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I'm just curious if others have come to the same conclusion.
When the money or the time put into a thing is greater than the output recieved from it.
We recieve several orders of article submissions from clients on regular basis and they agree that the benefit of the submissions to article directories has decreased over time but its still worth the amount they pay us.
Although you dont gain tonnes of links which people used to get initially when the craze of article directories was new still you can get the links from the directories which you submit the article to and a few links from the sites which take the article and maintain your link in it.
The point of articles is more integrated marketing, therefore where you need your article to show up is in periodicals, industry magazines and newspapers etc ..
Get your geeky head out of the electronic world ;-) the internet does not necessarily revolve around that..
It's not all about incoming links, but driving traffic to you, and search engines are not necessarily the best way of doing that...
Broaden your horizons..
We recieve several orders of article submissions from clients on regular basis...
I would never advise a client to submit articles to an article directory, especially not articles straight from their website, lol.
The quality of sites using article directories for articles are, imo, from the worst conceivable SEO neighborhoods. You're essentially giving away your site content to sites that are no better than scrapers.
As someone else posted above, articles from respectable magazines and news media are better, but that involves putting on your public relations hat.
Two years ago, it was a sweet situation and worked *rampantly* in "certain" engines. Article writing has its value, imho, but as stated above, it depends on where you get those articles published. The directory sites simply aren't going to cut it these days. It will take time and effort to seek out quality, related sites willing to accept an article and you'll need to make sure it is quality enough for them to bother. But, if you can get those links, I think they have definitely value, both traffic and engine wise.
Although the best place to post your articles would be print magazines or periodicals with web versions of their issues, I agree those kind of deals are hard to find.
On the other hand, free untargeted article directories are hardly worth the effort.
My recommendation is to go for the middle of the road solution. Write quality articles and submit them to reputable websites looking for targeted content. Your time on a decent article will be well spent, and you will actually see traffic from such effort and usually also a good PR link with it.
I think of it as purchasing a link, although instead of using cash, it is paid using 3-5 hours of writing time.
As was mentioned above, if you do this for a while you may actually start getting paid for your articles.
As a test, I've submitted articles to several of the major submission sites for about a year now.If you have written masses of articles, why not setup an article directory of your own.
But most article farms confer zero benefit to you, though you may have helped them by providing content. Even they get little benefit if you have added your stuff to article farms all over.
The ONLY sensible place to post an original article (for 99%+ people), is your own site. There, you may attract links and return visitors, as well as expanding your site.
Article farms were a great gimmick for a few months; but SEs long ago got wise to them, and they are now a waste of space.
And do you really want your quality article side-by-side with plagiarised trash from would-be spammers? Not to mention a plethora of adsense and pop-up boxes? Do you really want YOUR article on YOUR site reduced to a supplemental result, while the farm gets a real google listing for YOUR work?
Of course you don't!
If you have the skill to write, use it to Build A Better Site.
The articles were of better than average quality, and did not duplicate any content on our own sites.
The typical result (per article) was one reasonably strong TBPR 3 or 4 link (from the original article site), one weaker TBPR 2 or 3 link (from a legitimate site that picked up our article) and 50-150 worthless TBPR 0 links (from pure scraper sites).
It's hard to say whether the 1-2 "real" links we gained from each article cost-justified the effort. The articles only took a few hours to create and submit, so the cost was minimal. But, it isn't clear how much, if any, benefit we are gaining from the 1-2 "real" links.
What was particularly striking to me was the huge number of "junk" links which were generated.
There has been very little, if any, traffic from any of these links, and it's impossible to know how much weight, if any, the SE's are putting on any specific link or type of link.
I agree that the TBPR isn't sufficient to really judge (though all those 0's appear to be a pretty good measure of the value of the junky sites that used the articles).
There is no way to know if the SE's are giving any weight to any of these links, including the article distribution sites. Some of the things the Google rep's have been saying recently suggests they might be downgrading or ignoring these sorts of links, just as they are attempting to downgrade or ignore some other types of links.
But then again, those statements have been rather vague and are clearly self-serving (trying to discourage webmasters from activities that make Google's job harder), so who knows what the true value is?
I would note, however, that we stopped the experiment and are focusing on other marketing efforts at the moment.
1. The submitted article duplicated a self published one (risk of dupe content issues) or
2. The site submitted required (and got) a reciprocal link (risk of bad neighborhood ban. Big risk!).
However, there is real value as one poster put it of doing research and contacting websites by hand and asking them to post your article. The reason be, that very few people will follow you and do this, meaning your link on that site will hold more value than it would on an all inclusive article directory etc.
I have found huge gains by contacting websites directly, even by phone and asking them to post an article to us, even in return for some article writing for them.