Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Pen is Mighty

There’s a lot being said lately about “Article Marketing”. It’s a concept that’s been around for a few years, but only recently got dubbed with a name, and is now being actively practiced by many savvy webmasters.

The practice simply is based on the fact that on the ‘net, Content is King. The sites that have the most usable content (information) keep the visitors there. They become “sticky”. Soon, the visitors start shopping, as well. Also, the search engines love the good substantive text to index. The spiders can really sink their teeth into it.

So, the smart webpreneur would want his website to be full of good sticky pages, full of information both for visitors and for search engines.

This opens up a great opportunity for someone with a little knowledge on a subject and a little bit of interest in writing. The idea is to write articles and content and submit it to other people’s sites. In return, they link back to your site.

The benefits are many. First of all, having the article visible on other sites (especially respected ones in your field) can boost your “net cred”. You become an expert, and that gives you more strength in the community.

Having the link back to your site also brings a couple of perks, too. It brings traffic, as people click from the article to your site, looking for more. This will spike as the article is first published, and then taper off. Most article sources will archive the content, so that link will remain active virtually indefinitely, so traffic will continue to trickle in.

The linkback also counts for search engine link popularity as well, and it’s one of the strongest inbound links you can get. It’s non-reciprocal, it’s deep in the text, and it’s a part of the content.

OK, how do you do it?

  1. First of all, pick something you know about, something you can speak of with confidence. If you’ve based your website around one of your own interests, this probably won’t be too difficult.
  1. Pick a subject matter that’s relevant to your site’s audience. If my site is about sports cars, it doesn’t help as much to write about beanie baby trading. Remember, you want to find your audience, and get in front of them. Writing about their interests will pull you up in their searches.
  1. You don’t have to write too much, but don’t write too little, either. I use the rain puddle as my guide. It has to be clear, and it has to be enough to cover the ground, but no so deep that they have to wade through it. As a general rule, 750-1000 words is good. If you find that an article is going longer than that, narrow it’s focus or split it into two articles.
  1. Make sure that the article is full of actually usable information. Too often I read a few paragraphs that just sort of dust over a topic, and don’t leave me any more enlightened than I was to begin with. Even less covers how to implement the topic. Why would a site owner want to publish content like that?
  1. After you’ve written a first or even second draft, go back through it and make it more keyword-rich. What search terms would be relevant to the topic? Work those words and phrases more into the text, repeating some of the stronger ones. This will help people find the article.
  1. Once you’ve got an article written, the first step is to post it on your own site. Some good, keyword-rich content will do wonders for your rankings and your traffic.
  1. Next, go to google and search for article directories. Post it to as many of these article directories as is appropriate for the content. More postings here can draw more uses of your articles, as site owners and newsletter editors choose their content. More uses means more linkbacks. One of my favorites is, but there are many others.
  1. Offer it to specific websites, too. As you’re out and about on the web, whether you’re looking for reciprocal links, or just checking out the competition, pause and offer an article to another site that targets the same audience. Don’t charge, just have them link back to you. They benefit with the content, you benefit from the link. Everybody wins. If the article is about web business, submit it to us at
  1. If your article has a journalistic, reportage sort of flair, post it to websites like, too, as well as other press release directories.

These steps can help to establish the buzz, the links, the reputation, the traffic, and ultimately the success of your website!

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