Thursday, July 28, 2011

Article Marketing Course

Introduction of Article Marketing

Thousands of Internet marketers are taking advantage of article writing as a free way to drive traffic to their websites and to the merchant websites they are affiliated with. Article writing is one of the best techniques to use in order to obtain free search listings within Google, Yahoo and other search engines.

This is how the process flows. You write an article about a topic or subject that you are either interested in or are interested in getting listed under, submit it to an article website (usually free), and then wait for it to get listed. By submitting the article to these sites you are adopting their search engine ranking, meaning that you can get listed on the first page of the results in a matter of days. This is something that could take months if you tried to optimize a website for search engines. Article marketing is 100% free and is something that anyone could (and should be doing)!

Free traffic = Free advertising = No overhead

So how does article marketing actually work? Well, generally it takes months or even years to get a site naturally listed in the main search engines like Google, Yahoo, or MSN. This is usually because a new website is not very "Popular". Popular means different things for Google, Yahoo, and MSN, as they all have different search ranking algorithms, but they all have a similar ranking model. If you write an article and submit it to a "Popular" website such as "ezinearticles.com", your article will live on this domain and inherit the popularity of that entire site. This will give your article a head start by being listed in the top rank site, thus getting spidered frequently by the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization is something that marketers have been perfecting for years, but it can take a VERY long time to get your own website displayed at all under the keywords that you want. With article marketing, you leverage the power of these large sites (ezinearticles.com, squidoo.com, usfreeads.com, etc.) to get top natural listings for your articles in a fraction of the time.

We're going to tell you exactly how to find the right keywords to use in article marketing, how to obtain a top listing in the search engines under these keywords, and how you can create profitable article marketing campaigns.

Getting Listed in The Search Engines

Once you have submitted to a popular article directory like Squidoo.com or EzineArticles.com, no further work is necessary to get crawled. These directories are crawled so often that the search engine spiders will find your articles and add them to their indexes.

The KEY however to getting a top listing on the first page of search results in a search engine like Google, is to have your content optimized for a low competition keyword. Content is the first thing that the search engines look for. They take other things into consideration as well.

Some aspects they look at are:

Popularity - how many sites are linking directly to your article's URL, and are those sites popular themselves?

Linked Site Content - the sites linking to your article, are they relevant to your content?

Anti-Spam - If your keyword density is too high, the search engines will mark your content as SPAM and you'll be left wondering why you didn't ever get any traffic. Density of 1-2 % is ideal for the keywords you focused your article on.

Bookmarking your articles on social networks like Digg.com, Stumbleupon.com, or Del.icio.us are ways to create some quick back links and get the spiders to your page faster.

Overall though, getting a listing comes down to your content and how relevant it is.


Find an Audience

Finding an audience or "niche" group of people to promote to doesn't have to take you weeks, or even days. You can do thorough research in less than an hour once you get the hang of things.

Relevance and Understanding your Audience:

Once you've found a potential audience or group of people, you need to keep a few questions in the back of your mind at all times so that you stay highly relevant when writing your articles.

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. What are they looking for?
  3. Where can they get this (online)?
  4. Why do they need this?
  5. How can my offer help or benefit them?

You need to have answers to these questions before you hit a single keystroke on your keyboard. Being relevant is the deciding factor that will determine how successful you are within the article marketing world.

Researching Keywords

Before you write an article, you should determine whether or not there is potential to receive traffic, how much competition you are up against, and which keywords to optimize to get maximum results. There are several ways you can search for keyword niches.

Analyzing Competition With Google

In order to determine whether a keyword is competitive or not, you should go to Google and check out how many search results come up under any particular keyword. You do this by typing in your search using "..." (quotes) as this will grab the results for the EXACT search phrase.

Here is an example search:

"wealthy affiliate university"

At the time when we wrote this, there were 689 results retrieved from this search in Google. A good rule of thumb is to aim for keywords where the results are less than 5000. This will make it easier to get your keywords listed as you will have much less competition to deal with. A keyword like "make money" has over 39,000,000 results. What do you think your chances are of getting your "make money" optimized article listed under this search term? Not very good! So, focus on lower competition keywords.

The next thing you will want to do is take a look at the top ranked natural listings under the search term. If the sites on the first page of natural listings have a lower page rank than the article site you are going to submit to, you have a very good chance of getting listed on the first page. To determine page rank you can either download the Google Toolbar at:

http://toolbar.google.com

Or you can use this tool:

Google Page Rank Tool

Analyzing traffic with the WA Keyword Research Tool


If you want to perform some keyword research, you should take advantage of the Keyword Research tool that we offer right here at Wealthy Affiliate. You can access this tool from the icon at the top of your Wealthy Affiliate dashboard. The keyword tool grabs search results from Google and will outline the competition and the keyword traffic volume, as well as allowing you to dig down and find more targeted, less competitive keywords.

Some keywords like "make money" are way too broad to create an article around. This is because it's an extremely popular keyword and thousands of sites are already listed under it. Instead, you should focus on writing articles for more relevant keywords that are not as competitive. For example, you will be able to achieve top rankings if you promote under the term "how to make money as an affiliate" as there are just over 800 results!

Without having to do a TON of research, you can find terms that are high volume but have limited competition if you look for keywords that pertain to brand new products.

For instance, when we have launched any of our products in the past (Who Loves Money, Beating Adwords, etc) it has been very easy for members here at WA to get their articles naturally listed pre- and post- launch because there was limited competition within the search engines. With a new product, you can literally get an article listed in a number of days under the product keywords.

This is VERY powerful information and can lead to a flurry of sales for a new product. This is explained in further detail on the next page.

Find a Product to Sell

As an Internet marketer it is your responsibility to connect a customer with a relevant product. Making a relevant connection between audience and product is key to succeeding. Once you have found an audience that you wish to promote to, you can then look for a product that they will be interested in.

There are many different places that you can search for products to match up to any specific audience.

Affiliate Networks:

Affiliate networks are a great place to find products to sell because they handle aspects of marketing such as tracking, making payment, handling support, and offering a central place to manage your marketing statistics. Affiliate networks like Clickbank, Commission Junction, Regnow, Share a Sale, and many others, will make it easy for you to find a product that you can offer to your audience.

How to Write Your Article

For article marketers, writing articles is the most time consuming part of the process, but it doesn't have to take you hours and hours to write a single article and fully optimize it. In lesson 1 we talked about researching and finding an audience. When writing an article you will leverage that research. All articles need to be written with a certain audience, and more specifically, keyword phrases in mind. The purpose of writing an article for a particular keyword phrase is so that you can get listed in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN under those "exact" keywords.

When writing an article you can break the process down into a few simple tasks:

  • Selecting the keyword phrases that you want to focus on
  • Outlining the layout of your article into topics
  • Optimizing the keyword density

Selecting Keyword Phrases

During the research phase you will have researched keyword phrases that have low competition in the search engines. You want to select one of these keyword phrases to write your article on. Start by determining a topic to write about. Let's use the keyword phrase ""join wealthy affiliate university" (approx. 1,240 quoted results).

Each article that you write should have a minimum of 1 keyword phrase that you focus the article on. Remember, this keyword phrase should have less than 5,000 natural listings in Google so that your article will have a good chance of getting listed on the first page of results.

There are many different methods of writing your articles. Some people prefer to write their articles in MS Word, or even using Note Pad, but we have created a special tool here at WA for Article marketers. This tool is called Rapid Writer and it will help you optimize your articles for best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance. Before continuing, open the Rapid Writer tool right here within Wealthy Affiliate.

Click Here to Launch Rapid Writer

Upon creating your article within Rapid Writer you have a blank canvas that you can use to start writing your article. The easiest way to get started is to touch on what was learned in a Grade 9 English class. Layout the article into paragraphs or topics that you wish to discuss:

0 - Headline: Write a Catchy Headline that includes the Keyword Phrase you are targeting
1 - What is Wealthy Affiliate
2 - Benefits of Wealthy Affiliate
3 - How will Wealthy Affiliate help
4 - Personal thoughts about the program
5 - How to join Wealthy Affiliate

These are examples of 5 paragraphs that we can write about. Go ahead and put these into Rapid Writer so that you have a skeleton of what the article will look like.

Optimizing Keyword Density

Before you start writing content, you need to setup your Keyword Density watch. Rapid Writer tracks the keyword density of these keywords as you type. This will help you keep your keyword density optimized for the search engine spiders. Keeping your keyword density between 1% and 2% is optimal. You don't want to be too much higher than this otherwise the search engines may categorize your article as being keyword spam.

Below is a sample article that focuses on the keyword phrase "wealthy affiliate marketing community" (only 1 natural listing at the time of writing). We have outlined the important aspects you should focus on when writing articles.

Independent Affiliate Programs:

Sometimes you just won't be able to find a product to promote on an affiliate network. This may require you to look for independent products with their own affiliate programs. Wealthy Affiliate, for example, has its own affiliate program. We are not connected to any affiliate network. We handle payment to affiliates and all other aspects required to run a successful affiliate program. Other merchants also handle their own affiliate programs. To find an independent affiliate program you can usually do this within a few minutes by searching on Google.

Do a search for "Industry Name Affiliate Program"

Here is an example: Let's pretend that you are looking for an Acne cream affiliate program. You could do a search like this:

"Acne Cream Affiliate Program"

This will bring up a lot of different independent products you can sell as an affiliate.

Finding the "Right" affiliate product to sell to our audience is KEY. High Relevance between an audience and a product will produce sales and make you money! Lack of relevancy will only cost you money, time and energy without any financial benefit. So, focus on relevancy when choosing audiences and products to promote via Article Marketing.

Article Directories and Submitting

What the Search Engines Look For

Search engines send out computers to "crawl" sites online. These computers are referred to as "spiders" since they see websites like a big web. They follow links from site to site and make website and keyword "connections" within their databases when they find relevant information that will be useful for their users. When your article is added to the databases by the spiders, they use your keyword density & content along with their "page rank" algorithm to determine where to place your listing in the search engine. If you follow the techniques that we've discussed above, you will have a much better chance of getting listed under the keywords that you choose.

Article directories are constantly getting crawled by the search engine spiders because they always have new content being added to them. A site like Squidoo.com (or other top article directories) get crawled constantly, and they will bring spiders to your articles as soon as they submit. Since sites like Squidoo.com have a high page rank within Google, you only need to be concerned about the keyword density and content aspects of your article.

When a spider comes to your page, it strips out all of your images, videos or other media that make your page look nice to a "real" person, and focus on the content alone. They look at the title of your page, your headlines, links, and most importantly, the bulk of the content that makes up your page. The spider will then start creating a list of phrases that it feels your page focuses on. These phrases are then placed into the search engine databases along with the url to your article. The algorithms for displaying the search results in Google, or other search engines, then decide how relevant your phrases are to search queries that people search for.

By optimizing your articles for certain keyword phrases, you are essentially telling the search engine spiders to store display your article for those phrases. Optimizing the content of your article is the most important part of article marketing. To get those top listings for free, you need to follow the guidelines in this course.

Blogs vs. Article Directories vs. Your Own Domain

As mentioned above, search engine spiders crawl web sites and articles by following links. Article directories have a very optimized linking structure so that the spiders can easily find your articles. A common question we receive is how blogs (web logs) compare to article directories. The simple answer is that they are not as effective in getting a top listing quickly.

Blogs do not have an internal linking structure that is optimized to bring the spiders to the page. Once a spider gets to your blog it will crawl the links within, but it takes quite a few more steps in order to get a spider to your blog than it does to your articles on an article directory.

Another benefit to using an article directory is that in most cases they have a high page rank (PR). Google uses page rank to help determine the "importance" of the domain. The more important the domain, the higher the pages on that domain will be in the search engines. So, by posting an article to an article directory, you are utilizing the page rank of that domain to your advantage.

Blogs like "blogger.com", or "wordpress.com" have high PR, but if you create a blog that lives on your own domain, you won't be able to leverage the page rank. This makes it much more difficult to get a listing. Getting a search engine to list a website that you own in the search engines is even more difficult.

As an article marketer you should focus on finding audiences, products, and writing the content for your articles. If you use an article directory you will not need to focus on getting the search engine spiders to your pages as much as you would have to if you posted on a blog, or on your own website.

Our recommendation is to use the following article submissions sites:

We will be discussing each of these in detail later. All you need to know right now is that these are our recommendations for where to submit your articles to. Article submissions sites are of no use to you just yet because you have not written an article. Once you have your article we will walk you through exactly how submissions work.

Rinse and Repeat

Stay on Schedule & Set Goals

Article marketing does take a lot of work, and in order to succeed at it you need to set goals. Set aside enough time during the day to write 1-2 articles and by the end of the month you will potentially have 20-40 articles bringing you in traffic (and hopefully sales). The advantages of article marketing are that you do not have to be a professional to write an article, and it is FREE!

Rinse and Repeat (You'll get Faster)

The more articles you write, the faster and better at it you will become. The first couple of articles that anyone writes take hours to research, write the content, and publish the article on the web. However, as you rinse and repeat the process, you will become better and faster. Don't be discouraged as you get started because the search engines love new content and they have built their systems so that people like you can get your pages listed for free. Remember, without good content, the search engines wouldn't exist.

Use the techniques from within this tutorial and you'll be getting free traffic to your affiliate links and websites in no time.

... And Finally

If you are new to Internet marketing and have a limited budget, article marketing is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with important marketing fundamentals such as research, copywriting, and building pages. It will allow you to generate income that you can use to fund your advertising campaigns (PPC or otherwise). We must point out that article marketing is not "guaranteed", especially with all the changes that Google and other search engines make to their ranking algorithms. Don't rely on just one article to bring you all your sales. Keep consistent with your article marketing and you will be much more likely to be successful with it.

People who write a single article and play the waiting game will end up frustrated and will fall behind others who follow a schedule and who stay focused. Article marketing and getting free traffic requires persistence, so get going and start writing your first articles today!


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