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Also no more new article pages are getting indexed, this is happening with my new custom made site as well - all my pages are indexed apart from article pages.
If it is true then It seems google has given a serious blow to backward links through articles.
Similar is happening with free-press-release as well.
Let me know if I am outdated or missing something?
[edited by: tedster at 5:34 pm (utc) on Mar. 31, 2009]
[edit reason] switch to example.com [/edit]
A couple other comments to help with analysis: Google will show urls in your backlinks that are not sending any juice - even nofollowed links. Also, I've sampled a number of articles now and their PR all seems to be gray barred. Was it always so? Seems like it would be hard for an article on an article site to get any "real" backlinks, anyway.
But if this is true then I would say its not good for those who write genuine artlces. Google should stop considering backlinks but should not stop indexing pages.
Interesting, I was looking around one of the larger sites recently and I found a new author that had published some very useful articles in one of my niches. Although, the articles could have been very useful to my readers, I was afraid to use them because they may reflect badly on my site in the search engines. I have no idea if placing them on my site would have a negative effect or not but I saw no need to risk it.
Maybe these problems have decreased the value of article marketing to the search engines.
Even if you give the original idea of article sites the benefit of the doubt on their purpose (not link farms), they have been abused significantly. They've been turned into link farms with questionable amounts of editorial discretion.
I know, for example, one big article site allows ten article submissions minimum. If the ratings for them aren't high enough, you're not allowed to add any more. But they don't remove those articles if they suck! The free one-way links remain.
So it's basically all about free one-way links.
Then the abuse gets compounded by the free duplication of the articles all over the web. Google can't be thrilled about that, either, because it wants sites to offer unique content. They become useless scraper sites. So the article sites become link farms and scraper site factories (and Made-for-AdSense sites)!
Now, if these early signs of algo change are confirmed by more webmasters, I think Google should address the matter.
A year or two ago, when Google started to deal with paid links, Matt Cutts and company spoke out about paid link directories, noting how they can be legitimate based on the level of editorial discretion; i.e: the ones that didn't just give free one-way links. Article sites of course involved similar issues, and in fact some sites that offer paid link directories also offer article submissions.
Is Google now going to take a blanket approach to all article sites? Does it have any way to distinguish between "good" article sites (if such exist) and bad ones? The way it does between good paid link directories and bad ones?
Seems like it would be hard for an article on an article site to get any "real" backlinks, anyway.
Bingo! Why can't Google just set the algo to ignore links from article sites altogether, and let authors publish their own unique content on their websites, the way it used to be--the way the core algo judges. Let that article try and stand on its own merit. If it gets backlinks, boost the ranking.
The whole scheme of trying to circumvent the basic principle of Google's algo seems ripe for devaluation. All it does is let somebody who is not an expert on a topic give you a vote, instead of somebody who knows more, giving it a vote with a link.
As far s I see the next generation of such expolitation has already started through website rating, social bookmarking sites. How these rating (like spotback) and bookmarking sites (like folkd) are different from article sites? They carry no content value only a tons of links which people are crazy in submitting. If I want I can setup 1000 users and create 1000 followers for my site taking it to number one - WOW its easy. And also dont forget the millions of 2-3 page blogs created on free blog hosting sites just for backlinks purpose.
It can't be difficult for Google coding to figure out which sites are article sites. Now I'm going to start searching to see what comments Google reps like Cutts and Lasnik have made about article sites in the past. I can't remember any. Can you?
Here's what I found Cutts or his colleague Maile Ohye said in November 2008:
Q. Until recently (the last six months or so) a high ranking was achievable by submitting articles to article directories (providing they were 40%-60% unique), but it no longer seems to be the case. Have links from article sites been de-valued at all?
Google's Answer: "In my experience, not every article directory site is high-quality. Sometimes you see a ton of articles copied all over the place, and it's hard to even find original content on the site. The user experience for a lot of those article directory sites can be pretty bad too. So you'd see users landing on those sorts of pages have a bad experience. If you're thinking of boosting your reputation and getting to be well-known, I might not start as the very first thing with an article directory. Sometimes it's nice to get to be known a little better before jumping in and submitting a ton of articles as the first thing." [Source: webpronews.com]
What do you make of that? Not a clear-cut answer, is it? It shows Google understands the basic problem, but didn't say avoid them altogether. It just refers to timing... suggesting it not be done immediately.
The interesting thing is the preceding question in the interview (about directory sites) was answered with this comment: "There's always the chance that we'll discount directory links in the future. What we were seeing was quite a few novice people would see the "directory" recommendation and go out and just try to submit to a ton of directories, even if some of the directories were lower-quality or even fly-by-night directories that weren't great for users. Right now we haven't changed how we're weighting directory links--we've only removed the directory suggestion from the webmaster guidelines." --Matt Cutts [groups.google.com]
Matt Cutts: Article directory links certainly aren't inherently worth more and don't get more weight than other web sites or blogs. I answered another question about article directories as well.
Looks like google are continually chasing their tail. SEOs will always find other ways to artificially create links and google will continually find ways to devalue anything unnatural. Thats just part of "the game" - and i love it!
Seems to me that the only thing that leads to a perfect link profile is great content and the ability to smooth talk other webmasters. Best tip for link building in the future -- form real cross business relationships and an industry standing. Then use your social skills to secure links from these positions.
Double bingo! Yea, and maybe the cesspool growth will slow. I've stayed away from that article stuff though I was very tempted a few years ago when it seemed to be the thing to do. Instead I kept remembering "build content for your visitors." Yes! Keep it on your own site. It may be long tail content but it works and traffic continues to increase year after year.