Article marketing is one of the solutions for webmasters that want to increase traffic to their sites. You write an article regarding the niche your website is in, and you have an easy way of getting some backlinks and eventually some traffic (depends how well the article is written). If you don't have time (or ideas) to write excellent articles, focus on quantity. This means you write every week 4-5 articles all in the niche your website is in, and promote those. Once you have the articles written, you'll need to submit them to article directories, so that they will be published along with an author box that mentions you are the one that wrote it and have a backlink to your site.
A couple of suggestions on writing the articles:
- focus on a keyword/phrase from the niche you are targeting. Not only that the keywords/phrases need to be related to your niche, but they also need to be searched for. You can find keywords related to your business that are searched for by using the excellent tool Google offers: Google AdWords keyword tool ; say I want to write articles to promote the website http://www.cheap-mp3-players.com a website that focuses on selling cheap mp3 players, well it's kind of obvious what a title for a first article would sound like "How to find cheap mp3 players". Of course, since the target is cheap mp3 players, I could change the title to be more appealing to readers (but still keep its relevance) to "Five cheap mp3 players better than an iPod" - the new title is more appealing because it's intriguing, since an iPod is cool but rather pricey. Anyway, you get the idea, make the title appealing but still keep the focus on the main keyword
- don't write lengthy articles, but have them contain at least 400 words. Ideally an article to be submitted to article directories would be around 500-600 words, but if you think you have what it takes and want to submit your article to magazines for being published as a hard copy, you would need to write around 1200-1500 words, and not in a sloppy manner. When writing the article always remember your main keyword/phrase focus. Because it's not enough to have that in the title of the article, it needs to be in its body too. Pointing to my example above, if the main targeted phrase was "cheap mp3 players", I would make it in such a manner that this phrase is found in the body of my article at least 5 times (and not all in one place, at least one at the top, one at the bottom and one in the middle). If you're not writing it for the article directories but want to write it for magazine publications, then you can forget this rule and only focus on having it written in a professional manner with at least 1200 words. Since some of the article directories publish the articles in an html format and allow html tags within the body of the article, I would make one instance of the targeted keyword a link back to the website I'm promoting (e.g. "... bla bla bla... cheap mp3 players ... bla bla bla..."). This way if the article gets published in an html format, the hyperlink back to your website would be loved by Google and you'd get a bit more relevance for that specific phrase
- at the end of the article write something about you, in a manner that says you are the author of the article. In 4-5 rows I would start with an "About the author" title and continue with a small bio/description of me and my current/recent/past work, like "Claudiu Gherasim has been an Internet marketer (with a goal of self-employment) for the past five years, and beside his main work on promoting the X and Y (now popular) products, he focused on developing other informational websites such as: http://www.cheap-mp3-players.com, an online Amazon-based store focusing on cheap mp3 players, http://www.forex-affiliate-program.com, a guide on choosing the best Forex affiliate program, and http://www.publish-articles.com, an article directory with Digg-style voting." Of course that you would limit the number of websites mentioned to just one (or maximum 5 of them if you have lots).
- your article has now a targeted title, a content of about 500 words with your main keyword found at least 5 times (and one of its instances in html format), and an About the author resource box. What next? Well, assuming you have a website or blog (it being the reason you wrote the article) you would first publish the article on your site until Google/Yahoo/Live find that article and index it attributing the written content to your website first. If you would submit the article to article directories first, they would publish your content and if Google would find the content first on their pages they would consider the same article published on your site/blog as duplicate content penalizing it. By publishing it first on your site, you would get the "Google credit" for writing it. You can see when your content has been indexed and attributed to your site by selecting an entire sentence from your article and searching for it on Google - normally the first result (if the long sentence is unique to your article) would point to the article stored on your site. Only after that you have to consider the next step, submitting your article to article directories
- last step would be to submit your article to article directories, that normally accept them for free since it's free content for them. Not only this, but you can use social networking websites to bookmark your article and eventually get lot of traffic if it's an article that catches (e.g. submitting to Digg, Stumbleupon, Delicious, Twitter, Reddit, ...).
There are several ways to submit your article for publication in article directories:
- Manually submitting articles. If you chose to do so, you have to focus on at most 10-15 top article directories, that really have some traffic and that really is worth actually going in, creating an account (most of them require this), adding your article, previewing it and finally send it for approval. Here are some article directories that you should consider in doing so:
- Semi-automatic article submission. If manually submitting the articles to the top article directories (almost all of the above are) is a good strategy, you can go further and have your articles submitted semi-automatically to several hundred of other article directories of less importance. What this means is that you'll have to use an article submission software, that already has a list of hundred of article directories ranked by their Alexa Rank or Google PR, and that can take care of the tasks that could take a lot of your time: registering for an account with that particular article directory, clicking on the "confirm your email" link that you'll receive via email when registering, logging in and eventually submitting the article. There are quite a few article submitters, but what I tested and was quite happy with are: Submiteaze, which is both a directory submitter and an article submitter, Article Submitter and the last tested one is digiXMAS Article Submitter (tested these tools for their directory submission capabilities a while ago). They aren't free, and you won't find a good one that is free for this purpose. But if you write a lot of articles and want to submit them semi-automatically, they are a good investment (you can focus only on one, in this case I would recommend Article submitter or Submiteaze).
- Article submission service. Which means you actually pay someone to do this for you. Since I haven't tested any of them, I don't know which are the recommended ones but you can search on big G for this and after you gather 3-4 names you can search for reviews about them on Google Groups (or ask on forums such as Digitalpoint) to know which one to go with. Prices are as low as $10 to as high as ... well high.
After a week or so, when most of the article directories you submitted your article to now posted it, you can measure if it was worth or not to do so. If you used a manual submission, use the search-for-a-sentence suggestion to see on how many sites your article was actually published. If you use a software to submit your article, normally the mentioned ones would also create a report on which article directory accepted and published your articles. The final measurement solution is, however, the increase in traffic. If you do this with 3-4 articles per week for a couple of months, you can compare how your traffic grew.