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Just Say No To Article Directories For Link Building and SEO

January 29th, 2014 | 2 min read

By Darin "Doc" Berntson

Just Say No To Article Directories For Link Building and SEO

Just Because There Is A Shortcut, Should You Take It?

Over the past few weeks, I have had many conversations with business owners. A lot have been small businesses, the mom-and-pop shop type. Let me just say that I feel as if they are deploying tactics from 10 years ago, and expecting quick and long-lasting results. YIKES!

One owner told me how they were spinning content for blog posts, basically trying to make someone else’s content their own. And they were also using this content for submitting posts to article sites in hopes to get some distribution.

I want to scream when I hear this. I want to take a business owner and hold him, and tell him that everything is OK. (well maybe not hold him). I want to somehow bring him back to the future and have him understand that what he is doing is wrong. I want to help. Please let me help you.

Take It From The (Google) Horses Mouth

Today, Matt Cutt’s from Google released a new video about article submissions, the sites you submit them to, and the overall opinion if he thinks this is still a good idea to do from an SEO perspective.

Watch the “Should I build links using article directories" video:

In case you did not watch the video (shame on you), Matt explains an article directory as being a site, like Ezine, where you submit a 300-500-word article, including a little bio. with some info about you at the bottom of it. You would typically include three links using keyword-rich anchor text at the bottom of the article as well.

You would then submit this article where you would hope someone would download, and add the content to their website in hopes of getting a link back to your site. Simple, fun, and effective... right? Wrong!

He basically says that this kind of content usually tends to be lower in quality, and sometimes quite spammy.

My Time With Article Directories

Back in my day, while working at an SEO agency, I remember the tasking of this type of activity.

Back then it was commonplace to spin articles 50 or more ways and submit them to sites like Ezine, Squidoo and Hubpages. It was a way to hopefully pick up a quick, and semi-easy link. You'd spin dozens of articles, and maybe you would get 10-25% success. But, it was monotonous, tedious, and in my mind, a complete waste of time. But I was not the one making the rules. Back then, the tactic worked... so who was I to judge?

Over time, the search giant frowned upon this tactic. Personally, I was never a fan of doing this as I thought it was loading garbage on the web, and not really helping users. But, at the end of the day, this content was not about users seeing it. It was about getting the all-mighty link to help prop up other pages on the client's website based on whatever keyword strategy we had in place.

As Matt now points out, these kinds of links have less value as far as Google’s algorithm is concerned, and he suggests not even doing them at all.

Some Shortcuts Have Booby Traps - Follow The Map People

I know you want to go all Indiana Jones and find that SEO and Google treasure. But, many obstacles can get in your way... some of them can be deadly. 

Doing this kind of link-building may give you a short boost in rankings, and I say MAY. Even if they do, Google does not like it. And the work you put into, and possibly pay for, will eventually be devalued. Money and time WASTED!

As Matt also points out, if you do this kind of activity, do not count on it being effective. Just because it may have worked years ago, don’t count on it working now (or in the future). The rankings boost you may get may be lost, and you may even find your website penalized.

So, for the love of inbound marketing... if you are still doing article directory submissions, just stop. If you need a support group to help you break this bad habit, I am sure we can get you the help you need! There has to be an "Article Submitters Anonymous" out there somewhere. =)

Until next time...


Darin "Doc" Berntson

Owner/Head Coach @ Bernco Media. Digital sales & marketing since 1997. Passion for teaching companies to be the most trusted voice in their space. They Ask, You Answer Certified Coach & HubSpot Certified Partner & Trainer. Reversed Type 2 Diabetes doing KETO. Wears Mickey Mouse Daily. Daydreaming of next Disneyland Trip.