Post Panda Article Marketing

2 or 3 years ago, my article writing service used to guarantee Google page 1 listings for articles submitted to directories. Listings from ezine, articlesbase or articledashboard would never let us down. However, article directories been heavily devalued by Google over 2011 thanks to the Panda algorithm updates.

These dramatic changes mean article marketing is simply not what it was. Take a look at these stats, showing directory site and their drop in search visibility:
EzineArticles 93.69%
Articlesbase.com 88.68%
Buzzle.com 84.97%
Findarticles.com 82%

“I see Panda as the greatest wake-up call that has ever happened to us.” – Chris Knight, Ezine Articles CEO

Other directories took a dive in their PR rating; GoArticles dropped from PR6 to PR3. Less established directories, like ArticlePool and Articles&News went from a PR4 to a PR0 overnight and may as well not exist.

Raising Standards
Most article directories now are trying to raise the bar for quality, implementing measures to conform to Pandas high standards. Many have made their article acceptance and approval policies much stricter. Some are simply not accepting new submissions and others have resorted to a paid service.

-Articledashboard now charge $47 for a premium author account.
-Buzzle announced that they don’t allow external links anymore in articles submitted by authors.
-As reported on ezines blog, it plans to withdraw spammy articles.
-Yahoo (Associated Content) have developed an online training course to help writers create higher quality web content.
-Google Authorship is now being utilised on Articlesbase.com and authors can link their articles to their Google+ profile.

Hub Pages CEO Paul Edmondson wants to know why youtube have benefited from Panda when video spam is just as much of a problem as article spam.

In response to these efforts, Google now seems to be letting some sites back into its good graces, for example, after its demise; amazines.com actually saw upward trends of 16.66% in September and October 2010.

How should this affect my Strategy?
There has been considerable debate on this subject for almost a year now. Fighting the panda is a losing battle, just when marketers think they have it sussed, there’s another update which poses another multitude of questions. Countless time and money has been spent trying to decipher the optimum article length, keyword density, uniqueness etc. The fact is, no-one knows and this has left many businesses too heavily reliant on articles in limbo.

These days do not expect article directories to;

1. Generate high volumes of direct traffic
2. Provide link-juice in a back linking campaign

You may be irritated by this, but you can’t condemn a business for wanting to improve its service, which is all Google are trying to achieve. They simply want to stop those who write nonsensical, keyword-stuffed articles purely to gain backlinks. As a business that offers a high quality article writing service, I can certainly relate to that.

They are not condemning the article itself but poor quality pages/websites that give its users a poor user experience. In other words, they’re punishing the platform, not necessarily the article submitted. The problem is they can still downgrade even first-rate articles if they appear on sites they consider to be content farms.

Article marketing is not dead. There will always be a place on the internet for well written, informative articles that offer value to the reader.   Whether that place is on a directory site will depend on measures taken to control the quality of content published and improve user experience.

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