I recently began looking into article marketing as a method of search engine optimization. For an experiment, I wrote an informational article related to the product a friend of mine manufactures, and submitted it to human-approved articles site, HubPages. This morning I did a Google search for this product, and found the article I wrote: at #16 in the list, way above the listing for his website!
I also shared my article on social media, which helped generate traffic. Using SocialWick, I was able to boost the effect of social media on the traffic generated towards my article.
My friend’s market is one with pretty light competition, but my guess is that there are at least 100 companies with websites selling similar products (and a fair number of affiliate websites now as well). The article outranked actual websites of companies who sell and even specialize in this product.
My conclusion was that Google must have a pretty high opinion of HubPages!
I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m tooting my horn about the article. This has nothing to do with my writing skills. It has everything to do with the simple fact that my article is at HubPages, evidently.
One thing I need to consider is that it might have gotten this ranking as a result of it appearing on one of the main category pages of HubPages. This might have given it more credence than if it were on archived page, and it might not appear as important to Google in a little while, after it moves to an archived page.
Still, it really appears that Google gives a lot of credit to HubPages. And I really have to wonder, as aware that Google must remain about all the artificial efforts people are making to generate links to their sites, if the link from one article at a well-respected site like HubPages wouldn’t be worth more, or at least as much than the links from the same article published in hundreds of article directories (as far as “link juice” goes). If Google found one article at HubPages (and nowhere else), this might be an indication that it’s not an article intended to spam links – a further indication of its quality.
You shouldn’t write articles with the sole purpose of creating links to your site, anyway. A well-written article can deliver quality, engaged traffic to a website, and that could be more valuable than the link juice. All the same, the majority of people are going to find your articles in search engine results. As such, your article needs sufficient ranking to ensure it will be noticed, so that people may read it, and go to your website.
Google, and other search engines, employ measures to prevent duplicate content from being displayed in search engine results – with limited success. Though there are many opinions and theories as to how Google determines which content to display, in a case where there is duplicate content (i.e., the same article submitted to many article directories), it’s been my experience that Google will give credit to the most respected site. Some will argue that credit goes to the first site found displaying it, or the one with the oldest timestamp.
The point is that your article is most likely only going to be displayed once in search engine results. Having your article in hundreds of article directories won’t make it any more likely to be displayed, or found. If you agree that this is the case, then you should also agree that your best bet is to submit your article to a respected directory. While it probably wouldn’t hurt to submit to other directories, it’s probably not going to help a huge amount either. Unless you know people will be reading your articles in other directories, or believe that a link to your site will have significant link juice.
HubPages is a highly respected site, due largely to the fact that its article submissions are approved by humans, and are required to meet a certain quality level. Google has a long history of trusting sites whose submissions are human-approved articles, and consequently, of higher quality than those who have no quality control. The Open Directory is a great example of such a site; a link from the Open Directory to a site is an indication that it has passed a human screening process.
Human approval brings something to the table that no search engine company has been able to provide automatically yet: the human element. I wrote another article regarding the need for human element in the search process a few days ago.
Watch for Google, and other search engines, to start showing more and more respect to websites where submissions (of any nature) are human-approved articles. Watch for them to start discounting criteria used in the determination of website quality that can be spammed, or manipulated by human effort. Pagerank, or link popularity, will become a thing of the past, because they’re too easily manipulated by human effort.
Google’s affinity for the Open Directory, HubPages, and other websites where submissions are human-approved articles, is its further admittance of the need for the human element in the search experience.