Every now again we come across students of Music Marketing Manifesto, who are totally putting in the work that is required for success, but get a little stuck when the results are not as positive as they would like to see. Such is the case for our Estonian friend, Joonas K., who wrote to us about his experience with article marketing.
The short version of Joonas’ problem is that he has cranked out a bunch of articles, but found that they were only ranking somewhere between the 2nd and 6th pages of Google’s search results. He has heard of things like using social bookmarking and forums to try to build links to his articles, but found that sometimes his rankings would slip, or even worse, disappear entirely after building the links.
Now it has been said that you will be met with the most amount of resistance when you are on the verge of a break-through and we think that’s exactly where Joonas may be right now. Hopefully we can push him over the hump with detailed exploration into his problem.
When musicians take the approach of creating articles to generate traffic to a squeeze page or website, the goal is to pick up various streams of traffic, based off of the keywords that the articles are written around. The problem is that when you are trying to optimize for search engine visibility (SEO), you will constantly be at the mercy of sudden algorithm changes to the way that the search engines rank and display search results.
Google’s recent Penguin update certainly comes to mind for sure.
According to a small snippet of a wikipedia article about the Penguin Update, even long-time authority websites, with tons of content started getting punished in the search results by “demonstrating unusual linking”.
So what exactly constitutes “unusual” backlinking? Well only Google would know for sure, but it seems that they are now looking for websites that seem to have scale-tipping amounts of links from either seemingly unrelated content/ blogs, or social linking (social media, bookmarking, forums, etc.) which is not in line with what Google considers to be a natural pattern. In plain terms, Google is looking for patterns that suggest that authors themselves are creating social links to their own content via various bookmarking without there being enough social conversation to validate the amount of bookmarks.
In other words, Google seems to favor sites and articles that carry relevant inbound links, but also follow a pattern of “normal” social bookmarking and conversational patterns.
Another possibility is that what you are experiencing is simply Google’s new content boost. Often Google favors new content temporarily. Presumably because it is more relevant while it’s new. This also gives new content a chance to find it’s way into the SERPS. Often you will see new content rise to the top of teh serps for a few weeks only to drop back into near non existence a few weeks later. The content then often resurfaces a few weeks to a few months later. It is thought that this is one of Google’s many measures it uses to prevent and identify search engine spammers. If you are only building a small number of links to your pages then this may be what you are experiencing.
So in Joonas’ case specifically, keep doing what you’re doing as far as cranking out articles, but start to make some adjustments to the way you create the content. experiment with different backlink strategies for batches of 5 – 10 articles and see if you can determine what is the most beneficial strategy. With Google’s always changing algorithm, it is important to always be testing. For example you could create 5 articles with no backlinks, 5 with only social links, and 5 with links from other web 2.0 properties. Just as an example. And be sure to give things enough time to come to solid conclusions.
At the end of the day it definitely pays to understand good, basic SEO practices, but it seems to pay off much more when you create that content with authentic social interaction and sharing in mind. At least for those who do not want to spend their lives playing Google’s always changing game.
A keyword optimized article is your foundation for search engine rankings and traffic, but writing with the user experience in mind is a safer bet right now because of the sharing you will encourage. This has become very important post-Penguin.
It’s not your work ethic failing you, Joonas. It’s more likely that your content needs to be more engaging to readers. Or possibly a simple matter of varying your strategy a bit until you find the right combination to give your content the boost it needs. Just rest assured that content creation for traffic is a very proven strategy. It’s what drives the internet and always has. Keep on doing what it takes and you will start seeing an increase in traffic.
We’re always here to help!