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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Article Marketing Drives Sales and Improves Search Engine Rankings

By James Angell

Article marketing is, as its name suggests, a form of advertising that involves the distribution of articles. Though we most commonly associate the term with the Internet, article marketing is nothing new, and it actually predates the Internet.

Business owners have been using articles as a means of attracting new customers for years. In fact, article writing has been utilized as a marketing tool since the advent of the newspaper business. In the beginning, the articles provided free, quality content for the newspapers and gave the authors a chance to get people interested in what they had to offer while also establishing themselves as experts in the eyes of their customers.

Today, article marketing is extremely popular in cyber space. As in the print world, articles give websites free content and serve as advertisements for the authors. Each article contains a "bio box," which provides information about the author and a link to their website. Readers who find an article interesting are apt to click the link to the company's website and with any luck, make a purchase.

Although this all sounds fairly simple, there are rules that must be followed in article marketing. In the past, article marketing on the Internet got a bad rap because some authors stuffed their articles with keywords and provided very little information that was of any use to the reader. To cut down on the number of irrelevant articles being published, reputable article distribution services have begun to require authors to follow specific submission rules. These article distribution services have helped to legitimize the practice of article marketing.

In general, article distributors require the articles to be more than just an advertisement. This means that the author cannot simply write an article about their business, products, or services. Instead, the articles are about topics that are related in some way to their business. The author is then free to advertise in his or her bio box.

An example of a related article might be one written by a company that sells fishing lures. They cannot write specifically about the new lure they created for catching bass; however, they could write about the best places for bass fishing.

In addition to providing people with interesting reading and simultaneously drawing customers to their websites, businesses who use article marketing may also increase their sites' search engine ranking. This is done through the use of keywords as well as the links contained in the bio box.

Even though articles should never be "keyword stuffed," they can be "keyword rich." This means that the author can use popular search terms to make their articles easier to find. The keywords, though, should be used in a way that makes sense within the article and should not be repeated over and over simply for the purpose of search engine optimization.

The links in the article can help with optimization as well. Theoretically, the more links back to a business's website, the higher that website will rank in the search engines.

Aside from those general rules, many article distribution services have very specific rules about article formatting and content. Before submitting articles to a distribution service, be certain to read their guidelines as they do vary from one service to the next.

Some distribution services also offer article-writing services. These services usually employ teams of professional writers who are familiar with the rules of the service. The writers create articles based on the keywords and topics provided by the business for a fee. In return, the business is free to use the article in virtually any capacity they like and is able to put their name and bio box on it.

The success of article marketing is evident in its prevalence on the Internet. It has become an extremely popular way of promoting businesses, products, and services. In addition to being fairly simple, it also has the advantage of being an inexpensive method of advertising that is accessible to almost any small business.

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