While it might seem a pedestrian road to SEO success to some,
article marketing works and by all accounts it works amazingly well. If you’re
an expert on the topic of your website the solution should be simple – write
more articles, publish them at more sites and reap the rewards of increased traffic. Granted, that is
certainly easier said than done but it is a proven means to Web
For example, I recently decided to write some articles with keywords relevant to a good domain name that had been sitting idle in my portfolio. I then submitted them to a few directories, linked them from a
few social media profiles and now they receive some modest traffic – all from
about 20-30 minutes of work. While they aren’t the best
articles out there it does clearly show that, with a little strategy, article
marketing still works.
This emphasizes to me that content is what ultimately sells consumers. Images,
widgets and the rest are important in gaining users and visibility, but it is well-written, user-focused content that allows an audience to “find” what
they are searching for and how you (and your website) will be able to ultimately
meet their needs. Since content influences how users interact with a website on
the whole (and ultimately our products and services), optimizing for what
visitors want is the best practice if we’re in pursuit of conversions – and we
So how do we do that?
Establish (and stick with) Your Voice: The content of your website should be
written in a consistent voice from page to page. Remember, this is as much about
you as the individual visiting your site. As such, the voice you
establish (whether it’s light-hearted, edgy or pastoral) needs to be one that is
consistent with your niche and one that will resonate with your target audience.
Active Words: Active words are those that help users engage with content. Visitors need to be asked to do something - solve a problem, address
an issue or answer a question. In short, we need to make visitors participants
rather than just passive readers. The site's content should be full of active
verbs that inspire visitors to take action. Some active words are explain,
predict, interpret, demonstrate, tabulate, etc.
Readability/Usability: All readers are different; some like to read every
single word while others prefer to skim and scan. While it should be obvious
that content should always read naturally, some general guidelines to improve
readability for all users is to use short paragraphs, instructive headings and
informative bullets focusing on the benefits or features your users will
Where and how do we publish?
Once you have written quality material, you need to make sure it gets read. And there are essentially two ways to accomplish this - on your own site and on other websites. And unless you already have streams of traffic and don't feel the need for more, you need to publish your articles on outside sites.
The benefits of outside publishing include inbound links, greater exposure to a wider audience and relationship building with others in your industry and in related industries. The downside of publishing elsewhere is that you lose much of the control of your article - specifically when it comes to formatting, layout, images, etc. And that is exactly why establishing your voice, using action words and ensuring the highest level of readability and usability are so critical to your writing - especially on someone else's site.
When publishing on your own site, you get the added benefits of a custom layout.
While it should be obvious at this stage of the game that webmasters should
clearly be using CSS instead of tables in HTML, testing typography and even
line-height play a role in the visual readability of your content - which
influences how much time is spent on your site and even the number of page views
the entire site ultimately receives.
Use contrast. That
includes using bold, italics and other colors to get your point across.
- Use multiple paragraphs. Breaking sentences into multiple paragraphs improves
the article's visual style. It also makes the user "feel" that they will be able get
through the entire article. Take a look at your favorite blog and you'll find that most
paragraphs consist of only one or two sentences.
- Use images. Images break up content and can make a long article much more readable. Couple those images with a caption and you'll surely see an uptick in time spent on
- Don't be afraid of whitespace. Sometimes users need a break. And that's where whitespace is useful. Too much content can be tiring on the eyes, and too much supplementary content surrounding your article can distract readers from what's really important
There are hundreds of ways to get users to your site. But writing, publishing and promoting quality content - article marketing - remains a highly effective means of not just generating traffic, but winning loyal followers.