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As we prepared to move our 12,000 article database from one server to another and make a serious business of it, instead of the formerly free service, hosted on free servers and delivered by free email accounts, we took a serious look around at the article marketing business as well as the paid web content business to see what others were doing and test theories about the value of web content.

What we discovered, to our dismay, was that everyone now recognizes that content is king in search engine ranking. The trouble with everyone knowing how important web content is to search engines - is that it gets perverted the same way linking and Pagerank got perverted. Everyone realized how important links were to good search engine ranking in 1998 and 1999 when FFA (Free-For-All) link directories were launched.

The FFA insanity was finally recognized by late 2000 and early 2001 by the search engines as a perverted system and they first discounted those links in their algorithm, then began to penalize those links because they were dominated by sleazy players in the porn and pills industry. Although those FFA pages still exist and some otherwise reasonable people are taken in by them because they "heard somewhere" that they help your search engine ranking, most of us now know that posting links to FFA pages is a counterproductive waste of time for search engine ranking.

Along came links directories, linking directory software, and link building services to pollute the waters of linking even further. Webmasters hear that links are important for search engine rank and they dive into one or all of these linking schemes to increase their link popularity. Finally the search engines noted that millions of unrelated sites were linking to each other and that those links were nearly always reciprocal. So the search engines downgraded those links, reduced the value of directories full of reciprocal links to unrelated sites. It's been rumored that this too is a possible area of penalization by search engines.

I'm a long-time advocate for the value of web content in the form of free articles as a search engine strategy. I started an emailed article distribution service in 1999 to encourage site owners to write and distribute articles for free use on other sites to increase topical relevancy and coincidentally as a method of gaining one-way inbound links to their site from the resource box at the end of their articles. I have long used them to ghostwrite and submit articles for clients on a regular basis as a linking campaign resource for their site in place of the more common reciprocal link-begging done by so many webmasters.

Now article marketing is becoming polluted by overzealous marketers producing software and services to "Blast Your Articles to 50,000 Ezine Editors" with little regard to much more than selling a few thousand copies of their software. Ezine editors see articles blasted in shotgun fashion without regard to topic or industry as spam when they receive those random article submissions. It is only one of the perversions of the web content game now perverted by "blasts" of emailed articles to tens of thousands of ezine editors.

A further perversion is "SEO writers" who use this Shotgun Software to blast ghost-written articles (done for clients) to thousands of ezine editors and article distrbution sites, not just once, but over and over again. These maniacal jackals join article distribution lists under multiple pen names and use their software to submit those "blasts" to dozens of article distribution lists under multiple names, multiple times in the hopes of getting the articles published multiple times on the same sites. It has required us to write filtering software to keep multiple submissions out of the archives and ban the authors doing the multiple submissions from further submissions.

The worst perversion of the web content game is those harvesting articles from the multitude of free content sites and reproducing entire archives from multiple article databases and hosting those thousands of articles on dynamic sites without regard to topic or category. This watering down of the article relevance by random inclusion on hundreds of websites is destroying the value of the article marketing and diluting the value of the link to the author sites. Why? Because those articles are now appearing on thousands of sites that have no focus or relevance and link back to the authors from sites that have no apparent subject or topic.

Web content is critical to establish a topical relevance for all website owners, not simply for creating larger sites with more Adsense ads on them. Publishers need to focus on relevant topics and avoid reproducing random web content. The content at any cost mentality is killing the value of article marketing and diluting the reasons for distribution. Unless the article spammers stop "Blasting to 50,000 Ezine Publishers" we will see the value of article marketing blown to bits and reduced to the value of FFA links directories.

Copyright ? August 11, 2005 by Mike Banks Valentine

Mike Banks Valentine operates http://Publish101.com Free Web Content Distribution for Article Marketers and Provides content aggregation, press release optimization and custom web content for Search Engine Positioning http://www.seoptimism.com/SEO_Contact.htm RSS: http://weblogs.publish101.com/feed/atom.xml




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