February 18, 2009
To many people, the idea of guest blogging is fresh and new and very "Web 2.0." Personally, I find the discussion to be a rather déjà vu–like experience. In fact, one participant on my blog responded to a post about articles by asking how I would contrast guest blogging with article marketing. He wanted to know how I chose between placing my articles on directories and writing an exclusive blog post. The short answer is: I don't.
Remembering the Good Old Days of Article Marketing
Circa 1990, the first article directories began to pop up online with the invention of ezines (email magazines). Many publishers of these soon-to-be-popular email newsletters quickly got tired of writing all the content themselves. Others decided to offer compilations of recent articles published by others about a particular topic.
The article directories provided a wonderful new outlet for gathering quality content in exchange for a simple bio at the end with a link back to the author's site. Articles were written to provide quality information to readers in the hope that they would favor the author with a click.
A few of the many benefits of article marketing were (and still are):
A Twisted Sense of Article Marketing
A push for quantity quickly took over the article marketing arena and left quality articles in their wake. The invention of article writing software that illegally harvests snippets of text from existing online content and the invention of article blaster software gave speed to those looking to distribute what are now referred to as "junk articles."
While this may have caused a decrease in the quality of links coming from article directories, the other marketing benefits remain to this day. Quality articles that get picked up from directories and republished on website pages, in ezines and on blogs still enjoy the benefits that article marketing has always offered.
Enter Guest Blogging
The advent of blogging and other social media outlets gave new opportunities for professionals to share their expertise with others. Companies as well as individuals found many advantages to publishing blogs, including:
When we look back at blogging after two or three more years, will it have followed a path similar to article distribution? Will the evil, greedy powers that be attempt to stamp out the benefits of guest blogging in the near future? It's very possible. We're seeing it to some extent already. Trackbacks and pingbacks are being manipulated by spammers as we speak.
Search Engine Optimization Issues
The same dark SEO clouds that hang over article marketing can be seen drifting toward blogs. Writers and site owners are becoming more concerned with the replication of blogs as well as articles. Entire blogs are duplicated on scraper sites every single day within seconds of the original posts being published.
Should you be concerned? I'm not.
Truth is, article marketing is not devoid of search engine benefits as some claim. While the link quality of article directories themselves may have been degraded over time, they only account for one source of links. That's because the article directories were just a jumping-off point – they should never have been viewed as the final destination of articles. The goal has always been to have your article picked up from directories and reprinted on authority sites or blogs. That's where your linking benefits come in.
Even if I get no SEO benefits from article marketing or guest blogging, I'd still do both on a regular basis. It's not an either/or choice for me: It's good marketing. Since long before the Internet was ever thought of, professionals would strive to gain exposure by having their articles published in print magazines. This type of marketing has proven to be successful for decades, online and off, and it's still a valid marketing method today.