Now that the dust has settled around the Panda update, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you can take a breath and spend some time getting to grips with exactly what these algorithm changes mean for your site. Not so. Google has pledged to be more transparent about ranking signals and indexing processes, which means more regular insight into the search engine’s changing preferences.
While Panda attempted to right the wrongs of previous updates and remove sites that had high rankings as a result of previous changes, many sites were left floundering and lost search engine visibility in favor of trusted brands such as The New York Times and other big-name sites. This had an impact on every size and type of site, from sole trader to national company, but it isn’t just sites like yours that have been affected. Social media sites, press distribution channels and in particular article marketing sites also found themselves on the wrong side of the update with some article directories such as Suite 101 being identified by Google as the way not to do it.
Now more than ever, content is king. And, if you’ve embraced this idea for informative, interesting, engaging and unique content and spent time and money producing publication-worthy pieces, chances are you’ll want to use some article directories to show off this content. Article marketing is a great way not just to get great content out there, but also to gain extra visibility and establish your brand or the author as an expert in their field. A constant stream of great content, published in many online locations, can really set the publisher apart and show them to be at the top of their industry. This is a powerful conversion tool, which means finding the right article marketing sites is critical.
The impact of Panda was widespread, making it possible that some of your ‘go to’ article marketing sites have been left floundering. When using article marketing, it’s essential to pick the right sites – those that Google does not associate with poor content – in order to get the best possible return from the time spent copying, pasting and submitting.
The following sites still top Google in the months after Panda, so are safe to include in your article marketing strategy…
1. Article Dashboard (www.articledashboard.com)
Article dashboard is one of the more established article marketing sites and one that should be used in your 2012 article marketing and beyond. Founded in 2005, the site is easy to use, free to join and well organized. Recent articles are promoted on the homepage and there’s a wide variety of categories and sub-categories to choose from when submitting, helping to ramp up the relevance of your audience.
2. Article Stars (http://articlestars.com)
One of the newcomers to page one of Google after Panda, Article Stars is a typical article marketing site that’s free to open an account and offers several publishing options. When you submit an article, you’re given the option to publish on site, syndicate to other websites or include in the site’s ezine newsletter.
3. Article Cube (www.articlecube.com)
Started in October 2005, Article Cube has a Google PageRank of 4. It describes itself as “…an online article search engine and directory for both publishers and authors.” You need to register before you can submit an article. The site offers very clear article quality guidelines such as a recommended 1 keyword per 100 word limit. Links are not allowed in the article body but are permitted in the author resource box.
4. Article Dashboard (www.articledashboard.com)
One of the more ‘traditional’ article marketing sites to have survived Google Panda, if you use Article Dashboard already, it’s a good idea to continue with regular submissions. If you don’t, now is the time to register as an author and start submitting. The site has a Google PageRank of 5 and is well established, having been included in many a ‘best article marketing sites’ list, including our own 2011 Article Marketing sites article.
5. Ezine Articles (www.ezinearticles.com)
Another established site that continues to be a firm favorite with article marketers. Ezine Articles applies a tough editorial process which prevents the company name being mentioned in the piece along with anything that smacks of advertising. Links are best kept to the resource box rather than in the body of the piece. A certain number of submissions are required to be reviewed by a human editor which can make the first few articles slow to appear, but it’s worth persevering with.
6. Buzzle (www.buzzle.com)
Buzzle has been around for several years and is still a good quality article marketing site following Google’s algorithm changes. There is a screening process to join the site and potential authors are required to send samples of their previous work before being granted a username and password. Buzzle doesn’t accept articles with external links, but it can serve as a respected platform to build a thought leader position, establishing yourself or your brand as one to watch via strong editorial pieces.
If you are interested in exploring the world of article marketing, the above six sites are a good place to start in this post-Panda environment. Just be sure that the content you are creating is original and useful, and you’ll be well on the way to success in this endeavor.