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Article Marketing - Part 1

Volume 142 NO.2 March/April 2012 Furniture World Magazine
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You may not consider yourself a writer, but by the end of this message I hope you reconsider. Your willingness to write what you know can make a huge difference in your bottom line. Remember how writing a love letter to someone who was crazy about you changed your future? Well it’s time to invent a new business future through writing articles—your love letters to potential clients!

What in the World is Article Marketing?

Article marketing is the practice of writing keyword-focused articles that you then submit to online article directories to gain leads and build your list (A second type of article marketing is using articles to connect meaningfully with prospects who visit your business, your networking events, or your website).

Submitting to article directories is the cat’s meow and the way to catapult your online visibility and even your local status. People love to read articles online, and often consider authors to be leading experts!

Why Do I Care About Article Marketing?

Why shouldn’t you? It’s a totally free awareness-building tool that draws ideal clients right to your virtual or actual door. Although you won’t get paid directly for writing and submitting articles, taking the time for this powerful marketing strategy can pay off big! There are few easier or cheaper ways to gain higher rankings in search engines, valuable back links, and targeted visitors interested in your website!

A few more juicy reasons to write and submit articles:

  • You attract better clients who actively look for the information you publish.
  • You get visitors to come to your website through your links.
  • You build your mailing and email lists when a reader is led to your site.
  • You increase your credibility by being viewed as an expert in your field.
  • You build your brand with your voice and style.
  • You gain trust that closes the gap on potential sales.
  • You target specific niches with pertinent and valuable niche-rich content.
  • You get lots more exposure for your online business.
  • You get more and better newsletter subscribers.
  • You reach new people who would otherwise not know you exist.
     
    People want to do business with those they know, like and trust. Your articles become the way you connect and get to know potential clients. Prospects can then find out more about you, and even share a piece of YOU with their social media world!
    It’s gravy on the potatoes! Since most article directories allow you to post for free, and many online visitors seek expert information from article directories, article marketing becomes an amazingly inexpensive and personal way to promote your expertise and your business.

  One of many articles posted to hub pages.com by Leon Tuberman of Los Angeles based Barn Furniture. See http://leontuberman.hubpages.com for a list of his articles on this online article directory.

Steal This Book

Well it’s not really stealing and it’s not really a book, it’s an article! Yet once your article is published, people can snatch your content, and depending on the article directory site they snagged it from, they can legally republish it on their websites or blogs! This is exciting news for you, since most all directories insist articles are posted in their entirety, and that includes your author info and resource box (more on that in a bit). This means there’s a link that directs the reader right back to your site!

It’s like free advertising to the masses, since many of today’s article syndication sites have a tremendous readership following.

If you own a furniture store and you write an article about how various colors in the interior environment can positively affect our lifestyles, then a designer, color expert, or huge paint company could repost the content (citing you as the reference) or a link to your article on their website or blog, resulting in even more exposure for you, especially if their site drives a lot of traffic.

Google Panda Update and Article Marketing

Recently, Google made some changes relating to how they index websites and how different sites fare in terms of rank. These changes are known as the Google Panda update. In 2011 several updates were released, and no doubt several more updates will be released throughout 2012. The updates change the game of SEO, and have shaken up the online landscape and “freaked out” a lot of people.

As a result of the Google Panda updates, many blogs and websites, as well as article marketing directories, have lost rankings (some temporarily) because the rules are different now. Unfortunately, some individuals reacted to this news with doomsday messages about the future of article marketing. Most of these screamers simply didn’t understand why the Google changes were made in the first place, and why it makes sense that some article directories have dropped in the rankings (and why some have and will continue to pick back up).  Many also don’t understand that this is a necessary part of the needed change that will actually make article marketing even better in the future, as reputable directories respond favorably and professionally and line up with the new unwritten SEO rules.

Why Change Was Needed

In the past, the use of keywords on pages, posts, in articles, and in webpage titles and descriptions was a surefire way to help your search engine rankings. So was the use of links back to your site. Soon, people found a way to abuse the use of keywords and links on millions of websites and blogs, and article marketing directories were not immune to this abuse. It wasn’t long before business owners, bloggers, and get-rich-quick schemers were guilty of key-word stuffing, back-link abuse, illegal content sharing and content stealing, and all kinds of other tactics to drive traffic to specific websites. This made the experience of many online visitors less than ideal.

For years, Internet visitors who searched online for reliable, expert information were being led to bogus or unprofessional websites and blogs, with horrible content, or “spammy” sites filled with one-sided, super “sales-y” offers. How frustrating! Webmasters and site owners got away with this because they skillfully used SEO strategies that worked to drive traffic and get high SEO rankings, and much of this had to do with the use of keywords and links.

Directory Abusers

Before the Google Panda update, a lot of article “authors” who were not legitimate experts in their fields and who really did not care about our online experience used and abused article marketing directories to get traffic to their websites. Their main goal was to get their linked-filled, low-quality, overly keyword-heavy, garbage content out all over the Internet, flooding hundreds, even thousands of article directories and websites with the very same (identical) annoying articles, to bring people back to their sites. Today, this kind of activity is a red flag for Google and other search engines, and site owners who ignore the importance of the user’s experience will drop in the rankings. No longer does getting higher rankings in the search engines depend on unnatural keyword stuffing and crap content with irrelevant links. Today, it’s all about what the user wants—original, usable, relevant, informational, high-quality, exceptional content and a great online experience!

The User’s Experience

Now and in the future, Google and other search engine rankings will depend on the quality and richness of the user’s experience. Webmasters that get this and make that experience great will gain rankings. Sites based simply on keywords (and ESPECIALLY on keyword stuffing) will drop. Now, Google wants to know if the user is enjoying where they go and what they get online. Going forward, Google will look at how great and unique a site’s content is, on which website that content FIRST showed up (the first gets extra kudos), how long a visitor stays on a site before jumping ship, and which sites (hopefully reputable ones) link to other sites (perhaps yours)! 

What’s the Verdict on Article Marketing?

The bottom line is that article marketing is here to stay! Yahoo! Yes, it did take a temporary hit with the search engine changes, but again it is all part of a bigger picture of a better online user experience, and better companies to serve these visitors. As individuals and businesses begin to make the necessary adjustments to their websites and content and work to make the user experience as great as it can be, search rankings will reflect that.

Now that you understand what Google and other search engines are aiming for, you don’t have to listen to uninformed people who try to scare others into believing that article marketing is now dead or no longer a good practice for getting traffic. This is simply not true. However, there are some important article marketing guidelines you should follow going forward.

Well, that’s all for now! In the second installment (of three) of this discussion, I’ll share some great tips as well as article marketing guidelines to align with the new Google Panda Update!

The next two installments will cover how to re-purpose your content through social media, other business-savvy ways to use your articles, how to write great articles, how to submit them to article directories, when and where to post your original content, popular article directory sites, how many articles to write and how often, article size, using quotes, your author’s bio, your article resource box, your article summary, evergreen content, using keywords, tips for overcoming your writing aversion, and other great article writing tips, so stayed tuned!



Margo DeGange, M.Ed. is a Business Empowerment Coach,  and frequent contributor to Furniture World Magazine on retail sales, interior design and marketing topics.  She is the creator of the Twelve Step Go Build a Biz Marketing Program (http://www.GoBuildABiz.com) for a Thriving & Profitable Business Fast! Margo is totally committed to your wild success. She’ll mentor & coach you to get crystal clear on your most ideal target client, connect to them with a magnetic marketing message, establish your unique (and empowering ) value position, build trust through amazing offers and information, and close the sale almost effortlessly. Questions about this article can be directed to editor@furninfo.com or Visit www.MargoDeGange.com for products, programs and coaching to put YOU on the map!

Read other articles by Margo DeGange, M.Ed.

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