Don’t Panic – SEO is Still Alive and Well in Article Directories!

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In the words of one of my all time favorite authors, Douglas Adams – “Don’t Panic.” This phrase is taken directly from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and is completely relevant to what is happening in the SEO world right now.

JC Penny – Google Slapped

Two things happened last week. One, JC Penney’s got Google Slapped because they (really their SEO firm) were buying links. This is actually completely against the Google Terms of Service. I’m not talking about paying for somebody to sit there and find and build relevant backlinks; they were taking a huge shortcut by purchasing links from very poor quality sites that most importantly were not even relevant to the topic of their landing pages.

Google didn’t like it, so they punished them by adding their site into a punishment filter until such time as JC Penny’s fixes the problem. Simple.

Google Content Farm Update

The second thing that happened was a much larger event. Google changed its algorithm to include what is now being called the “Farmer” update. This basically was a direct attack against what Google has defined as Content Farms.

Google’s so far hasn’t extremely been clear on what the actual definition of a content farm is other than a site that has poor quality content that is unrelated. Some of the sites that were caught in the Google crosshairs were EZine Articles and Buzzle.com – two of the most powerful and most widely used Article Directories. In one day both companies lost upwards of 90% of their placements on the first pages of Google. (according to Sistrix)

Why?

The reason the Farmer Update has affected a lot of SEO firms and their client’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) is that they were most likely posting their content on their site in the form of blog entries and then posting the same content to EZine and Buzzle. In our eyes, this article marketing technique is just plain wrong. If you post to article directories, you MUST post original and useful content.

The bottom line of why Google came down so hard on this update was because there is just way too much crap on these directories. Trust me – there is. SO to fix it, the article directories need to weed all of that out or continue to drop in rankings.

Secondly by relying on the traffic from EZine and Buzzle, you are essentially putting all of your SEO eggs in one basket. From what we see on the Internet right now on forums and blog posts, the people complaining the most are the ones that did exactly that – put all of their SEO eggs in one basket and relied HEAVILY or SOLELY on the traffic from the article directories . You MUST diversify and find other techniques or else you WILL be affected when an algorithm change comes along.

What are We Going to Do?

At Web Unlimited, we use article marketing and use the article directories for our clients, but only for the backlinks – nothing more. We post original and useful content (not crap) for us and our clients. If traffic comes from those sites, then it’s just an added bonus in our opinion.

We also build backlinks manually and organically as well as leverage Social Media sites for their backlink power. But the biggest thing that we do is that we attempt to engage the audiences in the Social Media sites. That’s what we have found that Google really likes – Interactivity.

What We’ve Seen Since the Farmer Update

Since the update, we’ve been monitoring our sites as well as our client’s a little closer than normal and we’ve noticed no real change in rankings. In fact, if anything we’ve been on the plus side. So our plan is to keep on with our current SEO techniques and continue to test others.  SEO is like dieting – you can’t just have knee-jerk reactions to every update and/or technique out there.  Test, test, test.

So to sum up regarding the Farmer update, DON’T PANIC and keep on doing SEO the right way. The media has entirely blown this way out of proportion. Keep on posting to article directories, just do it correctly by posting original and useful content and you will find your sites continue to rise in the SERPs. Also work on diversifying your SEO portfolio the same way you would diversify your investment portfolio. Build your backlinks organically and manually and get involved in social media sites such as Facbeook and Twitter. That’s the Web Unlimited Prescription for SEO success.

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