In our last article, we talked about the trends in the Google algorithm for the past ten years, and how they’re constantly devaluing manipulative search engine optimization, like keyword optimization and backlinks from article marketing sites in favor of different signals, like social media, user engagement, and page bounce rates.
We recommended that your article marketing strategy change, because if you’re still relying on 600-word articles submitted to Ezines with two backlinks in the footer, the value these are passing to your site is nearly nonexistant now, and by 2014, it’s likely the value will drop even further.
Ask yourself this – why do you spend money on article marketing? Most of us outsource the process, hiring writers for pennies a word to create unique content articles, but then we turn around and post this content on other people’s websites in exchange for nothing but a backlink. I’m hear to tell you that this budget is being wasted, and you need to repurpose it into a more future-proof style of article marketing.
We’re going to ask you to start by creating longer articles. Six hundred words is nothing these days – you need to double or triple this to keep people reading your site for longer before leaving. You need to start posting these articles on your own domain rather than on someone else’s. This means you’re not going to be able to hire someone who writes for less than a penny per word. That level of content quality might make it past the editorial review board at EzineArticles, but you’ve got a brand to protect.
Next, we’re going to recommend multimedia articles. Video content is great – don’t overdo it. Every article needs images, and stock photography works in a pinch, but we’d recommend going even further and doing some basic image design yourself using screenshots, magazine or newspaper clippings, and photographs. These are unique images. The reason we recommend them over stock photography is for their uniqueness. Google hates duplicate content – in fact, if you use it, you’ll get major penalties in the engines, and the technology exists on sites like TinEye to search for duplicate images around the Web. All it would take is similar technology developed in house at Google or an acquisition of TinEye to start penalizing bloggers who over-use stock photography.
Next, you need to build up your brand as an authority in the field. Fortunately, as you start writing these longer, higher-quality articles, this will happen organically. People will start linking and sharing your content in forums or message boards related to your niche. Be sure you’re a verified Google Author with a linked Google+ account so that your articles get your Google+ photo next to them in the search engine rankings. SEO experts are indicating that this can increase click-through rate by up to 400%.
Finally, you need to build your site with user engagement in mind. If people aren’t checking your site ten times a day in order to keep up with the discussions happening in the comments, you need to find a way to build that habit in your users. Some sites do this spectacularly – SEOMoz.org and ProBlogger.com. In our experience, user engagement is directly related to article quality and length. If you’re breaking new ground in your field in an article, and you’re the first to publish it, then your site will be the hub of communication for individuals seeking more information about that topic, and you’ll be the guru they look to for answers.