The benefits of article marketing has taken a big hit since Google announced and implemented SERP penalties to sites they deemed to fall in the category of “content farms”. At the top of the list were popular article directories, a haven for many webmasters, affiliate marketers and SEO specialists used to create both backlinks and organic traffic by submitting topical articles.
Should you abandon your article submissions now that Google has implemented these penalties? The answer is that old “yes and no” and really depends on what your purpose was for submitting articles in the first place.
If your article marketing efforts were simply for creating backlinks to your website to assist in your overall search engine placement, article directories can still help you achieve that. They have not changed their business model as a result of the penalties so you can still submit your articles in the same fashion to get those valued backlinks. I suspect some of the larger directories might implement some additional levels of quality control in an effort to convince Google to lift the penalties so the approval process may become a bit more difficult in the near future. Your articles will still be able to provide you backlinks, although the directories you submit to and the links they generated may not be as valuable as they once were.
Were you using article marketing to gain organic traffic? If so, the penalties imposed on the article directories is going to hinder the results. I have experienced diminishing returns first hand for both myself and some of my clients. I remember I could submit articles to various directories and have these topical articles bring in a few hundred hits over a 7 to 10 day period. If you kept up a steady stream of submissions, you could benefit from a steady stream of traffic. Since the Google “farmer” update, the same effort is bringing in minimal traffic even though the quality of articles produced, the topics covered and the article directories are the same. The directories have been pushed down in the SERPs making it harder for end users to find your articles and expertise.
I don’t foresee Google lifting the penalties on article directories so depending on your purpose for article submissions, you may want to start investigating some new ideas and strategies.