We all know the value article directories, like EzineArticles, has been eroding over the past few years. No longer can you publish an EzineArticle with an outgoing link and rank instantly. It was only a question of time until their value, from an SEO perspective, is completely gone. However, things have gotten much worse than I originally anticipated.
It is easy to see the SEO value disappearing, Google after all is on the record as pretty much saying that if this is the main way you build backlinks to your website, you should not do it. Period. However, the decline of article directories and article sites in general has gone much further than that. In fact, the whole idea of getting direct traffic from such article directories is now preposterous, because as the internet continues to evolve, there are more specialized channels of information that people would trust more for niche-specific information. Here are some key take-aways regarding this development.
The Declining Value of Article Backlinks
No less than Google head of web spam, Matt Cutts, is on the record as saying that if the only reason you are submitting articles to article directory sites is to get a backlink, you should probably stop. He is on the record as saying that the value of such backlinks is really not that good. The reason why Google came into this conclusion is that, originally these websites were founded to give people traffic.
They were not really founded to give high value content to readers. They were not really founded to possess high levels of editorial control. It is no surprise then that for the most part, a lot of these article directory sites are filled with garbage articles that few real people would read.
More Credible Sources of Niche Information
Ezinearticles’ recent announcement that they will be going completely no follow, really shocked a lot of people. Part of the reason for this, is because this website developed a reputation for having credible niche information. The problem is Ezinearticles is the victim of its own success.
It was able to get such a high page rank from Google and has so much traffic that at first people basically started flooding it with garbage articles. Just like in any type of situation where there is such a huge strain on your editorial resource, it is not a surprise that they have been letting a lot of low quality articles through. It is only a matter of time until the weight of all these bad articles will effectively tarnish the Ezinearticles brand.
More Direct Traffic will Probably Continue to Fall off
It seems that Ezinearticles is caught in a downward spiral. Think about it, since the primary motivation for people submitting high quality articles to Ezinearticles is gone, the remaining articles being submitted will be of lower quality. Since people are looking for quality content, they have less incentive to go to Ezinearticles in the first place. When there is less traffic, this again triggers another wave of quality publishers going elsewhere for their quality content.
This leads to a downward spiral of lower quality articles, lower traffic volume, which leads to lower quality articles. It is really a race to the bottom. It is really too bad, because it seems that Ezinearticles, at least the model for Ezinearticles, has outlived its usefullness. Let us face it, if you are looking for credible information regarding a particular niche or a particular content vertical, it is probably a better use of your time to go to specialized resources or reference sites.
EzineArticles Might not be the Way to Brand
One counter argument that always comes up when the question of publishing on Ezinearticles is raised is that, it is a branding platform. I have to agree that the branding argument is quite strong when we are talking about social media, blogs and other platforms that might not give you a do follow back link.
However, in the Ezinearticles, the branding argument does not hold any water. Why? Your brand might get infected by low quality brands that are occupying the same space. You have to understand, since Ezinearticles is no longer do follow, it is going to attract people that do not care where their content gets published, all they care about is traffic. As a result, you are going to share the same space as low quality brands or low quality content. Since brand identity is infectious, your brand might suffer when it is placed on a site that is perceived as having low quality brands. Do you see how this works?
As the old saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. You do not want your online brand, which you worked so hard to build, to be associated with low quality brands.
Farmed Content Sites are Going Down…
As we have seen in the massive traffic carnage brought about by Google Panda, farmed content is not the way of the future. Google subscribes to this idealistic view of the internet, where high quality publishers go through all these time an effort producing high quality content that goes through stringent editorial controls. Regardless of whether you think this view is unrealistic or unworkable, it does not really matter.
With sixty-five percent share of the total search market in the United States, Google is the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. Whatever Google says goes. So if this is how Google envisions the internet, you have to align your online brand with this vision, otherwise, you are not going to get traffic from Google. Google is serious about focusing on brands.
Unfortunately, if you are going to try to build your brand contributing content to farmed content sites, this does not fit with Google’s vision of high quality brands. You would be better off producing a high value niche blog and then reaching out to other credible and authoritative niche blogs to link to your content. Make no mistake about it, Ezinearticles’ recent developments points to a very bleak future for traditional article marketing. Does this mean that article marketing is completely dead? Absolutely not.
However, you have to basically redefine what article marketing means I 2014 and beyond. Tricks that used to work in 2008, 2009 or 2010 no longer work. In fact, it is worse than that, if you engage in such behavior, not only will your website fail to get traffic from search engines, it might even get penalized for engaging in such behavior.