The new buzz on the internet is all about getting one-way links by distributing content to other sites in exchange for back links. As with every other SEO or website promotion technique ever devised, there are plenty of newbie myths about it that can ruin your chance for success before you even start.
Newbie Myth 1: The “Duplicate content penalty.”
Some webmasters worry that if the content on their sites is suddenly on hundreds of other sites, search engines will inflict a “duplicate content penalty.” Why is this concern unjustified?
* If this were true, every major newspaper and news portal website would now be de-indexed from the search engines, since they all carry “duplicate content” from the news wires such as
Reuters and the Associated Press.
* Thousands of self-promoting internet gurus have proven that distributing content is an effective method of improving search engine rank.
* Even more thousands of content websites have proven that republishing this content does not carry any search engine penalty.
True, the first website to publish an article often seems to be favored by search engines, ranking higher for the same content in searches than higher-PageRank pages with the same content. But the “duplicate” pages do show up in the search engine results, even if lower than the original site. Meanwhile, the reprint content has no effect on the ranking of a site’s other pages.
The only duplicate content penalty is for duplication of content across pages of a single website. Meanwhile, there is a sort of “copyright theft” penalty, whereby someone who copies content without permission can be manually removed from search engine indexes out of respect for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But that penalty is only for flagrant theft, not minor mistakes in attributing reprint content.
Newbie Myth 2: The goal is to get in article clearinghouse websites.
There are over 100 popular, high-traffic websites that act as clearinghouses for content made available for redistribution. These websites include isnare.com, ezines.com, and goarticles.com.
Many novice content-distributors are upset when the article clearinghouse websites, with tens of thousands of articles each with a back link, pass negligible Page Rank. But the point of distributing content to those websites is for other website owners to find your content and put it on their websites–not to get a back link directly from the clearinghouse website (though this is sometimes an unexpected bonus).
Plus, to maximize Page Rank-passing links, you also have to submit articles to website owners individually. It’s not a small amount of work. But there’s no substitute for a polite, individually crafted email recommending a website owner complement his or her existing articles with one you’ve written.
Myth 3: Any content will do.
Reality: It should be obvious that many website owners, jealous of their link popularity, will only republish exceptionally high – quality content. For articles, this means a unique point of view and solid information that cannot be found just anywhere, ideally presented in compelling language in a web-optimized format by a professional published writer. You can conduct a content distribution campaign with bad content, but you’ll be handicapping yourself from the start.
Myth 4: Distributing content is easy. Just hit “send.”
Reality: Content distribution campaign requires skillful planning to target publisher websites effectively.
This is essentially a four-step process.
1. You must identify the categories of websites most likely to republish your articles. These categories range from the very broad, such as internet, business, and family, and can go as narrow as family-friendly internet businesses.
It’s a careful balance: you need to make your target category narrowly relevant to maximize the value of the link and your chances of getting your article accepted for publication. But if you target too narrow a category, you’ll lower the maximum number of links you can hope to get.
For instance, a website on web content writing has to target its content distribution to more than just sites focusing on web content. There are only so many websites devoted to web content as a topic of interest, and besides, many such websites would be competitors. Distribution should target broadly relevant categories, such as web design, webmaster issues, writing, marketing, business, website promotion, and SEO. Yet some broadly related categories, such as internet or publishing, are not relevant enough to yield good results.
2. To maximize success, you must have articles custom-created for each major category you want to submit to. “Incorporating Content in Web Design” and “Marketing with Content” would be possible titles for a web content-writing website owner targeting web design and marketing websites, respectively. An article about web design won’t appeal as strongly to marketers, or vice versa, so simply submitting to websites having to do with “the web” would not be as effective.
3. For maximum success, articles custom-written for a category then often have to be refined for sub-categories. For instance, “Incorporating Content in Web Design” becomes “Incorporating Content into Flash Web Design,” or “Incorporating Content into Accessible Web Design.” Sometimes the refinement is just a “find and replace” of one keyword for another, sometimes just in the title. Sometimes, entire paragraphs have to reworded or removed.
4. Once you’ve identified sub-categories of websites, you still have to be able to meet the requirements of individual websites. Some sites only publish articles up to 500 words, some only do how-to articles. Owners of high-ranking websites can afford to be choosey. To really maximize results within a sub-category, you need at least three different articles of varying lengths and focus specifically geared toward that sub-category.
In the end, distributing content for website promotion and inbound links is a marvelously effective way of promoting a website. But it’s not magic beans. Like anything else having to do with achieving success on the web, it takes hard work and knowledge to be successful.