Article directories must sound familiar to all those people who have employed Internet marketing services for promotion of their site. The directories act as content farms where one can find numerous articles on several niche topics. However, article directories are not only used to find relevant info on particular topic, but they are also used widely as an SEO technique to bring quality backlink to a site and get good rank in Google.
But, the way these directories worked a few years back and the way they work now has changed a lot. This change mainly took place because of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Starting from the length of the article to the quality of the content, every single parameter of the directories changed so as to ensure that only quality survives. Several directories were heavily punished, while the remaining ones had to make their guidelines stricter. The heavy blow came to all those sites that used these directories to get good ranks through poor content.
With Google’s Panda and Penguin in action, there was no way copywriters could fool around with content anymore. Though article directories are still in use, there are several site owners who question the efficiency of the directories. This is also a big question for SEO professionals who use these off-page activities to acquire link building for their clients.

The Early Years of Article Directories

Are the directories still helpful in link building? This IS a big concern for Internet marketing professionals as well as for all those people who wish to seek SEO for making their sites visible in the top SERPs. But, there was a time when they played a decisive role in improving a site’s rank in search engines. In fact, there was a time when they dominated the results of the search engines.
There were several reasons for their popularity. Some of the specific ones are as followed:
  • - Directories allowed site owners to promote their site.
  • - Top directories like EzineArticles and ArticleBase attracted huge traffics.
  • - Search engines frequently searched the directories for content.
  • - They included less hassles in article submission as one article could be submitted to multiple sites.
  • - They helped in raising rank of a site by providing it with significant backlinks.
However, the specifics varied from directory to directory. While some of them had an open submission policy that allowed any person to load article, others had stricter rules and the articles submitted in such directories needed to go through screening; thus, the latter maintaining quality and relevance. Whatever be the policies, there was a time when the article directories enjoyed their dominance in the web world. So, what happened to them?

The Punishment of Panda

February 2011 was a terrible month for those directories that contained low quality, poor content and solely thrived on keyword–stuffed filler-articles. Before Google released Panda, keyword optimization was a good method to get its attention and people could enjoy good results even with pathetically written content that only needed to be stuffed with keywords.
Once Panda was released, everything changed. It was a nightmare for all the directories that housed low quality articles in galore, and it also punished the sites that received backlinks through these directories. Through Panda, Google made it crystal-clear that no nonsense-content would be displayed on its results and those sites with proper, relevant, quality content would conquer the search engine.
When Panda was kicking the directories, the ones which maintained decency with quality content suffered less, but those with loose ends suffered heavily. Panda came as good news to all those directories that suffered simply because of they avoided keyword-stuffed content. Panda came as a savior to those directories. By the end of the year 2011, article directories lost their charm to the site owners and were mostly avoided by the professionals.

Do article directories help anymore?

Surprisingly, in spite of Google’s stricter rules (a result of both Panda and Penguin), the answer to this question is yes. Though article marketing has been largely ignored by site owners as well as professionals, article directories do help you to get quality backlinks and improve your site’s ranks, given that you provide original, quality content and they follow Google Webmaster’s guidelines.
After the Panda and Penguin updates, a lot has changed in the Internet marketing sector. But, few things are there that have remained unchanged including the importance of getting relevant traffic to your site and the fruitful results of your site’s good rank in the search engines. Article directories still have an important role as the directories are still searched by Google to get good, relevant info and those articles that match its criteria do get rewarded with good ranks.
There are some major reasons why the article directories are still required which are listed below:
  • They are searched by Google and other search engines to find relevant articles.
  • Through well-researched, unique content, the article directories can bless you with quality backlinks.
  • The quality backlinks, in turn, can reward your site with good rankings in the SERPs.
  • They serve as great promotional tools for your site.
While using the article directories, you might be worried about getting punished by Google. But, as long as you stick by the oath of serving the directories with unique, original, well-written content, you don’t have to worry about Panda. What Panda wants is useful info, and as long as you keep providing it with high quality articles, Panda will be happy with you and it might reward your site with good ranks via your articles in the directories.

List of do_follow article directories for quality article submission

Article Directory
Page Rank (Google)
1 Technorati 8
2 Suite101 7
3 Examiner 8
4 Squidoo 7
5 Ezinearticles 6
6 Brighthub 5