Article directories are sites where you can submit an article on any topic and have it posted with a backlink to your own website in the resource box. They are considered one of the most lasting and effective methods to drive organic traffic. Since the article will remain posted indefinitely in most cases it will bring you consistent traffic, provided that it is a quality piece relative to the title and keywords you post it under.
Article marketing is an established and proven technique that has been used by internet marketing professionals for over a decade. Submitting a quality article purely for the purpose of sharing information was a common practice in the late 1990’s. Unfortunately, the rapid expansion of the internet in the early 21st Century was too fast to ensure good quality and credible content for all article directories. Many SEO companies developed “black hat” techniques that involved putting out poor quality material just to get a backlink.
With little or no editorial guidelines or regulations, the internet quickly became crowded with sub-par content. Software developers came up with “auto-posters” to submit a single article to multiple directories and “spinners” to change that single article by re-arranging the words so you could submit it again. The search engines had not yet developed their algorithms to a point where they could detect these techniques so those with these new and expensive software programs quickly rose to the top of the search engine rankings. SEO “experts” began to spring up everywhere. They advertised the auto-submissions as “link building”.
Link building using these techniques made internet marketing professionals a lot of money in the first few years after the turn of the Century. It also helped companies “buy” their way to the top of page one for Google, Yahoo and other search engine searches. These top-ranked websites were not always credible or even legitimate and the issues of relevant content and legitimate backlinks became topics of discussion for those who developed the algorithms used to determine page rank.
Sometime midway through 2007 the formulas used to calculate quality score and page rank began to change. Google as always led the way by assigning a new quality score to article directories based on their editorial guidelines and the relevance of the articles posted there. Backlinks attained from sites with poor quality scores no longer counted as much as links from directories with higher scores. Google did not publicly release these changes but did make it a point to tell the world that quality and relevance of content were the most important factors in their algorithm.
Over the next two years it became clear to internet marketers that the old techniques of auto-posting and spinning were no longer working. The search engines took it one step further and began to examine “link farms”, sites made live strictly for the purpose of posting links. These, like article directories, now have a quality score of their own which is weighted when calculating the page rank of sites they link to. Today, we are slowly coming back to where we were when the concept of the article directory was developed in the 1990’s. People are posting articles for the purpose of sharing information, not just to get that quick link back to their website.