Some say that Google Panda killed article marketing, but Squidoo and other major article directories still work for many marketers. What’s clear is that article marketing got a lot tougher in the post-Panda world, and it can no longer be used as your main Web marketing strategy—but there is still plenty of traffic to be squeezed out of it.

The Details:

  1. Why do you want to do it?

If you do article marketing just to sell your products or services to people, you’d better forget about it. It stopped working for that a long time ago. But if you want to build a reputation as an expert in your field by providing useful content to those in your niche, then keep on going.

  1. If you leave the links out, will you still get something out of it?

The value of the backlinks you build through article marketing has decreased dramatically, and guest blogging and social media marketing can help you build links much more effectively. But if you do article marketing to consolidate your reputation online, the links don’t matter that much.

  1. How much content should I create?

Focus on quality rather than on quantity and write the articles yourself, or when that is not possible, hire professional freelance writers. You can do more effective article marketing with an excellent 1,000-word piece than with 10 mediocre 300-word pieces.

  1. Do my competitors still do it?

Content marketing often works better for obscure niches because there are fewer big sites to provide the content/information buyers require. If none of your competitors do article marketing, it might be a sign that it no longer works for your niche.

  1. Should I use keywords?

Include keywords in your articles so that search engines can discover your content more easily. But keep in mind that the best content is written for people, not for search engines.

  1. Should I turn my articles into guest posts?

For many, guest posting is today what article marketing used to be in its golden days. It reaches new audiences, establishes you as an expert, builds trust and connections, encourages discussions, creates high-quality backlinks (when top blogs publish your content, that is), and boosts your traffic tremendously—but only when you do it right.

  1. Should I post the articles on my site first?

Google doesn’t like duplicate content. If some of the pieces you’ve created for article marketing come out really well, you will be better off putting that great content on your own site rather than on article directories or other people’s blogs.

  1. Must I hire professional writers to do it for me?

If you don’t have the time to write the content yourself, it’s better to spend money on professional writing services than not to do it at all. Getting others to write the content for you has never been easier. But there’s something else you might do: encourage your employees to create the content.

  1. Can I publish the same content on multiple article directories?

No. This practice is what ultimately led to many sites being hit hard by Google Panda. Don’t post the same content twice on different sites, and don’t post content that already appears on your site on article directories.

  1. Will it increase my sales?

Just like social media marketing and guest posting, article marketing is more likely to bring you traffic, connections, and the attention of the important names in your niche than direct sales. Your sales might also increase, but if you do it only for the sales, then you’d probably be better off just using AdWords.

The Bottom Line:

Article marketing is still alive and kicking, but it works for fewer people than it used to. It might work for you or it might not. You won’t know until you’ve tried it out for a few months.