Did Penguin Kill Article Marketing?


Article marketing is not dead; it’s just different.

The days in which you could write a hundred cheap articles and submit them to free directories are long gone. Google is smarter than that and those links are basically worthless now. However, that doesn’t mean article marketing is dead. In fact, article marketing is still an awesome way to build links and get your name out there.

Here’s what you can’t do anymore with article marketing:

  • Pay a kid in India $5 for 100 articles that you post online
  • Use article spinners to automatically rewrite articles for you
  • Use mass article submission tools to send your articles to hundreds of directories
  • Submit your articles to cheesy article directories that accept all articles

These “shortcuts” will no longer get you anywhere. I placed quotes around the word “shortcuts” because I never really thought of these link building tactics as shortcuts. They might have worked years ago, but Google has been smarter than that for a long time. But after the last Panda and Penguin updates, we can finally all agree that shortcut article marketing is officially dead.

How Article Marketing Works Today

Article marketing is alive and well today. You can own a website about any topic in the world (online file storage, credit cards, weight loss, etc.) and get lots of links directed to your site through simple article marketing. The trick is in something called guest posts.

Guest posts are simple arrangements in which you approach a webmaster and offer to write a guest post for his site. In return, you stick one link back to a site that you own. You get a free link and the other webmaster gets free content. It’s a win-win situation as long as both of you operate high quality websites.

A lot of people complain that guest posts are too difficult and too time consuming. You have to spend the time to write a quality article that someone wants to post and you have to actually find someone to post that article. Who has time to do all that just for a single lousy link?

The thing you have to remember is that guest posts have a much higher return per hour invested than mass article marketing. An hour spent on getting one quality guest post on a reputable website is going to get you more link juice and traffic than an hour spent on rewriting a hundred cheesy articles and posting them all over the internet.

There are several advantages to writing guest posts:

  • You get a permanent free link
  • You make new contacts in the industry
  • People will actually click through your link
  • You get your brand name in front of real eyes

The only thing mass article marketing gets you is free links. Those links do not last forever (article directories shut down all the time), Google devalues those links and real people do not see your links. All the time you once spent on mass article marketing can be much more effectively spent on writing guest posts for high quality websites.

How to Get Guest Posts

There are two easy ways to get guest posts. My tried-and-true method is to just get on Google, search for websites that I would like a link from and offer to write an article for them. Strong websites get requests like this all the time, so you have to make sure your introductory e-mail is professional, to the point and attractive.

In the e-mail, explain to the webmaster that you would like to write a guest post. Tell the webmaster a specific idea that you have in mind and give him a couple of bullet points on what you plan to cover. Keep it brief but give him an idea at least. Tell the webmaster that you are willing to write the article first and you will 100% understand if he doesn’t like or need the article. You can always find a new home for rejected guest post articles.

Basically, you are convincing the webmaster to give you a chance. He doesn’t have to agree to anything or waste his time dealing with you. This does put you out on a limb because you have to write the article up front without any promises, but that’s fine. If the webmaster doesn’t like your article, you can keep it for your own website or give it to someone else.

There is another method that I’ve only recently noticed over the past couple of years. There are now websites that act as “dating sites” that match blog owners and guest post writers. Websites such as bring blog owners and writers together so that they can trade guest posts. Writers and blog owners are ranked, matched and contacted with new proposals.

Pro Tip: You will find it much easier to get people to say yes if you run a high quality website. Blog owners are not afraid to link out to websites if they are high quality. However, blog owners are very hesitant to link out to shady or extremely salesy websites. Make sure you have all your ducks in order before you ask other people to link to you.

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