Maybe not anymore. In February Google rolled out an update to their algorithms directed at sites that duplicate content as well as those that “spin” articles (replacing phrases and words so they aren’t exact duplicates and then posting to article hosting sites). They’ve just rolled it out globally to English speaking countries as well. Google is constantly fine-tuning their process to deliver accurate results and get around those who want to game the system.

Other targets are content farms and “scraper” sites (those which pull in content through RSS feeds or robots and post it as their own) but may also affect sites like eHow and About.com who, up until now, have dominated the results for a lot of topics.

Here’s a graph from Searchmetrics.com showing a pretty significant impact on one of the most popular article marketing sites, HubPages.com

hubpages drops after Google Panda is rolled out in the UK

So what’s a blogger to do?

  • Check your site against Google’s quality guidelines. Is your content authentic and is it easy for a user to scan the navigation and find relative information?
  • Do your posts reflect the overall theme of your site, or do you tend to jump around a lot from topic to topic? If so, create categories for these topics and group them together.
  • Us text instead of images for important points and if you do use images describe the content of the image in an “alt” tag.
  • Use keywords that are important and relevant to the post in your titles.
  • Give Google’s Page Speed tools a spin to make sure your site is optimized. If it’s loading too slowly get rid of some of those Javascript widgets!
  • Optimize your page to suit Google’s web performance guidelines
  • Use a plugin like Scribe SEO to fine tune your posts. (trust me, you’ll learn a lot)
  • Give it up on the article marketing and spend your time building really great content. The readers will come and, more importantly, they’ll stay.

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