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There are several popular article directories, namely:

And hundreds if not thousands of smaller ones all over the internet.

How can these websites be used to improve the SERP rankings of a website in Google/Bing? With disregard to the potential added traffic form the websites themselves.

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4 Answers 4

Article syndication is essentially a barter relationship - one in which the content creator usually loses in my opinion.

Article directories work hard to accrue trust and authority. They do so by building backlinks to their directory. The aggregation of all that content is valuable (to some) and so they work hard at acquiring backlinks.

Content (and site) owners seek to get a link from domains with a high degree of trust and authority. The barter arrangement is content in exchange for a link (or two).

It's that content which allows the directory to continue to operate. Without that content, they wouldn't provide value, nor would a link from that directory mean much.

Here's the rub - search algorithms are looking for domain diversity - getting quality links from a variety of different domains. So, in this situation, you're allowing the directory to build that domain diversity. They use your content to build many backlinks from various domains. All you get is one solid link from the directory.

If you have the time and ability, use your content (your intellection capital!) and build those backlinks yourself. Why let someone else use your content to build a business and then lease back a portion of the value back to you?

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thanks, informative and sane view. would be nice if someone answered the question you asked in the last <p> to provide some contrast :) +1. –  Evgeny Nov 2 '10 at 16:49
    
Thanks for the kind words. I should mention, I've used and tested these directories and they do work to a mild degree. I just think the trade-off is too high and the ability to generate links via social distribution makes these directories less attractive. –  AJ Kohn Nov 2 '10 at 18:11

It looks like (I don't kow for sure as I don't use services like this) that ezinearticles, maybe others, allow you to place links in your articles. They are not nofollow. So you can get links this way. Unfortunately they are low quality so I wouldn't expect them to make any kind of difference in your rankings in-and-of themselves. However, if others republish the content, assuming they do not edit the content, those links will also them be automatically added to their website as well. The links from the republished article should carry some weight unless it is discounted as part of the way duplicate content is filtered.

Update

At this point of time I would say that is is a bad idea. Not only did the Panda update hit article sites hard, but they never were very valuable in the first place. The people who recommend doing this think that just because the link is on another website that it is valuable. That's simply not true. Links from these articles are virtually worthless because no one is linking to them. Those article have no SEO value themselves and thus links from them are equally as worthless.

If you're going to spend time writing articles write them well and put them on your website. You'll get more links and better quality links then that link on the article site could ever hope to do.

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The idea is that these articles allow others to republish the content you submitted on their own sites for free with proper attribution (a link to you in the about the author section). Thus by submitting your article to them you get the opportunity to get tons of links from all of their users.

I've not gotten much value from these as John Conde mentioned they tend to be low value links and since the content feeds are so easily accessible the majority of people republishing the articles are low value auto blogs. I have talked to others that have gotten great value out them, their technique however, seems to be buy a bunch of articles, then spin each one and submit thousands of articles to hundreds of directories and the aggregate value of the links gives them a boost. From what I'm told it works but it feels too much like spam for me to actually do it.

I'd spend my time meeting other webmasters or bloggers in your niche and getting guest posts on their websites, that way you know it's a quality link you're getting.

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Great tip about guest blogging. –  Evgeny Nov 2 '10 at 1:35
    
The "low quality" feeling, Rich Skrenta called it “gray spam” i.e., content farm content. Just plain content for the sake of it. –  Evgeny Nov 2 '10 at 1:37

Directories are a good way to get backlinks. The aggregate value passed back from these links counts in the same way the directory is ranked.

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protected by John Conde Aug 20 '12 at 16:57

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