Article marketing is the only viable way to quickly build hundreds of one-way links to your website with little or no cost. Follow this step-by-step guide to find out how you can use article marketing (also known as article PR) to develop your own source of quality search engine and link referral traffic.
Creating Your Article
The secret to successful article marketing is quality content — think viral marketing. Poorly written articles may be accepted on certain directories, but only well written and informative articles will be accepted on the best article directories and consequently published by ezine editors, website owners and bloggers. You are likely to get more traffic from one high quality article than you would from several that are poorly written.
Keep your article short and concise. Aim for about 500 – 700 words, but use more if you feel it is necessary. Consider breaking long articles down into two sections. Distribute the first section to other websites and host the second section on your site only. That way, people will need to visit your site to finish reading the article.
Sell Your Article to the Audience
Use the title and first paragraph to get your article noticed and read by the target audience. The title should sell the key benefits, for example; ‘How To Earn Money Selling Insurance Affiliate Products’ does not stand out as well as ‘Insurance Affiliates Earning More Than £5000 per month — Find Out How You Can Join Them’.
The first paragraph should build on the benefits stated in the title and provide a clear explanation as to what the reader will discover in the article. Such as: ‘Find out how a bunch of college undergraduates are making £1,000s each month, selling insurance affiliate products in between their studies’.
Sell Your Article to the Search Engines
Increase the number of people reading your articles by making them search engine friendly. Consider this scenario: You have just launched a new website and desperately want to generate a steady stream of visitors. Unfortunately the Google Sandbox is likely to prevent you from receiving any substantial search engine traffic for a number of months.
A keyword targeted article on your website might not receive a satisfactory search engine ranking, but the same article added to a large, established article directory will have a much better chance. Despite being hosted on another website, the article will still link to your site, allowing readers to click through.
To optimise your article for search engines, aim to place your targeted keywords in the title, the first paragraph, sparsely throughout the article body and in the link anchor text of your resource box.
A resource box is actually just a piece of text at the end of the article where the author can provide contact details and information about their own website, product or service.
The resource box is your opportunity to drive traffic to your website, so maximise your clickthroughs by offering a compulsive reason for people to click on your link.
Rather than ‘Click here for useful advice and information’, use something like:
‘Did you like this article? Find over 100 high quality tools and articles at….’
‘Download our free report — How to instantly increase sales by 20%’.
If you are distributing articles to improve your search engine rankings, include a link to the web page that you are trying to promote and place the keywords on which you are trying to rank, into the anchor text.
Distributing Your Article
Begin by distributing to article directories. These tend to range from large general portals containing tens of thousands of articles in numerous categories, through to small, niche sites focusing on specific subjects. See the resources box at the end of this article for a listing of nearly 200 article directories to submit to.
Most article directories have an automated process for you to upload, review and submit your content. Some allow HTML formatting, whilst others do not. To save time during the article submission process, consider setting up web page on your computer with the following content that you can cut and paste into each directory:
Plain Text Article – Simple format used for directories that do not support HTML formatting, such as Bold or Underline.
HTML-Formatted Article – This version of the article will include tags around the titles, plus bullet points; making it visually more appealing to the audience.
Keywords – List of keywords for those directories that have their own internal search engines.
Resource Box – Promotional text for your website, product or service.
Your distribution strategy will depend on the subject of your article, though the more directories you submit to, the more links you will receive and the greater your chance of having your article picked up by a newsletter with several thousand subscribers.
Most article directories require you to register to submit your article. This can make the initial effort quite drawn-out, but once you are registered with the directories the process will be much quicker. Ensure you record the login details for each article directory in a spreadsheet or on a web page on your computer, so that you can quickly navigate to the directory, login and submit your article.
Once you have submitted to the list of directories you could try contacting relevant websites and blogs directly, asking them if they would like to publish your article; just avoid the strategy of spamming hundreds of websites with unsolicited emails and poor quality content.
Monitor The Results
Monitor your site statistics to see which websites are referring the most traffic. As you refine your article marketing techniques, you may want prioritise article submission to those sites that perform best.
You can also monitor the number of websites that publish your article. Go to Google and enter the title of the article into the search box, ensuring you place speech marks around it. Google will return all of the pages containing that exact line of text and you will be able to quickly go through each page to verify that it is listing your article. Remember that it will take at least a month before your article will begin to show up in the results.