Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, has put out a new “Webmaster Help” video advising webmasters and web content writers against the common practice of submitting articles to online article directories. Google has documented several times that it doesn’t really support these types of websites. To clarify the confusion, Matt Cutts had a few words of “Google Wisdom.”
“I think over time, article directories have gotten a little bit of the worst name,” says Cutts. “So just to refresh everybody’s memory, an article directory is basically where you write three, four, or five hundred words of content, and then you’ll include a little bio or some information about you at the bottom of the article, and you might have say three links with keyword-rich anchor text at the bottom of that article, and then you can submit that to a bunch of what are known as ‘article directories,’ which then anybody can download, or maybe they pay to download them, and they’ll use them on their own website. And the theory behind that is that if somebody finds it useful, and puts it on their webpage, then you might get a few links.”
Cutts also adds, “Now, in practice, what we’ve seen is this often turns to be a little bit of lower quality stuff, and in fact, we’ve seen more and more instances where you end up with really kind of spammy content getting sprayed and syndicated all over the entire web, so in my particular opinion, article directories and just trying to write one article and just syndicating it wildly or just uploading it to every site in the world, and hoping that everybody else will download it and use it on their website – I wouldn’t necessarily count on that being effective. We certainly have some algorithmic things that would mean that it’s probably a little less likely to be successful now compared to a few years ago, for example. My personal recommendation would be probably not to upload an article like that.”
Ok, so that’s clear enough now. For those of you that don’t follow Google’s algorithm updates too closely, Google’s Panda update in 2011 already hit hard most of the article directory websites. Good quality, original content is always good. Now, that same good content sprayed all over the Internet, will become spammy in Google’s eyes, and therefore, it may cause more harm that good.
Not only that, Google is now going further to the point that it is also advising against Guest Blog Posts for the very same reasons. See “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO by Matt Cutts.”
Which brings me back to what I’ve been saying for the last couple of years: continue adding quality content to your own website. Add fresh content frequently and always work on building your own “authority.” Those are techniques that Google will always reward over trying to go around with suspicious back-linking techniques. Even if your “good” content is published by other sites, you don’t want to be punished because “low ranking” sites are linking back to you.
If you have any questions about how to implement an effective SEO strategy for your business, contact our MGR SEO Team and they will be glad to point you in the right direction.