It's in the lips of every respectable SE marketer. It's considered to be the ?holy grail? of your linking efforts!
What's that? Marketing with articles, of course!
You will often hear how you can make your way to the top of the search engines, on any given topic, by writing articles and using them to promote your business.
And it's true! But, what they usually don't tell you is that there will be dozens or hundreds of sites and publications that will use your content without giving you credit for it.
And you have no way of knowing about it! You're completely defenseless and at the mercy of every webmaster who decides to literally steal your content! Stealing defined as any use of copyrighted content that violates the author's publishing guidelines.
And if you already knew that, let's look at some interesting statistics. These will give you some awareness of the situation when you begin writing articles to promote your business or get more links.
Last time I checked, there were 1,370 sites which had included one of my articles on affiliate marketing on their pages. Do you want to know how many of them cared to provide a link back to my site? Very, very few!
Why? Well, it seems that many site owners think they can take the articles and put them on their sites for their visitors to read but do not feel they should return the favor by having a live link to the author's site (as required).
After all, creating and providing fresh content for their visitors and for the search engines is a favor I'm doing for them.
By now you're probably thinking, ?too bad, but what has that got to do with me?? Oh, I don't know, do you own a site? And do you publish your own content on your site?
If you do then, how can you be sure that the content that you spent so much time developing and tweaking in order to rank well in the search engines, appears nowhere else except on your site? How do you know for sure that no other website has ?borrowed? some 'stuff? from you?
And if you're marketing your business with articles how will you know who has posted them and where, if they don't care enough to send you a copy?
Trust me, most of them won't! Many of the major article banks and directories do inform you when they have posted one of your articles because usually there are other incentives for them to do so. They might sell you a subscription or simply benefit from the fact that you will visit the site to see your article posted. Who knows, while you're there you could be intrigued by one of their offers.
But the smaller sites ?not all of them- will not take the time to let you know, let alone give you a link back. So, how will you know?
No sweat! I'm sure many of you have been using Google to search on things like products, services, even competitors or link exchange partners.
And I'm also sure that some of you are already thinking that Google is a nice place to go look for your article or unique content and see what comes up in the search results. Sure, you can do that, but I prefer to use a handy little tool by Google which is automated, will not take any of my time, is very easy to use and above all, is free.
I am talking about Google Alerts: a great tool by Google that you can set and forget but which will do all the dirty work for you uncovering all those sneaky sites that have ?accidentally? forgotten to put a live link into your article's bylines.
As Google puts it: ?Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of query or topic?. There, I couldn't have said it better!
How does it work? It's easy, you sign up for a Google account or just create a Google Alert using the really easy interface (http://www.google.com/alerts). First, you are asked to specify your search term, meaning the kind of text that you want Google to inform you about. Then you tell Google where to look for it and how often you want to receive your alerts. Finally, you fill in your email address and you're done!
By creating a Google account, if you don't already have one, you can manage all your alerts in one place which is really useful.
The potential of this tool is huge. You can search for anything at anytime and have Google deliver it to your mailbox, saving you the trouble.
More importantly, you can use it to keep an eye on what's important for your business. As a business person, I'm sure that's one of your primary concerns.
Marianthi Iatridou is the editor of http://www.work-at-home-businessoffer.com/ where she puts leading internet and affiliate marketers under the microscope to uncover the strategies and tools they use to build successful internet businesses.