Why Won’t You Die, Article Marketing?

Article marketing is for my reckoning, the most boring chore on the planet. Every time my to-do list springs up an item that requires me to visit Ezine, I shed tears of sorrow, snap a kitten in half, and beg for it all to go away.

Just who was the smart arse to decide that such monotonous crap should ever be rewarded by Google?

The benefits, or pointlessness, of article marketing can be argued over all day long. I don’t like to ruffle feathers when it comes to SEO. Everybody has a different opinion over what works, what doesn’t, and what classifies as a gigantic waste of time. If I had my way, I would confine the entire art of SEO to the latter.

It’s pointless shit, isn’t it?

It’s like trying to beat your competitor by jumping on the fastest escalator to the top of the pile of riches. Only, you don’t control the escalator. Google can choose to switch you in to reverse at any moment. If Google has a bad day, he can choose to remove the escalator from under your feet.

Nobody can deny that great money is there for the taking by ranking first for [your key phrase here]. But in my opinion, getting search traffic is the just tip of the iceberg. The real challenge isn’t to produce optimized content, but to produce memorable content.

And for that reason, I’ve always believed sites like Ezine to be about as valuable to the end user as a third nipple on my face. So imagine the explosion in my pants then when I read just recently that the so-called Google Farmer update could bring an end to this madness.

The death of article marketing, you reckon? I’d say it’s no more than a shifting of the goalposts at this point. If there’s one thing SEO professionals can be praised for, it’s their ability to try a lot of pointless crap with no true relevance to the people that actually matter. A string of wild experiments just to find something – Christ, anything – that creates an artificial ripple and crowbars their website a place or three up the rankings.

But no matter how influential you gauge these latest Google updates to be, the warning signs are there.

It’s time to stop being such a lobotomized prat in how you market your websites. Blasting hundreds of shitty 400 word articles may be effective now, and even tomorrow, but as long as Google is *trying* to castrate you at the source, you’re always going to be struggling to keep up with the pace.

I think it’s about time people woke up from their Digital Point induced comas and realised the importance of providing genuine content that offers real value to the world. No matter how many search engine changes lay ahead, you can always rest assured that there WILL be a way of marketing genuine content. But only if you actually have it.

So how can you take a step towards that? A little method I’ve been playing around with involves simply re-distributing my budget.

Instead of outsourcing 10 mediocre articles, I’ve been surveying opportunities for how I can outsource just one high quality article and get it used as a guest post on other high profile sites in my niches.

While it’s early days and requires a lot more creative thinking, not to mention a guest post friendly niche – you’re not going to find a blog about the cheapest office chairs – the first signs are definitely promising.

I find this a much more rewarding method of generating traffic to my sites. But also importantly, it gets subscribers and the highly sought after “return visits”. Search traffic is great for generating leads and sales, but you’ll rarely see those users again – unless it’s to complain about the bullshit you just sold them in your fake review.

Guest posting is often seen as an even greater chore than article marketing. At least with article marketing you’re guaranteed a backlink if you put your commas in the right places.

Most SEOs prefer to spend their time completing utterly brainless tasks with the surgical precision that warrants their job titles. Whereas high quality content requires time and thought – qualities you often have trouble outsourcing to Nigeria – and most importantly, the development of a rapport with the end user.

But in the long run, isn’t that exactly the content Google is striving to reward?

It doesn’t really matter. Screw Google. It’s possible to run high traffic websites without a shred or sniff of a first page on the Big G. You just need to be able to market your message in the right places to the right audience. The idea of abandoning search traffic altogether is, I would imagine, too much of a leap for most. So try looking at things in a different way.

Someday, Google will succeed in getting it’s algorithm up to speed with it’s vision. I know a lot of SEOs will argue how they’re smart enough to keep finding loopholes and keep gaming the system. But when that day comes, the smartest and most cost efficient way of gaming the system will be to actually oblige the god damn system.

Produce the great content, regardless of any search traffic, and have those forces like Google striving to be on your side. Not against it.

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About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


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  • Thing is, GOOG makes a shit-ton of monies off of low-quality content sites. Maybe some algorithm updates will drop Ezine a few positions. But as long as farms keeping generating Adsense clicks, they ain’t going nowhere.

  • That’s true but a lot of people said the same thing about affiliate ads on Facebook.

    I think Google makes more than enough money across the board to be able to make that call if it needs to. Either from the threat of unlikely competition delivering a “better search experience”, or in simply wanting to stay ahead of the pack.

    I think the reason the farms continue to rank is more to do with the ability of their webmasters to seize loopholes, than it is to do with Google leaving an open door so to speak.

  • Google had to act. Quality of search results are their core business. They face ever increasing competition from social search, facebook and bing. Yes their short term revenue might decline as a result of reduced traffic to content farms, but if they dont people will stop using google search.

    It was just getting to easy to game google and get top rankings.
    Its like the good old adsense days. Google had to act at that time and they did.

    They will this time around if they are serious about not turning into altavista in 4 years time!

    And I agree 200% with the basic point of this post – quality content is where its at. I have only got a small blog, and probably dont get a 10th of the traffic that you do – but –

    the 3 guest posts I have done in the last year in themselves still drive more and better quality traffic than google. The spiders will follow soon 😉

  • Finch,

    Google is eventually going to marry the social streams and personalized search to the current way to rank in organic search in the future. When that happens, search will be changed and it will be a whole hell of a lot harder to game (gaming a search engine which uses social graphs is a lot harder than hurling anchor link text en masse at a page).

    That’s my view on it at least. It may not happen next week or next year, but it is leaning in that direction already.

  • Hi Finch, I found myself nodding and occasionally grinning as I read that. I think it’s fair to say “in the long run” article marketing will need to evolve to keep up with Google et. al. While there is still any value to it, people will rightly or wrongly continue to use it to market their sites. As for the sites themselves, this is a rude awakening which we can only hope will prompt them to improve the quality of their offerings – RT’d.

  • Awesome post, I agree with how pointless almost all SEO work feels, even though it is effective. If you don’t provide real value it is like pushing shit uphill, return visitors and direct traffic is were the real gold is…

    I like that you have a new blog!

  • Awesome post, I agree with how pointless almost all SEO work feels, even though it is effective. If you don’t provide real value it is like pushing shit uphill, return visitors and direct traffic is were the real gold is…

  • Personally speaking I hope off page SEO does die… I live in hope that the only thing that drives the internet is high quality content on quality sites and social interaction – links should take a lower value… I can write great stuff, but link building is contrived and pointless unless it happens naturally – until then on and on we go with EzineArticles, blog posts, bookmarks etc etc and death by article boredom.

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