Getting to the top of a search engine results page is a never-ending quest for Internet business owners. But guess what? I’ve found that banging out a few short articles – on a subject I already know – has a powerful effect on the amount of traffic my websites get. And you can harness this power for yourself by following a few simple guidelines.
You may be wondering how much a little article can REALLY do for search engine rankings. Well… more than you would think. For instance, as I’m writing this, the keyword phrase “sell a reality show” brings up three links on Google to articles I’ve written and posted on article-publishing sites. And those three links are all in the top-10 organic search results. (Remember, unlike pay-per-click advertising, you don’t pay anything to be in organic search results.)
Since most people don’t look past the first few pages of organic results, this is a major coup.
When a person clicks on one of those links, they find my article and a link to the website where I market my course on how to sell a reality show to Hollywood. Those highly ranked articles have attracted more than 10,000 visitors to this site.
If you’re interested in getting free traffic to your website, publishing articles is one of the best and easiest ways to do it. (You have to admit that the results I just mentioned are pretty impressive.) And I’ve discovered a few “rules” that will help you achieve maximum success.
Rule #1: Post your articles on high-traffic sites where they’re likely to get read.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites that allow you to post articles. I’ve tried at least 20 of them – and not all have gotten me a significant number of reads. (Most article-publishing sites have tracking tools so you know how many people are reading your article and clicking through to your link.)
To improve your chances, search for the keyword or keyword phrase you want your article to rank for. If an article-publishing site comes up when you plug in that term, your article will likely come up too when you post it there. I also now check the volume of articles on the website, the quality of articles posted on it, and whether the site seems to be well established. (My postings that got few reads have been with new sites.)
The three article-submission sites I’ve had the most success with – achieving high rankings for specific keywords – are Wikihow.com, Howtodothings.com, and Ezinearticles.com. But there are many others – so do some digging before you start posting.
Rule #2: Understand the way the site works.
When I first posted on Wikihow, I included a link to my website in the body of the copy. I was bombarded by angry e-mails from people who felt that this was too commercial for the site – and it was. One reader moved my link to the resource part of the page, which is where it belonged. And since then, everything has been fine.
With Wikihow, other people can edit your articles. Maybe that’s okay with you, but if you’re going to post on this site, it’s something you should be aware of.
There are things you need to be aware of with any article-submission site. Many require you to customize your article to fit a certain style. Some, for instance, want you to write your advice as steps that the reader should take. There might be a section for warnings or suggestions. Or a specific way to insert the link to your site.
Because there are so many differences in the way these sites work, I don’t recommend using any kind of software that will supposedly post your articles to hundreds of them. Each submission has to be done individually and properly.
Rule #3: Make sure your content is good.
Telling you to “make sure your content is good” may sound obvious – but it’s important. Most article-publishing websites allow readers to post comments. And the more positive comments your article gets, the more likely it is that other readers will want to read it. On the other hand, if your article doesn’t include much good, specific, useful information, it will probably get bad ratings and/or reviews. Even worse, an article with no real substance won’t convince readers that you know your stuff… and they won’t be inclined to visit your site.
Unfortunately, there are some people out there who seem to get a kick out of being super-critical, so even a good article can get a handful of negative reviews. Don’t let it bother you. If the quality is there, other readers will come to your defense.
By the way, you don’t have to be a talented writer to write articles that will get the attention you’re looking for. If you’re stuck for an idea, try this one from David Cross: Interview an expert in your field – maybe even yourself. In my experience, the interview format never fails to produce great content.
While there are many effective ways to market online, the ones I’m interested in are those that cost little to nothing. Posting articles on popular article-submission sites has gotten me plenty of free exposure – and some amazing results in terms of organic search engine rankings on Google.
Try it![Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence is an expert on entrepreneurship. For dozens of business-savvy techniques and strategies that you won’t find in any business-college textbook, check out Paul’s Street Smart Business Program. For dozens of “no-nonsense” tactics for the small-business entrepreneur, click here. ]