I was recently asked by Celia Schollum from Stray Travel and Spaceships about distributing a press release on the Internet. As it transpired the situation was not appropriate and what ultimately she was more interested in was learning about article syndication. Writing articles and distributing them on the Internet can is an excellent practice as part of a search engine marketing programme. In fact, following my article in February a number of you have contacted me to ask more about this.
The value of an article on the Internet is that it is used by others to build up content in their own websites because the article of interest to themselves and their website readers. So, your article must be interesting, well written, easy to read (donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stuff the article with keywords making it hard to understand), have a unique point of view or theme and have some personality! The value of your article when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s republished throughout the Internet is that it contains a number of good quality links back to your site. Google likes links that go to various pages in your site, with varying text (known as the anchor text) acting as the clickable part of the link. The anchor text should reflect your keywords Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in this way your site is considered more important than other sites by Google for those keywords. The links should take you to relevant pages within your site, either general content or other articles. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t create links to irrelevant pages as readers will not follow your links because they will devalue them – and at the end of the day the goal of article and press release syndication is to generate quality traffic to your site.
So, before you start anything you need to know which keywords you are planning to target in the well written, easy to read press release and article. With keywords in mind proceed to write your article following a few rules; only target a couple of keyword phrases per article (three at the outside); donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t create too many links within your text that the article looks like a candy cane (one or two per paragraph max); and finally create a balance between a readable article and keyword density (remember that the value of the article is in itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s readability and hence itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s volume of distribution Ã¢â‚¬â€œ about 4 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 7% of your content can be keywords).
A word on choosing your article topic and to this extent keyword selection; the goal of writing and distributing articles on the Internet is to create yourself and your site as an authority on a particular topic in the eyes of the article readers and ultimately Google for the keywords selected. The goal is not to generate traffic to your site carte blanche Ã¢â‚¬â€œ what is the point? If you are selling bus tours around New Zealand, then generating traffic to your site for customers interested in a rock band, even though they may have travelled on your bus, is of debatable value Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that is, it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sell bus tickets (granted that some fans may buy a bus pass to follow the bands footsteps, but, for the sake of argument). The goal of any marketing, whether offline, Internet or search engine, is to attract qualified customers who are likely to buy your product Ã¢â‚¬â€œ remember this, it is about physical sales not just increased traffic. Increased quality traffic leads to increased sales.
With article written it is time to send it out across the Internet for general consumption. In this regard there is only one rule; and that is, follow the rules! Every article feeding site has its own submission rules that must be followed Ã¢â‚¬â€œ or your article wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get syndicated. On most sites you select the category that you think is most appropriate to your article (only one category!). The article syndicating sites can, and will, shift it to other categories if they think it is wrongly placed. Be warned that this only slows down the process of getting your content published Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so try and get it right the first time. In order to lodge your article you will need to create yourself as a member. Finally, articles usually come with an Ã¢â‚¬Å“author bioÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“resource boxÃ¢â‚¬Â in which you give a brief plug for yourself and your business (for example, this article is written by Celia who when not Snowboarding is the Marketing Manager for the Stray adventure travel bus network, which carries over 10,000 international travellers around New Zealand allowing them to hop on and off the bus whenever they like all over the best spots of New Zealand.) Below is a pick of some syndicating sites and some of their main rules:
- www.mycontentbuilder.com Ã¢â‚¬â€œ free
- www.isnare.com Ã¢â‚¬â€œ free (isnare also has a forced distribution program in which they feed your article out to Ã¢â‚¬Å“40,000Ã¢â‚¬Â subscribers for a cost of about USD$10 per month for five articles Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I am not sold on the value of this service)
- www.goarticles.com Ã¢â‚¬â€œ free
- www.ezinearticles.com Ã¢â‚¬â€œ free; Ezine Articles allows 10 articles to be published and then you are assessed for the quality and desirability of your articles and if okayed then you become a platinum publisher and can submit as many articles as you want with faster submision.
- www.articledashboard.com Ã¢â‚¬â€œ free; A change from the norm; articles may not contain links to your own sites within the content. They may contain links to other useful sites but all links to your own site must be in the resource box at the end.
Main publishing rules:
- The syndicating sites have control over your articles and may RSS feed your content and publish it in other directories or their own newsletter, publications etc.
- No discrimination, porn or normal stuff like that.
- Some sites specific a maximum length, usually around 2,500 words.
- Pasting the article to the submission form from MS Word can lead to formatting difficulties. Instead try formatting the article in Notepad first to ensure all the paragraph breaks etc are in the right place.
- Articles take up to 72 hours to be published on the site Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with most sites having human intervention in the reviewing process.
- Articles with poor grammar and spelling will be rejected.
If you are still going after that lot then a great resource is www.arcanaweb.com/resources/article-directories.html for a listing of many other article submission sites, ranked by their Google page rank.
There is one last point and it is the most important (and unfortunately very time consuming but very important) in article syndication. We know that Google frowns upon duplicate content throughout the Internet. To avoid sites simply building themselves up with only other peoplesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ content the Google algorithm is able to determine how old content is and who the first publisher of it was. From your point of view to facilitate this it is important that you publish the article on your own site first and have Google index it before you syndicate it to the Internet. Ensure that the article is dated with the date you wrote it, too. Finally, simply sending out the same article to multiple sources diminishes the value of the links. So, for the laborious part Ã¢â‚¬â€œ create difference versions for each syndication; vary the text used as the anchor text in each version; and vary the pages linked to within your site in each version. No one said that generating lots of traffic to your site was easy!!!