There are many different ways that a link can be built. One that is often overlooked but which can have huge rewards is writing and submitting articles. The reason article writing and submission is arguably one of the best of the link building methods is that it not only functions as a link building exercise but also a traffic source. Honestly, can you think of a better use of your online marketing time than a tactic that provides for traffic and which can help improve your search engine visibility? Neither can I.
That being said, simply whipping off an article and putting it up on your site is not going to do it. There are a few crucial steps to making the most of your efforts. It may take a bit longer to do it right but the rewards will be much higher as well. Here are the basic steps to writing an effective article that gets well picked up and can provide you with some solid traffic and links.
Pick A Topic
Picking a topic for your article can often be harder than it sounds. When you’re selecting a topic you can’t simply write about the first thing that pops into your head. There are two questions you need to ask yourself when you’re selecting your topic:
- Will the editors care? If the editors of related websites aren’t going to care about your topic then it’s not going to get published. If it’s not going to get published then you can probably find better uses for your time – like golf or shopping for blue widgets online.
- Will bloggers care? The second questions is whether other online publishers will be interested in the content. If an editor publishes your content and other link to it, that makes the like to you on the publisher site all the stronger.
Something I’ve found handy is reading through your FAQ’s. If clients and site visitors regularly ask you the same questions, these are likely good topics for your article (though an article on your shipping policies probably won’t get picked up too widely). Another great place to start when thinking of a topic to write about is your own brain. Are there questions you’ve asked that took a ton of time or research to answer? If so – answer the question for others and cover the research and you’re likely to get well picked-up.
Write The Article
While picking a topic can be hard, constructing the article can be all the more difficult. An article needs to have a specific point and must provide the reader with a means to understanding why you’re making that point.
Let’s take this article for example; once I knew I wanted to write an article on how to use article writing as a link building method I knew what the tone would be: instructional. After that it was a matter of deciding what I wanted to cover in the article (picking a topic, writing the article, testing the article and article syndication). After I’m done writing this article I’ll have it proof-read by a couple people who aren’t involved with our site and then I’ll syndicate it in hopes of developing some solid, highly-relevant links and secure some equally relevant traffic.
If I were writing an article on a different topic (choosing a life insurance provider for example) I may divide my article into sections such as: calculating what you need, analyzing the various options, selecting providers, choosing between an insurance company and an insurance broker). Either way you’ll want to decide ahead of time what you need to cover. You also need to decide on an article length ahead of time. As a general rule, an article between 1000 and 1200 words is good. Shorter likely won’t cover everything and longer tends to lose some people. To this end, I’ll move on to part three (testing the article) to keep things conceise.
Admittedly I don’t have a ton to say on this topic. Get people to proof-read your article. Ideally you’ll find people from inside and outside your industry to proof the article to make sure it makes sense to experts as well as laymen.
Also, watch the pickup rates on your different articles by searching for it after submission. Pay attention to the types that get picked up and where and focus future articles for the best outcome (whether that’s links or traffic or both – you’ll have to decide based on the statistics generated by each articles)
And now for the entire purpose of the article – the syndication. There are two main avenues you can look down (and should) when looking to syndicate your articles. You can find an article syndication service for submissions (very good for a large number of article directories) and you can seek topic-specific sites that will accept your articles.
As I am affiliated with an article syndication company I won’t list your options there for fear of a conflict of interest and thus diminish the article. Instead I’ll focus on finding specific sites to submit your article to and will assume you will select your own large distribution options.
To find sites to submit your articles to you may need to think outside the box. You’ll need to run a number of searches for related phrases that will yield the best results. For example, if I worked for a web design company I might search for places that accept articles that are related to web design, hosting, SEO, small businesses and anything else I could think of. For example, I would begin my search on Google with “web design article submit” and extend it from there.
A helpful tool for this is SEO Quake. If you list your results in sets of 100 you can order them by PageRank or backlinks and go for the higher valued sites first.
Once you’ve got a solid list you can complete your submissions to it. Don’t forget to document your submissions as well as any account information for future reference as you’ll likely want to submit another article down the road. Also, you’ll want to add a few sites each submission so you’ve got a constantly evolving list with more and more backlinking domains.
Of course, you’ll likely discover more for yourself as you write and syndicate your own articles. Just don’t give up the first time and learn from every submission. It may take a bit to figure out what works best but article syndication is one of the single more effective link building tactics available.