Fact: you need backlinks to your blog/ site, but link exchanges have little value PR-wise (pagerank). So what can you do instead?
Here are a few ideas in brief:
- Syndication through guest blogging.
- Syndication by having a blog conversation with other bloggers, which Liz Strauss talks about and does a lot on her Successful-Blog.
- Inducement to link with flagship or viral content.
- Article directories, which generate a sort of viral backlinking phenomena.
Let’s focus on item #4. What are article directories and why do you want to use them? Firstly, article directories are a repository of articles contributed to by writers/bloggers. Rules vary by directory, but let’s assume that you have to be a member to access other writers’ articles. An article directory then lets you republish other writers’ articles, provided you follow the rules and include the necessary backlinks.
So if you have an archive of articles that meet the submission quality and rules of a good article directory, make them work for you. You might find other people publishing your work and thus linking to your website/ blog, building up your backlinks. Here are a few points to keep in mind (I use ezinearticles.com, so the details are geared to their rules).
- Get exposure.
If you actively post on a certain topic, your author profile and some articles in that category stay high on the directory’s front page, driving additional traffic to your site.
- Revise your work.
I never submit exactly the same article I’ve written for my site. I rewrite it, and remove all links from the first 2-3 paragraphs (not allowed, by the rules of most article directories). Some sites only allow links in the last paragraph and in your author’s resource box. Articles should be informative. Opinion pieces are unlikely to be republished. Most directories will have a human editor look at and approve your work. The more articles you submit, the faster you’ll probably be approved. (Don’t let that cause you to slip into poor writing.)
- Revise your title.
Good titles help decide how often you’ll get viewed and/or republished. Most directories give good examples. I suggest you also follow Brian Clark’s advice at Copyblogger for great headlines.
- Refine your bio.
You author resource box can have your mini bio (customizable per article) and 3 promotional links. Usually you are not allowed affiliate links anywhere in article.
- Count your words.
Ezinearticles.com has a 250 word minimum but suggest 450-750 words.
- Ease of republishing.
If the directory’s republish panel is easy to use, it increases the chances of your work being republished.
- Duplicate content.
If you’ve rewritten your archive article, you don’t have to worry too much about dupe content. Some directories allow republishers to add an intro and extro around your article, but not to rewrite. The dupe content issue, at least in Google’s search engine is more a matter of whether you’ll get any visible ranking in the SERPs. Getting your revised article republished all over the place should not affect the ranking of your original article. As well, your site will have all those backlinks.
- Copyright issues.
Republishers must include your copyright/resource info. They don’t always, however.
So if you’re not convinced article directories are for you, what are your plans for linkbuilding to your blog?
Good point, Darren.
If I understand correctly, some of the backlinks will be given value, but there may be a cutoff point. However, you do get trust value from having the article on a reputable directory (such as ezinearticles).
What I forgot to mention is that you should not submit the same piece to each directory. (Don’t use directory submission software.) Rewrite new versions for each directory. Even if Google does not give any backlink value for the republishing of your directory articles by other bloggers, you will get the backlink value from the directory itself. At least until Google decides to downgrade them, though I’m not sure that they will. (But I’m not an SEO expert at this point
I agree with you that article submissions might not impact the content on your own blog – but what I’ve never seen anyone explore is whether Google actually gives the links that you have in your articles (the ones pointing back to your blog) any value if they appear in an article that appears in hundreds of places around the web in exactly the same form.
If Google treats all the duplicate instances out of their index of your article – doesn’t this mean the links in it are devalued too? Worse still – couldn’t they be seen as spammy links?
I’m not saying this IS the case – just wondering whether someone with some SEO cred knows 🙂