An article directory can be a tremendously powerful ally in the world of article marketing. But with thousands of article directories all clamoring for your content, how do you choose which ones to use? With a variety of terms and conditions, and widely ranging Alexa rankings and Page Ranks, knowing how to market your articles, and employ article directory marketing appropriately can be tough.
It’s a tough situation, made increasingly difficult by the fact that so many article directories have their own terms and conditions. Some will be quite happy for you to submit an article to them which you have previously submitted to hundreds of other article directories, whereas others will spit fire at you if you try submitting an article which has ever appeared on any other directory at any time. Ever! It pays to read the terms and conditions carefully. They might be a bore, but then at least you know where you are. You can make your own private list of directories. Perhaps some have categories more suited to particular aspects of your online promotion, while others are less suitable. This helps narrow the field slightly.
A common misconception amongst article marketers is that Google penalises duplicate content. For this reason some article promoters will only ever submit an article to a single directory. However, this isn’t true – Google themselves have expressly stated on many occasions that they have never penalised duplicate content, and that they have no such thing as a duplicate content filter. The truth is that if they did, the news websites would disappear overnight. A news story would appear on a single media site, but then any subsequent newscaster would have their website penalised for running the same news story. It just doesn’t make sense, which is why Google doesn’t do such a thing.
However, having said that there is an intention on Google’s part to ensure that the results it delivers are diverse and broad ranging. If the first three pages of results for a particular keyword were all the same article, published in thirty different locations, Google would quickly lose its reputation for providing useful results. In order to deliver diverse and varied search results Google will crawl web content, and prioritise new, original content over content which has, at least in part, already been seen. What does this mean in practise?
In practise it means that if you submit an article to thirty article directories, then when Google crawls the web, it will come across one of those thirty submissions, and list it as relevant. Once it comes across the other twenty nine versions it will probably give them some credence, but since they are not original, their ranking will be quite a lot less. This is quite different to penalising a website for duplicate content. For the keyword search, Google will likely list the first example of your article it came across quite highly, but the other versions will be very much farther down the results pages.
If the other versions of your article are likely to be so low ranked, is there much point submitting to more than one article directory? There is still value in it, as long as you don’t contravene the terms and conditions the article directory set down. Although your article may only be ranked quite low, it is nonetheless a link back to your website, and the article directories in which it is published are all likely to have quite high page ranks or Alexa ratings – which increases the weight and significance of your backlink.
But at the same time it’s easy to see why many article directories don’t like to host duplicate content. If Google doesn’t crawl their directory content first, then their articles are likely to have a much lower rank that those directories crawled first. Of course once could argue that by maintaining an article directory, keeping it up to date, approving articles quickly and publishing new content before other article directories, such a risk becomes an advantage. But maintaining an article directory is not as easy a task as you might imagine.