As a web marketer, I belong to a lot of forums and online groups within my industry. I participate in discussions and offer my not-so-humble opinions, as I’m about to do in this post.
Several years ago I was berated in one particular forum for suggesting that marketers spend more time creating quality articles rather than all the incoherent slop that most of them were posting online in bulk.
Internet marketers know—and you should, too—what causes a website to rise in search results. One of those factors are backlinks; webpages that have a direct link to your website. This counts as a vote of confidence and Google likes to see that other authors have confidence in your content. So Google gives you credit by raising your site in search results, making it more visible to others who may want to read your content. One way to get backlinks is to submit articles to article directories and blogs with an embed link back to your site.
Web marketers were creating so much of this content so quickly, that they started to use automated tools and outsourcers to create and post the content for them as long as it had a backlink in it. You can imagine all the garbage that was posted. In fact it’s still out there. Below is an excerpt from one such article.
Caution: The following language may not be suitable for humans:
Elite online players demand at the very top ballet shoes. Imagin if which same battler uses a antique think as well as popular seem? You will be simply because absorbed by means of tradition when you are obsessed with regards to the game of little league.
Can you understand that garbage? I copied it directly from a blog about—who knows what. I won’t give the link to this blog post because I don’t want to give them credit for writing incoherent gibberish. Clearly, someone wrote an article and ran it through an automated spinning tool that replaced random words with synonyms, or what the tool interpreted to be synonyms. This was done in order to create hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unique articles without actually having to write them. Stick a backlink in each auto-spin and submit the whole thing to a directory or blog. If the directory does not employ human reviewers, it will likely get approved and provide a backlink to the author’s website.
Years ago I was ridiculed for lashing out at marketers for posting such nonsense. They all claimed that it didn’t matter what was posted online as long as it included a link. Well, we’ve seen with recent Panda and Penguin updates that Google is indeed trying to filter through some of the garbage. Much of this stuff was found on the first page of search results. Today you have to dig a little deeper to find them as Google tries to filter through the muck, giving better visibility to quality content.
Many top marketers now urge their communities to produce quality rather than quantity, especially if they want their backlinks to matter. But for me, the reason was never about the link, it was about integrity.
In recent years, we saw how mortgage brokers abused their own industry and the financial disaster that ensued. Indeed, we have a clear example of an industry that cared less about its chosen profession than the commissions it could gain by gaming the system.
I’ve chosen to make a living online. I hate seeing garbage or meaningless content when searching online. We’ll never get rid of all of it because it is incredibly simple to submit articles and blog posts. Anyone can do it, but if we’re not going to police ourselves, then Google and the rest will do it for us.
Your best bet? Keep your content original and well-written. Provide substance to the reader. Go ahead and post articles in blogs and article directories—even do it in bulk if you want to. There is no reason you can’t have good content syndicated throughout the Internet. Gaming the system often works well in the short-term, but if you are trying to build a sustainable business, producing quality content is the only way to ensure a bright future.