This topic comes from my planned experiment post. This is a rather long post, so grab a beer first. I hope that all of you are aware of what is happening with EzineArticles. I wish I could link to the actual blog post, but I refuse to pass any link juice. And for some reason the blog posts don’t index in Google (for me to grab the cache link). The title of the blog post was “Our War With Affiliate Marketers” and I couldn’t help but feel that was probably one of the most honest pieces of information produced by an article directory.
I’m particularly disappointed with the Warrior Forum and the people on there. Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of upset people, but there seemed to also be the ass suckers. The ones that were glorifying this as something good. It is something good, but to who?
When you get right down to it we all have different loyalties. Google is at war with us too. Google owes it’s loyalty to it’s visitors. Even though they make their money with advertising, they still need people to search. And that means providing the best possible results. Google is at war with us because we game it; because we market; because we don’t have the intention of giving things away, but to convert a buyer.
Where does EZA’s loyality lie? Their loyality lies with keeping Google happy (which includes search results and Adsense) and it’s visitors. I’m starting this post like this to point out that it is EZA’s prerogative to do this, but you have to understand it from an objective point of view.
The point is that EZA’s loyality is not you, but their loyality is contrary to your benefit. Remember that. Don’t ever forget it.
That is what pisses me off about the douchebags on forums saying this is good. It’s good for EZA’s benefit. Who doesn’t want nice high quality articles for free? I want some. Most of the people that are praising this move have a lack of anonymity. They have their username on the Warrior Forum as their actual name. Nothing boils my blood more than Bev Clement. Here cocky attitude and condecending attitude make me sick. This is from a person that not to long ago had a thread on the forum looking for donations because she was in trouble. Finally after thousands have been donated we find out that she couldn’t pay rent on her little trip to Hong Kong. But I digress.
Here is why I think the move by EZA is contrary to our benefit:
What the fuck is a “quality article”?
Everyone keeps saying ‘well all you have to do is write quality articles and you won’t have a problem.’ That’s excellent advice. It’s just about as esoterically vague as ‘work smarter, not harder’.
No one has defined quality to me. And I mean not in a past tense way. An example of past tense would be the reader likes it than it’s quality. It’s past tense because the article needs to accepted and read by the reader first before quality is viewed.
That means there has to be criteria in place of objectives that must be met to be “quality”. What are they? EZA will never ever tell you them because frankly they don’t have the first fuckin’ clue what they are.
My point is that they don’t give the first flying fuck about “quality articles”. They are at war with affiliate marketers. You can bet your ass that the subject and where your landing page goes will have a much more direct effect on what determines “quality” of that article.
And I can prove it.
I was recently downgraded at EZA. After nearly 3000 articles with them, I was moved from Platinum to Basic PLUS. I didn’t even get an email telling me why. After that all my articles get rejected, so obviously I stopped completely.
The big thing that the word “quality” implies is that the information is quality. This is where the argument of quality articles will die. EZA doesn’t verify information in articles. It doesn’t have the time, money or resources to do it. Quality other than the information provided in the article could only come from spelling, grammar, punctuation and article length. Oh and from my thesis, the writers intent *cough* marketing.
So how do they determine what is a “good” article and one that deserves to be rejected? I could write long coherent articles on how push ups cure migraine headaches. I can articulate it in a very smart way and explain it with a very convincing physiological theory. The article is crap and doesn’t help the reader in anyway, but I’m sure EZA would eat it up.
That’s the whole point. There is no way to determine what is good and bad in the eyes of EZA. That means the process isn’t equally applied to all members and it also means that some writers are going to be targets. And since they’re at war with affiliate marketers, you’re always a target to be picked on.
Old Articles Are Being Revisited
The whole reason for this crack down is all about Google. I’ve seen the results of EZA decline over the last year and I expect the trend to continue that way. This is how EZA plans to stop this and get their shit together. It isn’t enough for them to simply start enforcing a policy from this day forward, but they’re going to start applying the new standards to old articles. “In the past, we’ve grandfathered existing articles in when new quality levels are set, except when a live article is edited, today’s standard is applied to that content.” – EZA blog.
If you’ve written articles that meet the “quality” of today’s standards (whatever that is) your articles are fine and it shouldn’t be a big deal – for now. 6 Months from now they could tighten the bolts again and some of your articles are dropped. I don’t know, but that’s something that you have to think about it.
When I work, I expect my work to provide long lasting results, but you could lose it. Seriously, I could wake up tomorrow and my account be banned because my past ACCEPTED articles were not up today’s standards. You have to think of that shit.
There’s a point where it’s just too much work to satisfy the demands of someone else and I don’t feel like satisfying them anymore.
Your Articles Aren’t Ethically Used
A big selling point for using EZA is that other webmasters will take your articles and put them on their site. They’ll use your resource box, so that you get traffic and a backlink. It sounds like the perfect plan on paper.
Here is the reality: No site that has any valuable qualities is going to use your articles. I’ve never ever seen EZA articles on a site that would provide a quality backlink in any way. Do you see me going to EZA looking for articles to put on this blog? No. Even if there was a quality article on EZA, I would be interested in writing my own article on the subject and putting it on this blog. If I have a valuable site I’m not going to just play a game of copy and paste with my readers. I want to take care of them.
Obviously your articles are getting published on sites because you can see it count in your EZA stats. My stats say I have over 6000 published on other sites. I’m sure if you’ve been looking at your traffic stats you’re well aware of the quality of site that links back to you.
Most of them are spammy piece of shit sites. They have no traffic, they have spammy backlinks and they’re probably part of a blog farm. I know Google is in a tough spot here. Obviously, site owners can’t control who is linking to their site. But on the other hand it has to stop blog farms. After enough of these spammy sites use your articles, you’re just getting viewed in a negative manner by Google.
Some of the sites will bring you traffic, but not a lot. I don’t want to call these links spammy, but they’re definitely not quality. A lot of these sites are by people looking to build up their content really fast. That usually means they’re trying to flip the site.
There is no quality links coming to you from people using the articles on their own sites. Spam sites, bots and scrapers will go to the sites and autoblog 1000 of your articles in a few hours. Is that really something you want your sites to be a part of?
Just think of it this way. If I worked hard to build this authority site over years. I spent money on SEO companies to get it to the top. Am I going to EZA to get myself a free article? No fuckin’ way. Only people with nothing are going there.
They Want Longer Articles – They Just Won’t Say It
I think we can all recognize that they want more length. Often now when articles are being rejected they tell you in the email that you should write 450-700 word articles. The rules say 250 minimum, but we all know they’re looking for more. And like anything where you are asked to give more, they’ll just keep asking for more and more. Yes, that phenomenon is right of the book Influence.
Let’s stipulate the common definition of quality articles as a lengthy informative article (which EZA will never verify beyond length). What benefit is there to me? I can see the benefit to Chris Knight; more long tail traffic and higher Adsense CTR.
See, we’ll get lower CTR off to our site because of the length. There are a few reasons for that. It takes much more work to read through the article. It is incredibly easy to get bored. When I’m looking for information online I’m not reading a long article. I’ll look for something else and the first thing that you’ll see on EZA is an Adsense ad. Since there is so much text between the start of the article and your resource box at the bottom you’re just going to get less clicks.
Another problem that I have with lengthy quality articles is the fact that you have to give away too much. People say that this is the best way to sell. I disagree since we’re affiliate marketers. Let’s say I’m selling an ebook on curing migraine headaches. What keywords would I be writing my articles for? Cure Migraines, Cure for Migraines, etc. If I’m using that keyword in the title than I have to supply information for that. If I fill it with real solutions that work (an informative article) than why the fuck would they buy the ebook? There is a simple rule I learned when I was an adult webmaster and that was make them pay for pink. Simply put, we show them softcore to warm them up and they pay for hardcore (our sponsors). What EZA is looking for is you to provide “hardcore” type content for their site. It’s super beneficial to him and counter productive to us.
Another example on this point can be completely verified from my apartment when I was at University. Moved in one day, hooked the TV up to the cable wire and it worked. It worked the entire time we were there. We got free cable for whatever reason. Do you think I called up the cable company and asked to purchase cable service from them? No. Why would I pay for something that I can get for free? That’s essentially what EZA wants. They want us to provide the free cable to their readers and try to sell it to them aswell.
The Rules of Creating Content for Affiliate Marketers
I put in a lot of thought on this point. You need standards for your articles or you’re just going to be a bitch. I’m sure you have standards for a mate. If you didn’t have them you’d end up with the ugliest looking person. It might sound mean, but you need standards. Here is what I came up with when you’re writing high quality articles…
- The Content is going to be beneficial for my visitors.
- The Content is going to be paid for if someone else wants it.
- The Content is going to provide a stellar backlink.
- The Content is going to send high quality traffic – not the lower end of quality.
I try to at least meet two of these. I’m sorry. EZA provides absolute SHIT when it comes to link back value. EZA also filters off the top quality to their Adsense ads and you’re left with the a small percentage of lower quality visitors (30% if you’re lucky). I’ve talked about this in detail on my rant about bum marketing.
If I’m going to work hard to create long informative quality articles than I’m putting them on my site. I have no desire to give my shit away to unappreciative pricks like Chris Knight. I will also create content for quality links, but you’re not going to get SHIT from EZA. They just give you nothing in return and your site isn’t going to be getting extra SE traffic. The boost you’ll get is very basic and if you do make it on the front page of Google you could of done it with a few blog comments, so let’s get real.
Plus 30% CTR are considered good, but I prefer to have 100% of my readers coming to my site and reading my content. Rather than filtering through a spammy looking page full of ads. Yes, it’s spammy and Google sees it regardless of their catch 22.
I think I’ve ranted enough for over 2000 words, so let’s get into some of the meat. The point of this post is to screw EZA. Let’s all drop them and do something a hell of a lot more productive with our time.
How to get REAL authority backlinks
The advice I’m going to share with you is incredibly simple and you quite possibly may have heard it before. The problem is that we easily get intimidated by it. Instead of working your ass off for a 30% CTR (which is the only benefit of EZA) why not write articles for the most authority website in your niche?
That sounds a little more intimidating.
I know that I was intimidated by this sort of thing. It left me trying to get authority backlinks other ways. I would try to write a comment on a blog or hope that an authority site would accept listing of websites. That’s the wussie way of doing things.
I know this is intimidating, but you need to open your mind up to this type of thing because it is possible. I have seen this for a while. I’m subscribed to the RSS feeds of some high authority personal finance blogs. And a lot of times they have guest bloggers and things like that to fill in the posts.
You have to understand that authority owners are busy people. The idea of someone producing them a nice piece of high quality content (I’m talking about the real definition of high quality). It works the same way as article writing because you’re going to get an about author section where you can place your link. You’ll have to use the About Author box properly because it’s an authority site.
But think of the value. You’re going to get traffic from this site. The CTR might not be the best because you can’t really sell your author space and you’ll be writing a rather long article, but you’re going to get the best backlink possible. We’re talking about the king shit backlink that all the other internet marketers are looking for.
Here’s the even bigger kicker for you guys… it’s easy. All you have to do is find the contact information on an authority site and send them an email. Obviously you’re not going to get backlinks from Amazon or anything like that, but others will.
You’re probably thinking that this is a great idea, but you have two specific objections that pop into your head:
- Why would they choose you?
- How do I write content worthy of authority sites?
Obviously there is only so many authority sites in specific niches, but despite what you think no one is doing this. I went around looking for links in a niche and emailed people. My reply rate is like 70-80% and they were favorable. I had two that were really happy that I emailed them about this and were very interested. I’m talking about sites that have been around more than a decade. We’re talking good links here. I had one that asked me if I’d be interested in doing Guest Blogging on a regular basis BEFORE they even seen my writing.
I owe all this to not being a bitch and submitting to EZA. All I did was look up sites, get contact information and just ask them. Wow that was hard. High quality backlinks for my articles for very little work. The owners of these sites want your content, so ask them.
The other objection that you have (and it’s the main reason why I didn’t start this sooner) and it was my ability to write the content worthy of their approval. I guess we can all get intimidated and we often look at our own work in the most critical way.
All you need to know is that the only difference between a regular article and a kick ass article is a little more time. You can talk about any topic with authority if you spend more time on it. Instead of pumping out articles every 10 minutes. Spend an hour and write a kick ass 1000 word article. An authority site owner will eat this stuff up. They want quality and as long as you can present your ability to write it than they won’t be able to say no.
Finding Potential Authority Sites
This is the easy part. Go to Google and type in your niche. Go through the top 20 websites that aren’t large corporations (like Amazon, Walmart, etc) and find an email address (or a contact form). If you can’t find an email address or contact information go do a whois on the domain (samspade.org) and see if there is an email listed.
Just repeat the process with secondary keywords. For example, if your niche is bodybuilding than secondary keywords would be bodybuilder workout, bodybuilding diet, etc.
Not all niches will be as simple as bodybuilding to find the real authority sites. You’re not going to find authority hemorrhoid site. They don’t exist. Well, I don’t think they exist. You’ll have to aim in a different direction hitting up authority health sites related to constipation or something that is similar.
Now that you got their emails you have to send them a message and presuade them to do this. If there is a piece of information that copywriting has taught me it is that you have to start EARLY into the benefits for the reader (ie: authority site owner).
I’m not going to give you a template for you to copy. You have to learn to do this yourself.
Your subject line has to be something that they’ll actually read. That doesn’t mean spamming up a hype like subject. Just something honest that they’ll read. The very first sentence of the email should list the benefit. If you haven’t been paying attention the benefit is a high quality article on their site. Communicate that fact without hype and without displaying your benefit (a link back to your site).
Here is a rough example…
I wanted to know whether you’d like some high quality articles for your website. I’m a *authority in the niche* and I can produce some very honest articles. My perspective can be a very valuable asset to your readers and can help you bring in a lot more search engine traffic. All I ask in return for free quality articles is that I get an author box for exposure.
Let me know if you’d be interested in such a thing.
That’s a very simple and to the point email. It follows a very simple pattern. Opening sentence talks about the big benefit for the authority site. I mention after that reasons why I can provide that benefit to their readers. I follow up with some secondary benefits (good stuff for the readers and search traffic). I finally end with my author box. It’s sort of like a sales page. I write about the benefits and I end it with the price, which is just an author box. And that cost is very minimal.
You can always add more to it, but I always advise short emails. I’m a busy guy and wouldn’t read a long email. Just get to the point. You can add another sentence after the ‘let me know’ sentence that says, “In the next few days I’m going to prepare for you a 1000 word quality article for you to see exactly what I can give you.” That takes away buying pressure.
I have had nothing, but great comments from people that are interested. If you can, try to add in something unique points about the site. For example, the first person to email me back was the most receptive. There site didn’t really have articles on it. They just had a directory listing for every single authority person in the niche. I just added in an extra sentence after I mention the articles, “I know that your site is a directory of information on *niche* people, but I think having quality articles can give more to your readers.” They replied back immediately to that email thanking me and thinking that I was right.
I wrote a 1200 word article for them that they liked. The big selling point for that person was the benefit of the article, but I was able to show them that I was looking at their site and I was giving them genuine advice on how to improve it.
Writing the Articles
There needs to be a lot more care put into these articles. Unlike EZA, the owners of these sites (for the most part) know their niche and they can smell bullshit articles. You really do have to develop a quality article here. Remember, it might take you a few hours to make one, but that’s okay. The benefit you’re receiving is a kick ass link.
Think of it this way. If you can only get 1 kick ass article done a day, which results in 1 authority backlink than you’re kicking ass. It just takes a few authority links and your site will skyrocket. One authority link will outdo hundreds of article directory links, blog comments and link wheels.
Take the extra time to write something good. Go through it and make sure that it sounds correct. If an article directory rejects your article you can always submit again. With authority sites you may not have another chance, so make sure you don’t screw it up.
You may feel intimidated that you have to produce this content, but it shouldn’t be hard. All you have to do is put more time into it. Time is all it takes to produce a great piece of content.
There is a little more that needs to be done though. It’s not enough to write information on your niche, but it has to be something that the site owner wants. For example, lets say that your niche is bodybuilding. If the authority site has several articles on how to get six pack abs than he probably doesn’t want an article on the same subject.
You should take a look through their content. See what they have, and more importantly, what they don’t have.
Another aspect I learned in copywriting is the Unique Selling Point (USP). It’s the way that you differentiate yourself from others. Lets go back to the bodybuilding example. I’m not saying that you can’t write about six pack abs. You can do it if your article has a unique selling point. When I say USP I don’t mean selling, but something that makes it different than the other articles on the site. For example, if the articles on this site were about getting abs from doing unique crunches than write an article on how to get abs without doing any exercise. This is a rough example, but you have to get them something unique or it is just useless to them.
Also, you have to consider where your article is going. I noticed a lot of authority sites have their own little section to put articles. This means that you can write nice long pieces of content. But if the site owner is going to put it on a blog than you’re going to have to write it differently. I know that I’ve been writing monster posts for my site (an experiment), but most blogs are looking for something easier to read.
That’s not to say that you have to write something short, but the type of content you write is different. You might have to do a post like the “Top 5 Reasons to …” where you bold each reason as you write about it. It’s something that is much easier to read, especially for blog readers. I’m not saying that a site owner wouldn’t appreciate a long detailed article, but let’s make it as easy as we can for them to please their readers.
A Few More Resources
While doing some of these searches for authority sites I noticed that a lot of them already accept articles to begin with. Obviously they’re going to be picky as hell though. But the fact that they list this shows you that you can get one accepted. It means they are already open to the idea of taking content from others and they know how the game works.
All this means is that you can carefully prepare your article and submit it to them when you’re ready. It’s not rocket science. There is no reason to reject a quality article that benefits their visitors.
Finding these sites are really easy at Google. Just type in: Niche +”Submit Articles”
You can change the variation from submit articles to whatever you think a site would list. I’m not saying that every site that comes up will be an authority in the niche. You have to remember that this is going to be a targeted backlink from a niche related site. This should count higher than a link from a article directory.
But I have one more place for you to look: niche related article directories. I want to emphasize that this is the lowest on all the backlinks I’ve listed today, but I still think there is more value to them. They are still niche related and I think it makes a much better link in the eyes of Google.
Finding niche related article directories is the same as above (Niche +”submit articles”). You can also search variations of that. The most common directory software should have variables you can search. You’re going to get a lot of general directories this way, but just go through them. You’ll find some niche related ones.
I thought I should sum this all up for those of you that aren’t interested in reading this massive post. EZA is a business that has its own prerogative. Actually it’s prerogative is to our detriment. The harder we work, the less we market and the less we make is good for EZA. Isn’t good for us.
It’s not a matter of adapting to Ezinearticles new rules because that’s no guarantee in itself. Normally when they changed rules the old articles on the site were fine. That’s not the case anymore. They’re going through our old articles right now and they’re taking them off the site. Even if you bust your balls today writing an article that gets accepted, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be rejected in 6 months time.
You’re a business. Your job is to make money. You have to work with others to make that money, but there’s a point where you can’t put up with the demands and bitching from another person. You want work with people that want to see both succeed. Despite what EZA says, they really hate us. And the less we make, the better off they are. That isn’t a good partnership for me.
The good news is that you can put your work to more productive use. There are tons of authority sites in your niche that would gladly link back to you. Just write a nice high quality article for them. It’s easier than you think.
Just contact them by email. The worst you’re going to get is a reply that says “no”. Some won’t even reply. But you’ll probably get a few emails like I did of excited site owners just dying for your content. Remember, you don’t have to get all the authority sites to link to you. Just one or two links is enough for you to jump to the top spot of Google.
Why bust your balls day after day writing articles for EZA for very little link juice? Write one high quality article a day for a week and give it to each authority site in your niche and you’re set.
Seriously, this is so easy. I can’t believe that I was actually intimidated doing this in the past. The fact is that most people are intimidated. Some of these site owners I emailed have sites that are 12 years old and they’re excited to hear from me. They haven’t even had someone reach out and send them an email.
Trust me. You won’t regret doing this. Though I’m sure 99% of my readers will never ever try it. Remember, it just takes one or two authority backlinks to send you to the top of the search engines.