Google has changed its search engine algorithms with the goal of lowering the placement of websites with low-quality mass produced content — also called “content farms” — on its result pages. SEO website SISTRIX has conducted a scan of 250,000 keywords — a study called the VisibilityIndex — and found that several of the most popular websites for article marketing have significantly reduced visibility in Google results.
Among the most affected websites are popular article marketing directories such as eZineArticles, HubPages, Buzzle, ArticlesBase, FindArticles, and a number of other similar websites. These websites have dropped out of the first 100 Google results for as many as 150,000+ keywords in some cases. Some of them may effectively be out of business.
These changes should be no surprise to most people who spend a great deal of time on the Internet. Google is obligated to provide quality results to Web searchers, or no one will use the search engine. Some of these websites are notorious for publishing some really rotten content written by people who approach affiliate marketing the wrong way.
What does this mean for you? Previously, I advocated giving some of your best content to article directories, especially in the early stages of launching a new website. My reasoning for this was that the high PageRank of an article directory would give your article higher visibility than it could achieve on your own site. With these changes, however, this no longer appears to be the case.
If you are working on some high-quality content for an article directory, I would strongly recommend posting it on your own site instead, until the long-term effects of Google’s new algorithm become clear. Ideally, article marketing would be unnecessary for search engine exposure, because the site with the best content would win for any given keyword. Perhaps the new Google algorithm will bring the Web closer to that ideal.