Is Article Marketing Dead?

Article Marketing DeadIs article marketing dead in 2012? 2011 was the eventful year with the Google Panda Update being rolled out by Google. There have been countless articles about whether article marketing still works. Here, I will present my own views and my own experience with article marketing. Let me see if I can answer whether the Google Panda Update killed article marketing or is it still a potent tool to use.

What is Article Marketing?

The idea behind article marketing is simple – you contribute an article in return for links. Lets look at how both parties here benefit.

The article marketing site benefits because it gets access to fresh, unique and good quality content absolutely free of cost. This is not easy to come by. So how does the site use this article? Simple, advertising mostly. If you look at popular article marketing directories like EzineArticles, you will find a ton of advertisements. These sites make millions of dollars every year from advertising (it was much higher prior to the Panda Update). Every article it gets contributes to this cost. There is no charge in obtaining these articles as they are submitted free of cost.

For the article marketer or writer, article marketing sites provide a good quality, high PageRank backlink. This helps new sites steadily grow up in Google search results. It also improves the PageRank of the site being linked to, which is a good addition to have in the long run. Article marketing provides an easy way to get good links back to your site, especially during the initial days when no one knows about your site.

How Article Marketing was Abused

Let me briefly talk about how article marketing was abused in general by webmasters and small businesses. They would hire article writers from sites like oDesk or Elance and produce a bunch of articles barely meeting the quality requirement in these article directories. These were just artificial ways to increase the number of backlinks and the site provided no more authority on the topic than it did before the marketing campaign.

Another common source of abuse was the proliferation of article spinners. These can be good tools but very easy to abuse. Essentially, they just product a bunch of replicas of a single article so they appear unique and then send them all over the internet. This was just an abuse of the system.

How Article Marketing Seemed Meaningless to Google: The Reason for Panda

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Google wasn’t particularly fond of these article directories and article marketing in general. Part of the reason was described above – the system was abused. However, there are more fundamental flaws in the system.

Suppose I am a great writer and can write a very good article for my blog. Because it is new, it would appear way behind in search engine rankings. However, when I publish a far lower quality article on an article marketing site, it ranks highly because it has a high PR and is better established. See the problem? Google survives because it provides the best and most relevant results on top. With article marketing these articles seldom provide the full information – you need to go to the contributor’s website to know more (the good quality article).

My Personal Experience

I have a lot of experience with article marketing and over the years, I have seen its effectiveness decrease. Couple of years ago, it was a very potent tool for webmasters and small businesses. However, today it is certainly far less effective.

When I started off blogging (not GeeksMakeMoney, which is relatively new) I used article marketing to promote my blog. However, I was quite frustrated when I found that my article in the article directory would rank higher than my blog! This didn’t seem right because my blog had far more information than just a small article I write to promote it.

It was also quite frustrating to see low and substandard articles outperform my blog simply because they were on more established sites. This happened regularly with Squidoo, with the lenses beating my blog even though they contained outdated information.

With the Google panda, however, I was very happy to see all these go down in search rankings and my blog had come up first. This helped me quite a lot and I wrote an article about it on Problogger as well. Even now, when I look at keywords in my particular niche, I see article directories quite down the list. Couple of years ago, I would find all the top searches dominated with these.

So Is Article Marketing Dead?

Not necessarily. If you are starting a brand new site which no one knows about and you want some quick reasonably good links, this is an easy way to go about it. In addition, it helps Google index your site soon, so you can be assured of showing up in the search results.

That being said, I wouldn’t advise you to spend a lot of time on article marketing as a tool to promote your blog. If you have time, look for other methods. Try guest posting or try building relationships with other bloggers in your area. Better still, try to master social media and learn the new modes of information exchange on the internet like podcasts, videos, etc.

You might still want to use article marketing and perhaps it can give good results for very low competition keywords but I wouldn’t spend too much time with these.

Are you into article marketing today? Previously? I would love to hear your experience and thoughts!


  1. Emran Saiyed says:

    Is this true that you should spin your article first and leave the original content on your site? even though you are saying not to spin the article?

    • Sid says:

      Well, you should definitely have a unique article on your own blog or website. I am personally not a big fan of spinning, simply because it doesn’t promote the overall quality of the internet. Even though today Google cannot detect this with 100% accuracy, they might in the future. I would rather stick to ‘ethical’ promotional means.

  2. It’s a very good realistice information that you posted regarding the prospect of article marketing. I understood how it is being abused and nice to learn that still it has got impact for a new website owner to promote his business. This is always wise to create any original, content rich article without placing anything spun materials that can help to achieve high quality backlinks along with targeted traffic. Thanks for sharing your nice post.

  3. Well article markeitng is not dead nor it will be but it depends on the marketer how he do his work according to me if article marketing is done ina right way and most importantly on right channels then you will surely have its good results =)

    • Sid says:

      True. However, their effectiveness was greatly reduced after some Google algorithmic changes, especially the Panda. Good results are not as good right now! You should consider this aspect before putting in a ton of effort into it. Perhaps, for example, you might want to spend more time creating content for your own website. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. I am agreed with you that after panda its not the same but still if we see it as marketing prospective we can still take its advantage =)

  5. SEO Brighton says:

    I think it will be dead in 6 months. It has been abused too much by spinners and blog networks.

  6. Ade says:

    Old style article marketing from a few years doesn’t work because places like ezinearticles don’t have the authority they once had. Consequently, your articles don’t rank and you don’t get traffic like you used to. It seems that the new way to do article marketing (whatever that means !) is to syndicate your articles and guest post. Syndication is basically asking other people in the same niche as you if they would put your article on their site or if you post it to a place like ezinearticles hope that the quality is good that people will naturally repost it on their site. Guest posting is much the same except that the article is generally unique and specifically written for a particular site.

    Both strategies are far more time consuming and frustrating than the old style but it takes Google out of the equation which can’t be a bad thing in the long run.

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