Out of all the ways to drive traffic to your website, article marketing has to be amongst the most effective. If you can craft engaging, informative and entertaining articles and if you can optimize those articles for the search engines, you’ll enjoy a healthy flow of traffic that never quits. You need to know exactly what to do, however. See, there are some that will tell you that article marketing no longer works. These naysayers will say that the search engines like Google are doing what they can to ensure that article marketing is no longer effective at spreading your marketing message and driving traffic. Article marketing used to work, these Debbie Downers might say, but no longer. Some evens say that article marketing is a complete waste of time. Guess what? They’re wrong.
Article Marketing is Still Going Strong
A few years ago, all you had to do was find some hot keywords, write articles surrounding those keywords, submit those articles to popular online directories and the search engines would bless you. Article marketers didn’t even have to write good articles back then. They’d usually hire substandard writers for incredibly cheap wages and this provided them with all the traffic they needed to clean up.
Then, something peculiar happened. The search engines, like Google, decided that the Internet was becoming too polluted with nonsense articles. Several changes to their algorithms later and many article marketers hung up their pens because they were no longer raking in the big bucks.
Many article directories lost favor with the search engines and article marketing as a practice stopped bringing all that traffic. So, as it often happens, many online marketers abandoned article marketing for the next newest, hottest marketing method. These marketers have it all wrong, however. Article marketing is still very affective at driving traffic. You just have to know what to do, so let’s get to it.
Search Engine Optimization
If you hope to gain a bunch of traffic from your article marketing efforts, you had better learnt to optimize your articles for the search engines. This involves finding the most relevant, most highly searched for keywords with the lowest amount of competitors. Do not keyword stuff your articles! Instead, try for a more organic placement. A good practice to get into is to place the keyword in the title, the first and laugh paragraph and then pepper it a couple times throughout. You should also include the keyword or keywords in bolded subheaders and bullet points.
Don’t just focus on your primary keywords. Search engines are also looking for relating keywords to help rank articles accordingly in their search results. Placing keywords and optimizing the articles for the search engines is only one small part of article marketing, however. For your articles to be effective, you actually have to say something unique.
Quality And Value
A few years ago when article marketing was at its pinnacle, marketers would have a keyword, they’d search for a similar article online and they’d rewrite that article in their own words. For the most part, however, these two supposedly different articles said the exact same thing. The marketer’s new article doesn’t really give readers any incentive to choose his article over the competition. Now imagine if our marketer had taken what he’d written and put his own spin on it? Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.
If you want your articles to be the best, you must strive to be unique. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing or your articles will quickly drown in a sea of others just like it. You can use synonyms all day and your articles will always fall flat if you just ‘creatively copy’ articles and submit them as your own.
This isn’t to say that you can’t use online articles as inspiration or for research. By all means, use those resources to help you learn as much as you can about the subjects you’re writing about. You’ll become more knowledgeable about the subject and you might find a new angle you’ve never considered before. Even still, make the information your own. Put your own unique take on it and set your articles apart. That’s how you push out the competition and that’s how you drive tons of traffic to your site. Don’t be a copy cat and stagnate. Be an innovator and see results.
Your titles need to stand out from the competition. Think about your readers, your primary audience, and consider what they would be most interested in. For instance, if you are writing about online dating, you might have a title that offers “Ten Tips To Help you Find A Date Tonight!” Tips, tricks, hints, how-tos and top mistakes work best. People like numbered lists and lists help to break up the content quite nicely, which is easy on the eyes and the attention span. Most importantly, you need to promise the reader that they will get something out of the deal. In the above example, the dater is getting a chance at love tonight! That’s only a few hours away. That’s a great deal, and all the reader has to do is read a nicely laid-out list.
Once your engaging title is written, you then need to follow up on your promise and over-deliver.
Most article directories want around 500 words or so, so aim to write around that much. Your body should give the reader a reason to go through with the article. Again, have a clear-cut goal. Your body should be well-formatted, which means it should have concise paragraphs and lots of white space between them. And again, use bolded subheaders and bullet points to break up your content. Finally, leave a call-to-action at the end.
Your article should always have a purpose. If it’s to drive traffic, which most articles are used for, you should include the link to your website at the end of the article with a nice little call-to-action. Actually tell the reader what to do. Click here, go to this website or visit this [Keyword] to learn more. This will get far better results and you’ll get more traffic to your site.
Publishing Your Articles
Once your articles are written, you’ll want to publish them on your website. Many people just start publishing to article directories first. Your website should get the most search engine juice from the articles, not the article directories. Once your articles are posted on your site, you can then syndicate them on various article directories.
If you’re worried about some type of duplicate content penalty, don’t be. This is the way article marketers have been doing it for years and it still continues to work.
There are tons of article directories out there, but not all of them are created equal. As we’ve already said, many article directories took a massive hit after the Google changed its algorithms, and many have fallen way below the radar. Some have held steady, and a few of those are listed below.
When your articles are ready to publish, publish them on EzineArticles, GoArticles, ArticleBase and any others you feel comfortable with. The more article directories you submit your articles to, the more exposure and traffic you’ll experience.
Just like article marketing, backlinking used to be the way to go if you wanted to drive floods of highly-targeted traffic to your site. A backlink is a web page that links back to your website. The more ‘backlinks’ your site has, the more favor it has with the search engines. While backlinking isn’t as valuable as it once was for higher search engine rankings, it still matters somewhat.
For backlinking to be effective, you need to gain your backlinks slowly and they all need to be highly relevant to your subject matter and valuable. Thus, the more high-quality articles you link back to your website, the higher your site will rank in the search engines and the more organic traffic you’ll gain.
When getting backlinks, use your keywords as hypertext and include variations of your keywords to give your articles even more range as far as the search results are concerned. You may rank high on the list for several keywords instead of just your primary keywords, and all of those links count as yet more backlinks for your website.
Press Release Marketing
You don’t have to stop at articles. Press Release marketing uses the same concept to drive highly-targeted traffic to your website. Write your PR just like a reporter and include all the important and relevant facts. Make sure you include a call-to-action and start publishing your press releases to one or more of the many free or paid press release submission sites. Free-Press-Release.com and OnlinePRNews.com are two free submission sites that should help you get even more traffic out of your marketing efforts.
Article marketing can actually be a lot of work. When done correctly, article marketing can bring you tons of exposure and traffic. If it is done incorrectly, you’re simply not going to get the best results. For this reason, if you’re not that good of a writer or you just don’t have the time, it might be a good idea to outsource your article and PR marketing to someone who can write with flare, excitement and enthusiasm about your subject matter.
Article marketing can take you to the top. Use these tips, keep the writing, submission and links coming and you’ll soon see the fruits of your labor in the form of cold hard traffic numbers.