A helpful classic detailing this model is Turn Words Into Traffic, by Jim and Dallas Edwards. This book was being written when Matt Cutts was just a wee toddler, but the concept is more timely than ever before.

      With EZA, passive syndication usually comes for me at a steady average rate of 3-5 new syndication publishers a week, all of which I would never have considered pursuing. The only quality issues I'm ever concerned about are regarding my own articles.
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  • Profile picture of the author melprise
    The confusion with article marketing is twofold, being that of 1) the people thinking it is, or was ever supposed to, or can be adjusted to be accepted by Google, and 2) judging a vehicle that mainly works for direct link/clickthrough traffic as something that must primarily work for SEO. Note that I distinguish "Google" from "SEO" because not everything Google currently, or suddenly starts to de-rank/devalue, is then 'dead' as far as other search engines are concerned. Details:

    The "quality, quality" content on "relevant niche sites" folks have clearly not got the memo from Google that it also devalues guest posts (aka relevant niche sites) regardless of "quality," not just devalues articles on directories. As per Google's latest decrees, a "quality" article on a new niche site will not rank higher than a so-so article on a site deemed to have established high authority, or one that has "big-brand" status.

    The location or quality of the content is not the issue---the issue is Google values "natural" development of content and links over other factors for ranking purposes. A "quality" article can still be considered "webspam" if it doesn't look like it was "naturally" created or placed. Other search engines are not this fussy over this issue, meaning the "Google problem" with articles is not confined to 'article farms.' Google just does not value article marketing for ranking and authority purposes, period. Using article writing for SEO outside of Google considerations, including on directories, can still work on a secondary basis, so long as one writes for Bing/Yahoo, instead of Google.
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  • Profile picture of the author tyronne78
    The proof is in the pudding regarding the effectiveness of article marketing. Look at all of the adsense on EzineArticles.com,lol.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dayne Dylan
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      Originally Posted by tyronne78 View Post

      The proof is in the pudding regarding the effectiveness of article marketing. Look at all of the adsense on EzineArticles.com,lol.
      All that proves is EzineArticles is making money. That has NOTHING to do with the effectiveness of article marketing or syndication (which is effective). That is simply the way they are monetizing their website.
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  • I found the problem with the old EZA model, was that the starting point of the model was to game the search engines. The actual quality of the article was down the list of priorities. If you use the phrase 'content marketing' instead, you can move away from that old model, and put the quality of the content at the top of the list. The rest of it is just about how to expose tthat content to the target market - the model may change, but the quality is constant.
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Whenever the Minister of Propaganda says something "doesn't work", we could just as easily translate that into "It's super effective so we don't want you to do it".

    Example... how long as Google been saying PageRank is dead, PageRank is going away, it doesn't mean anything, etc.? They've been saying that for several years now, yet high PR backlinks are still the #1 way to rank.

    Sure, they may target/devalue individual networks like EZine specifically, but they'll be making that decision based on the quality of the network. EZine is full of junk articles, so it wouldn't surprise me if they devalued all of them. But if an article network consistently publishes quality articles, the process of using it to rank will still work now and for years to come.
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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    I still see eZineArticles riding high for some competitive search terms. It seems Google is no nearer to ranking "quality" as it ever was.
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  • Profile picture of the author AntonioSeegars1
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by AntonioSeegars1 View Post

      Common sense dictates that the best place for high quality content is on a person's own domain, so I agree with everything Matt Cutt says.

      So, are you suggesting that if I disagree with you, I have no "common sense"? :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author ronrule
      Originally Posted by AntonioSeegars1 View Post

      Common sense dictates that the best place for high quality content is on a person's own domain, so I agree with everything Matt Cutt says.
      Except their own algorithm disagrees with you. Let's say you're featured in Forbes or Entrepreneur - not just quoted, but an article about you, along with a link back to your site. Do you really think that shouldn't have any impact in how important Google considers your content?

      Even if 100 people were saying the exact same thing, the fact that an authority recommends YOU instantly makes you more credible than the others. Google wants their algorithm to reflect that, as they should, which thereby makes your content more important than others.

      Case in point, do a search for any celebrity - there are thousands of people named Mike Rowe, but which one comes up in a search? The famous one, naturally, because the collective intelligence of the web - via linking - says he's probably the one you're searching for.

      You can write as many articles on your own site as you want, but the sites that rank best are the ones that have other high profile sites talking about them. This is why authority and Page rank still matter.
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

        This is why authority and Page rank still matter.
        Actually, these metrics only matter to SEO marketers for show, reputation, backlink sales and other "services". This misguided notion appears to be a major cause of failure for many, particularly within the broad interpretation of "article marketing". In practice, getting ranked in the search engines is such a waste of time that could instead be used in promoting, marketing, or for the most important thing - directly engaging your targeted audience with widely publicized relevant content. IMNSHO, it is nearly impossible to beat deep-pocketed SEO professionals in the SERPs for the best and most lucrative niches, but you can generally beat them all-to-hell by getting to their customers before Google.

        This model of article marketing through active syndication - writing to directly engage targeted readers using the leverage of strategic alliances through syndicated partners, is extremely powerful. Assuming the article has other positive engaging factors relevant to the reader, and coupled with the leverage achieved through syndication, it can directly drive massive and highly targeted traffic on its own merits. By establishing a network of syndicated publishers, it really does not take many articles at all to generate massive amounts of highly targeted traffic. Writing articles up to accepted standards and marketing these articles to outlets read by your targeted prospects is really all that has ever mattered. Google, in comparison to this kind of leverage, is merely a side-kick.

        There is a nuance in the structure of writing that contains key words which rank high in the hearts and minds of targeted readers which nearly always is comparatively sterile to key words for SEO purposes. Good writing includes considerations not only of reader expectations such as article length, grammar, spelling, syntax, context, etc., but also emotional connections as well as similar and constraining standards expected by publishers. Publishers really are hungry for quality content suitable for their readers/subscribers, including niche-relevant ezines, blogs, websites, and offline outlets such as magazines, newspapers, special interest newsletters, etc.
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        • Profile picture of the author ronrule
          Originally Posted by myob View Post

          Actually, these metrics only matter to SEO marketers for show, reputation, backlink sales and other "services".
          High PR backlinks to a page will still have a greater influence on its ranking than all the content in the world.
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          • Profile picture of the author myob
            Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

            High PR backlinks to a page will still have a greater influence on its ranking than all the content in the world.
            ROFLMAO! If ranking really matters that much more to you than making money, then knock yourself out. In a way, I'm glad nearly all of my competitors think just like you do. Getting "backlinks" from high PR sites just for ranking purposes is a laborious, time-consuming, and wimpy-assed approach.

            But if your content (ie syndicated articles) is on websites that are already ranking 1-3 in the SERPs, it's as good as having your websites there yourself. So, rather than fussing around with Google and their capricious algorithms, I just hitch a ride along with niche-relevant sites going my way.
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  • Profile picture of the author kayfrank
    I think the debate about article directories will continue for many years to come! Certainly if you plan on using them for back links then you need to re think. In fact you should re think backlinking strategy altogether. Matt talks about using articles for backlinks and we know that is spammy.

    However, using articles to build your brand, your content online and for article marketing (content marketing) that's different.

    Just as having only 3 articles on your own site won't bring in floods of visitors, having 3 articles on ezine articles wont bring loads of traffic either! It's more about volume and of course that means work and most people don't want to do that.....so they are happy to believe article marketing no longer works! :-)

    The truth is that ezine articles still get plenty of traffic so why not leverage some of the traffic for yourself? If you look at the Alexa ranking it is 800. If you look at the search engine traffic you will see that there has been an increase since the middle of 2012. Ezine is doing their best to only accept quality articles (OK there will always be room for improvement) but the evidence is there that it still does well in getting traffic.

    We all like different types of traffic - some people hate article marketing, others hate facebook marketing, others hate video marketing - and we could all find valid reasons why each one doesn't work!

    But if it works for you? You're happy and thats what counts in the end!
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Time consuming and laborious? It takes minutes and it works - To me, its not "just as good" to have content on sites you don't control as getting the user to your own site because on your own site you control the CTA and sales funnel. But if content generation is working for you then by all means stick with it. I'm not actually disagreeing with what you're saying, but I do question the future effectiveness of sites like EzineArticles specifically.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    I have a new site for my brick and mortar business and will post the link since its nothing related to you guys Acls Class Fort Worth Dallas | Bls Class Dallas Fort Worth I put out five articles, I am now on page one of google in less than two weeks.

    Now the competition is local and only about a half dozen big guys competing with me but still.

    I used to say they didn't work either but for this test I did not put these on my site. Just article directories, so something worked and the only other thing i did was seo plugin by yoast.
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