The Article Marketing Debate

Pat Tate
As a senior Pat Tate started to explore Internet Marketing. She uses her blog as a journal to keep track of the people that she has met along the way. At Grandma's Internet Marketing/blog she talks about the various courses that she has tried and people that she has met along the way. The blog is a method to try to document the various ways that seniors might be able to use to augment their incomes. She invites anyone to join her with their ideas and suggestions.
Pat Tate
Pat Tate

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Pat Tate
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Article Marketing and Google Farmer
While you may have never thought to hear “article marketing“ and “debate” in the same sentence, the Google Farmer update has made this a very common occurrence indeed. When you research the topic of article marketing since the update, you will see this is a very heated debate indeed. Some sites swear the update hasn’t changed a thing and have the proof to back it up. Other sites swear the exact opposite and once again, they have proof.

How can both sides of the debate have undeniable proof? For something as straight-forward as article marketing, shouldn’t there be a simply right and wrong? After all, this isn’t a moral debate, or is it? In some ways, Google has turned article marketing into a moral problem. Since Google doesn’t like it, it must be wrong and immoral.

However, on the other side of the argument, if a site didn’t feel any negative impact and was using article marketing, Google must not have any problem with it. Suddenly, everything is fine, except for those who felt the blow of Google’s hammer for no real reason.

Either article marketing works or it doesn’t. It’s not so simple. If you carefully look at article marketing before Google’s update, it was never actually a simple yes or no issue. It all depended on how you used it. Both good and bad sites could see amazing results through article marketing. However, is it right to send visitors to low quality, possibly dangerous sites? No. Is it right to post your content on the same site these low quality sites use? There’s your problem.

You want to use article marketing, but you can’t avoid sharing space with those who use it incorrectly. Everyone wants visitors, but it’s the reasons behind why they want visitors which causes the problem. Google decided to take matters into its own hands by cutting out article directories completely.

So why didn’t this affect everyone the same? A lot depended on which directories you used, the quality of your articles and where else they were published. Some directories weren’t as affected as others, which meant sites using primarily these directories were likely to see little change. If you used high quality articles, with a different one on each directory, Google’s new quality and duplication requirements helped sites keep their rank.

Since articles can be published on other sites as well, even if you used articles directories which rarely make it into Google’s results now, if your articles were republished on high quality sites, you still seemed valid in Google’s eyes. While no one knew what changes Google planned to make, it was simply careful marketing and luck which helped sites remain unaffected.

Is Article Marketing Dead?

The nay saying side of the debate is that article marketing is dead. Google no longer approves of it and has taken great pains to ensure sites stop using it. Those who do use it are punished. This all sounds very glum indeed. According to this side of the debate, there is no way article marketing has a place in the post-Google Farmer world.

Google doesn’t like low quality, article directories or duplication. When you look at it, article marketing doesn’t really have a place. It offers search engines everything Google no longer wants. Marketing with articles is bound to hurt your website, so why even bother.

For many websites, article marketing was their main source of income. The marketing is free and the traffic equals profits. Take that away and sites will fail. Without profits, you can’t run a successful website or business. So what are you to do?

Do you give in and try to find a different marketing method? Do you let all your hard work go to waste and abandon your website? There has to be a better way. Google couldn’t have destroyed one of the most popular marketing tools. Hear enough negative talk and you may believe Google has. This is just one side of the debate, though.

Marketing Is Alive

The first ones to say article marketing is alive and well are those who are still using it to successfully market their sites. It works and they have the traffic and rank to prove it. This side of the article marketing debate is music to the ears of those who thought they had lost it all.

You don’t just hear this answer from sites that weren’t affected when Google updated. You also hear this response from those who have come back after the change. While they may have taken a hit initially, a few changes to how they marketed and suddenly they are seeing better results than before. Obviously, they are going to agree that article marketing is alive.

Something you will also hear from this side of the debate is article marketing is easier than before. Many thought this was the case before the update, yet all the hard work has set them back instead of gaining them traffic. So how could it possibly work and be easier at the same time?

Those who are pro-article marketing know how important it is to market your site correctly. Part of doing this is to create high quality content which is well-written and provides useful information to the reader. Engage the reader and they will be more likely to visit your site. Ensure the article deals with something your site offers and visitors stay on your site. If your site helps golfers improve their technique, an article on ladies golf clubs reviews would make more sense than one on pet care. This alone helped many sites remain on top after the update.

The sites who took a major hit had to make a few other changes. First, where you publish matters. Google wants only the highest quality content. If you use article directories notorious for low quality content, having a link from their site isn’t going to improve your rank. Sites republishing from these directories are often low quality as well, meaning a large number of low quality backlinks. None of which Google likes.

The second change these sites made was to use unique articles. Instead of duplicating the same article, they published unique articles on each directory. Duplication became less of an issue, especially when higher quality sites were picking up their content. In this way, article marketing is still alive for those willing to find out what Google wants.

Which Side Is Right?

The answer may surprise you, but the answer is both. Article marketing is indeed dead for those who abuse it. This includes those sites no one ever wants to find themselves on. We’ve all seen them and been subject to the questionable or flat out ridiculous content. While searching for something completely different, we were falsely led to these sites.

Article marketing is alive for those who use it for the right reasons. While you may have used what is considered the “wrong” technique in the past, you can still recover by changing how you use it. Instead of taking the supposedly easy way out, carefully craft and submit your content. This actually equals less content to write and fewer places to submit it to.

Google wants users to find the right sites, not the low quality ones which tended to outrank legitimate sites. Not only is Google trying to help searchers, but legitimate websites as well. Thanks to old article marketing methods, this may not have seemed the case initially. However, performing a search for your keyword yields more relevant results than ever before. When you don’t have to compete with spam sites, it is much easier to rank.

Don’t let the nay sayers get you down. If your site took a major hit, you may feel like there is no point in article marketing now. That’s understandable, but not true. Think of it as getting a fresh start at marketing. You can recreate your site’s image and gain a higher rank than ever before.

There is no reason to push article marketing to the side. It is still as effective as ever. Be a little pickier as to where your articles go and your site becomes the authority Google is looking to put at the top of its search results. Give Google the quality it’s looking for and article marketing becomes your best friend all over again.


  1. Chuck Sharpsteen says:

    Great post Pat. I started Article Marketing after the Panda/Farmer update. So a lot of the methods I learned at first were pre-Panda/Farmer.

    Using article sites like ezine articles because they were authority sites to get your content ranked easier just doesn’t work anymore. Focus on making your own site an authority in it’s own right. Yeah, it takes longer, but that is what you need to do.

    Just remember Google’s goal is always going to be to provide the user with relevant information. People are always going to abuse methods to get there. Just stay away from them and concentrate on providing Google and Users what they want.

  2. Twitter:

    I like this article a lot. It pretty much jibes with my views on article marketing. For those that try to mass blast useless content into the ether. Yes it is dead.

    But there is still a place for quality article marketing. It STILL may not have the incredible power it had in it’s heyday 5-6 years ago. (I could remember posting articles on ezinearticles back then and almost assuring page 1 result rankings for my keyphrase) but it is far from “dead”

    The important piece is that you have to have article that are unique, vibrant and well structured. if you wouldn’t post something on your blog… it will not do well as an article marketing hook either.

    stevescottsite recently posted..I Need $1000! THE 30-Day Plan for Making Fast Internet IncomeMy Profile

  3. Twitter:
    Article marketing is very much alive and kicking. I have had lots of success with artcile marketing and I believe if you can use it the right way, it can be one of the best tools for SEO in general.

  4. I am in this business and I know how important article marketing is. While everyone keeps talking about SEO, which is definitely important, article marketing is perhaps the major component any business. Unless you have good content about your business, people wont get attracted to it. The only thing I dislike about this profession is when I get plagiarized stuff.

    I have several senior writers. They are well experienced and patient.

  5. samurai launched an article program which seems promising
    i’m wondering if it works or not
    any feedback?
    Jean-Luc recently posted..Comment Etre HeureuxMy Profile

  6. Twitter:
    Article marketing is still alive if you remove the duplicate word for the definition. Time to post unique and useful content. Also a having a theme for blog articles helps a lot in terms of SEO.

  7. Twitter:
    Article marketing is alive and well for me. But rather than the traditional (well, more traditional) method of sending an article out to 100 directories that nobody reads, I prefer the individually tailored article marketing method. Find a blog in your area, write for it, offer the post. There are some good communities who share articles too. The key is exclusivity, quality and engagement.
    Jon recently posted..New Google Search Results LayoutMy Profile

  8. Personally I think that article marketing is still alive but soe things have changed. For example submitting the same article to different sites will only hurt your articles visibility. Some of my articles that are posted on ezine still get views but those are the ones that were sent only to ezinearticles. Others that I posted on 5 article directories are nowhere to be found in google. The farmer update hit really hard on those sites domain authority so what has been working for me lately is to use really long tail keywords and use variations.

  9. Hi Pat,

    I enjoyed reading this article and I think you have presented both sides of the argument quite succinctly. I think you are correct in your analysis that the recent Google update has appeared to have targeted lower quality article directories. This correction was long overdue with the amount of auto blogging and nonsensical content found on websites. I believe we can use this Google imposed benchmark to improve the quality of sites for our customers, otherwise the internet is in danger of becoming a great big garbage tip that has potential to mislead future generations into believing everything they read on the internet to be true. We need more writers of your ilk to demonstrate to the misinformed masses that they can change their fortunes, if they do the right thing by society.

  10. you can have a great future in articles marketing!!
    Well a freelancing job will be great you are paid to!
    Usman recently posted..Episode 50 (2011) DVDRip 300MB Mediafire LinkMy Profile

  11. Jeff Herring says:

    Hi Pat!

    Thanks for a well thought out article on Article Marketing. It’s dead and dying for those that abuse it. The good news is for those of us who use it properly, getting rid of those who abuse it actually allows room the cream to rise to the top.

    When used the right way, Article Marketing provides the 5 things you need for success online:

    content creation
    online visibility
    traffic generation
    list building
    product creation

    Not bad, huh?

    Thanks again,

    ~ Jeff Herring

  12. Twitter:
    I consider guest blogging to be a form of article marketing. After all, you are writing and publishing articles just the same. The only difference is you are publishing on blogs instead of article directories. So, without a doubt, article marketing does still work. It is merely a question of where you publish.

  13. Rob Lindquist says:

    I’ve seen a ton of debate on this topic recently. What i’m hearing a lot of the top ranked bloggers saying is that it’s the automated article submission software blasting out hundreds or thousands of the same content on questionable at best article directories of very low quality that hurts the marketer. Especially if it’s a new blog and suddenly overnight it gets 3000 backlinks, that just looks suspicious to Google and those are likely the ones affected most.

    My understanding is that a far better link building strategy is to contribute and share content only on sites with Google Page Rank of 3 or better, because the quality and reputation of the website your content (or comment for that matter) appears on has a far greater positive impact on your own site’s reputation and page rank. I guess it’s true after all that who you hang out with just might determine your reputation…

  14. Hi Pat, I’m game.

    As you know, this is a topic very near an dear to my heart …and one I have been known to harp on. The article marketing debate is a good one.

    I believe the confusion in the article marketing lies in the lack of a clear definition of what it is. Many were engaged in the practice of developing 400 word crap content articles (which they would then mass submit to the article directories).

    That type of “article marketing” is clearly DEAD.

    That in my opinion is also what the masses know as affiliate marketing.

    As you know, many in the know, do engage in other more credible forms of article marketing (for lack of a better term). The challenge is for those new to the Internet. They have to wade through the mess and confusion the crap article marketers left behind.

    Let me share up an article and a podcast I did recently on the subject:

    5 Reasons You Should AVOID Article Marketing Like the Plague

    Coffee Talk Interview #68 – What Is Article Marketing? Is It Still an Effective Strategy? Can It Do More Harm Than Good?

    Article marketing is DEAD.


  15. Twitter:
    I agree with you! “Article marketing is indeed dead for those who abuse it” :)

    You have written a fantastic article here and would definitely clam down the heated debate!
    Mitz Pantic recently posted..Making Money From a Wordress Website Even After it is SOLDMy Profile

  16. It’s a great share and a very detailed article.

  17. I know more people who rely solely with their article marketing strategy while others with other form of link building strategies. However for others who use article marketing, they are submitting crap articles. Obviously, they won’t be able to provide useful content that Google will surely love.
    Maria Pavel recently posted..How to Open a CNA SchoolMy Profile

  18. Twitter:
    Thanks for the well thought out comments. It is encouraging to know that for thise who do not abuse it…it can still be a productive activity.
    michelle recently posted..Healing Ourselves Through MindfulnessMy Profile

  19. Interesting that you say not to post of sites that link to bad sites but what tool is available to signal bad sites that is representative of what Google feels about a site? And how do we search a large site for these bad links? If there are 2500 good links and 100 bad links, is the site a bad one to market on? Lots of questions.
    Steve recently posted..Tax Carnival Ecstasy – September 27, 2011My Profile

  20. I still believe article marketing is still alive, never had problem in taking my site on top of search engine because of this. It’s just a question of how you use it.

  21. Twitter:
    Great article! Even if luck permits a low quality article to pass through, eventually it will be thrown out of the search engine. Hence it is important to build relevant content and follow policies and procedures to get ahead. Thank you for sharing.

  22. I believe it still working just more complicated to get the result because too much people trying to abuse it .
    Stay white hat and submit unique article, you still able to survive by using article marketing methods. But don’t too focus on only one marketing methods. If won’t be that easy to success with one kind of online marketing because strong competitive nowadays.

  23. Relevant backlink is even the best
    then when you are try to article marketing that must provide relevant backlink to its article,

  24. Twitter:
    In my opinion article marketing is not a better method instead some other should be seen if anyone wants to make money.
    himanshu recently posted..Htc galaxy one a cool phone.My Profile

  25. Twitter:
    stevescottsite i agree with your views about article marketing but little confused is it better or not?
    himanshu recently posted..Htc galaxy one a cool phone.My Profile

  26. If you want to get your site penalized by Google, use Article Samurai. It creates thousands of spammy links from which your site will NEVER recover from! And the software creators couldn’t care less…they laugh all the way to the bank with your money! Be warned!

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