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Google’s Matt Cutts On Building Links Using Article Directories

As head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts knows which SEO tactics work and which don’t. He’s particularly vigilant when it comes to pointing out tactics that could be considered spammy or manipulative. Of course, the SEO landscape changes by the day. What can be a legitimate SEO method one day might be considered spammy the next (this typically occurs when the spammers abuse something that was once legitimate and authentic). Fortunately, Mr. Cutts takes the time to answer questions and keep us all updated on the latest best practices for SEO.

Recently, Matt Cutts posted a video answering the user-submitted question:

“Links from relevant content in article directories – Seen as good or bad? eg. I link my beauty website from a cosmetic surgery article on say, Ezine? Would you do that?” 

In other words, the person wants to know if they should build links using article directories. Here’s a look at what Matt Cutts had to say: 

“Over time, I think article directories have gotten a little bit of a worse name…The theory behind (article marketing) is that if someone finds (your article) useful and puts it on their webpage, then you might get a few links. Now, in practice, what we’ve seen is this often tends to be a little bit of lower quality stuff. In fact, we’ve seen more and more instances where you end up with really kind of spammy content getting sprayed and syndicated all over the entire web. So, in my particular opinion article directories…I wouldn’t necessarily count on that being effective. It’s probably a little less likely to be successful now compared to a few years ago. My personal recommendation would be probably not to upload an article like that.” 

Of course, none of this should come as a total surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to developments in search engine algorithms in recent years. Google has been rolling out updates to essentially eliminate the value of any links from low quality article directory websites.

The reason for this is simple. Article marketing became spammy. Back in the day, article marketing was a legitimate way to promote your content and build links back to your website. Then, the spammers took over. Things like software that would spin articles and automatically post them to thousands of sites across the web started to become popular. It wasn’t long before the internet became like a huge dumpster for awful, spammy content. Google had no other choice but to strip the value that article marketing once had.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned here:

  • Just because something worked in the past doesn’t mean it will still work now.
  • When you lose sight of quality and creating value with your content, your SEO efforts will be futile.
  • Spammers will exploit tactics until they are no longer effective. Don’t be a spammer.

What are your thoughts on Matt Cutts’ official announcement denouncing article marketing?

Onsite/Offsite Search Optimization (SEO), Content Marketing, Email Marketing & Social Media Marketing