Sunday, February 22, 2009

Top Article Directories of 2009

If we want to decide what the top article directories of 2009 will be then we need to look at what makes a top article directory.

So the first question is:
What do you want from an article directory?

* One of the things you want is high-quality back links. There’s no point in having a back link from a low quality site, in fact according to Google it may even be possible to harm your site with a really bad back link. However, I don’t think we need to worry about that from many article directories. In addition if no-one visits the article directory then any article there is unlikely to get syndicated, so there will be no back links for reprinting.
* Another thing you want from an article directory is qualified traffic to your own website. To get that qualified traffic you need the article directory itself to rank well with Google. Which leads us quite nicely to my next question:

What will Google be looking for in 2009

The latest buzzword from Google is “user experience“. Google got to the top of the search engine pile by providing the best results. That’s also how they’re aiming to stay there. Whilst they won’t reveal the secrets behind their search engine rankings they do tell us a lot about the sort of things are looking for. Right now they’re looking for a good user experience.

There has been a lot written about the mechanics of the Google search engine. But unless you actually work for Google most of it is just speculation, so let’s take a commonsense approach.
What makes a good user experience

As far as I can tell there are two major parts to a good user experience.
What your page looks like

Whilst it is true that the Google search engine is basically a robot, which means it can’t actually look at a page in the same way human does, it still has humans programming it, clever humans! So whilst Google won’t decide that your colour scheme is bad or that it doesn’t like the look of your graphics, it will still be analysing the “look” of your page.

Google will have ideas about things like the amount of advertising on a page, the amount of graphics on a page, the amount of multimedia on a page, the amount of links on the page, and, of course, the amount of actual content on your page. They are going to have some way of measuring all of these things and deciding what balance gives a good user experience.
What the content of your page is like

This is where the quality content debate comes in. Whilst Google may not be able to tell if you actually know what you’re writing about, they will have other things that will tell them, or at least give them a good idea, if your content is any good. If people are only on your page for a couple of seconds Google will conclude that your article is rubbish. Google will also be able to look at things like spelling, and grammar.

There are also of whole host of minor considerations, such as where the links on your page lead to.

So now we have an idea of the sort of thing Google may be looking for let’s have a look at some article directories.

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