SEO Articles, Useful or Useless? Best practices for Article Marketing, Part 1

As I mentioned in a previous article, we’ve starting working with another client who’s prior SEO was having low quality articles written for them and submitting them to article submission sites.

These articles were doing very little for them:

Checking their analytics we see that no traffic ever came from these article submission sites, ever!

It’s very unlikely that these articles helped their search engine rankings at all. We found none of these articles in any of the tools we use to identity strong links, those that may be helping improve search positions.

Finally none of the articles were ever picked up and run by any other site (no surprise as they’re not very good or useful articles).


Is Article Marketing & Submissions
Useful or Useless?

Web Marketing companies often tell their clients to submit articles, with embedded links to their web sites, to general article submission sites to improve rankings.

Does it work?

Rule Number 1 – No article is going to help your rankings if it just sits in the article submission sites.

Most article submission sites do not pass much, if any “link juice” (or PageRank or whatever you want to call it) to the sites the articles link to. You can check any of the articles in most submission sites with just about any of the “Strong link” tools* available and you’ll probably not find any of the links from these article sites among the strong links.

*Tools that identify incoming links that are likely passing “link juice”. In Part two we’ll talk about some of the strong link tools.


So if the article is not helping improve rankings is there any value?

Rule Number 2 – Articles MUST be quality, useful articles to be of marketing value.

The only way you will get any improvements in rankings from articles is if they are published on quality web sites that might pass “link Juice”.

The article must be of high enough quality that the folks who use these article submission sites to find articles will want to republish them on their sites.

Sometimes articles in the better quality article submission sites do get found by people searching on the topics. If the article is of decent quality and useful to them there is some Branding/Awareness value, you may get some people clicking through to your site from the article, and you may have some of these people forwarding your useful article to others.

Having your web marketing company produce low quality articles is of little value to anybody (other than the marketing company that gets paid to write the articles).

Best Practices for
Article Marketing & Submissions

If you’re going to spend the time and effort to develop high quality, useful articles don’t use these articles solely for article submission sites. Here’s what we do for our own article marketing and what we suggest to our clients.

The goals of article marketing:


Trust/Reputation Building.

Increasing targeted traffic.

To help make your web site more useful (e.g. Help educate your readers, help them decide what products/services to buy, etc. See the “For More Info” section below for more about this) .

Add content to a site for search engines.

Help improve search rankings.


For each article idea, choose between:


1. “Selling” the article idea to a key media outlet

Getting unique articles published on top industry web sites can be huge for awareness/reputation, targeted traffic and link juice. If you are in the travel industry, for example, and can get an article published in Budget Travel and on other online travel magazines this can do far more for you than any article submission site.

These top industry sites don’t republish articles from article submission sites. They want unique, exclusive articles.

We build a Media List for our clients of the important industry sites (magazines, blogs etc) and show them how to start building relationships with these sites so they are more receptive to article ideas etc. (In Part two we’ll discuss how to build and how to use a Media List)

For some of your good article ideas see if you can sell the idea to a top industry web site first.

or, 2. Use the article on your own site such as your blog or on your main site or both

Post the article in your blog or use it on your web site such as in a learning center etc where it can help make your site more useful, possibly help you visitors learn more about your products, services, or topic etc (See the For More Info section at bottom an article with more about this) .

If you want to use an article both in your blog and on your site –

Put a teaser summary on the blog that points to the article in the main site, or…

Put the full article in both places. Don’t worry too much about duplicate content. It probably doesn’t matter which one ranks better, but if you’re worried about splitting the link popularity between the two articles, consider using the “canonical link element” pointing to one or the other of the versions as the “real one.” (For more on the “canonical link element” ).


Then Submit “Teasers” for your articles

Submit your best articles on other sites as teasers (summaries to entice people to click though to read the article on your site) on the social sites you participate in that allow this such as Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon etc. (In Part 2 we’ll show you a technique that may help you find some of the best social sites being used in your industry) .


Submit the article to some article submission sites

Wait till the article is indexed on your site then submit it to quality article submission sties that cover your industry

Tip – Just type the title of your article into the Google search field (using quotes). When it shows up, go for it!


Part 2 – Best Practices for Article Marketing

In Part two we show how to build & use a media list and how to find quality article submission sites and more.

Read “Best Practices for Article Marketing, Part 2”


For More Info

Special thanks to Karon Thackston for her help on this article.  Karon Thackston is President of Marketing Words, a web & SEO copywriting agency, and author of the Step-by-Step Copywriting Course.  Subscribe to Karon’s Copywriting Blog today at and receive your free target customer discovery questionnaire and Copywriting Makeovers ebook.