Tag Archives: content writer

What are the best article directories for SEO content writers?

London, Petrie and British Library

Free Online Library is the best!

In a previous article, we talked about using article directories to build quick and easy linkbacks.  Two of the most popular are Ezine Articles (ezinearticles.com) and Free Online Library (www.thefreelibrary.com).  Of these, which is the best to use?

There is no hard and fast way to evaluate directories, and answers will vary depending on which SEO content writer you ask.  Nevertheless, in this article, I’ll share the reasons behind my personal preference for Free Online Library.

Ezine Articles

Ezine Articles is a popular directory that publishes everything under a Creative Commons license.  Ezines was hit hard by the Google’s Panda update, when Google updated its search algorithm, but is still fairly popular and functional.  In my experience, however, Ezines has been disappointing.

For one thing, Ezine has published my work relatively slowly, as late as seven days after submission.

For another thing, my articles have been plagiarized numerous times, showing up on websites that give me no credit or linkbacks.  Part of the concept of Ezine Articles is that people can grab articles there quickly and easily and without having to contact the author for permission.  However, Ezine posts specific rules for how to do that.  If they are not followed, that’s plagiarism.  Specifically, articles are supposed to be reproduced as is, including all links.  That should include the by-line, if there is one, as well any linkbacks.  In every case I’ve discovered so far, both by-line and linkback have been neglected.  Since Ezine assumes no responsibility for handling such cases of plagiarism, it’s left up to you to resolve.

For another thing, Ezine Articles’ Page Rank is 6, which isn’t bad, but it is less than that of Free Online Library.  The higher the PR, the better the linkback, and that’s the name of the game.

Free Online Library

After explaining the issues with Ezine Articles, it won’t take much to praise the virtues of Free Online Library.  A simple bullet-point list will suffice:

  • Publication is fast, within two days in my experience.
  • I haven’t experienced any cases of plagiarism, though I’m sure it can still occur.
  • Free Online Library has a higher Page Rank at PR 7 instead of Ezine’s PR 6.

Add to that the concept of Free Online Library: an archive of information.  Rather than the blatantly commercial model of Ezine Articles, Free Online Library just feels more egalitarian and worth supporting.  Of course, that also places a certain responsibility on yourself to avoid abusing it.  Submit quality content only, and good sites like this will be able to stick around (okay, soapbox speech finished!)

Which is better for SEO content writers?

Yep, it’s Free Online Library all the way.  I’m sure you can find plenty who disagree, but based on my experience the one to go with is Free Online Library.

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Bad examples of anchor text from an SEO content writer

Ted Koppel 1976

No, not you, Ted Koppel. Wrong kind of anchor.

The last article explained how to use anchor text to build linkbacks.  Now, let’s make that a little more concrete by looking at some good and bad examples of anchor text.

You see a lot of random anchor text on websites.  Don’t do this!  Here are some bad examples of anchor text usage.

Why shouldn’t an SEO content writer use anchor text like this?

What’s wrong with these examples?

In the first example, the anchor text is “here”, which says nothing to search engines about the client’s site.  Bad, bad, bad.

The second example uses the client’s URL as anchor text.  Again, this misses the opportunity to tell search engines that it’s relevant to travel advice.

In the final example, the anchor text includes the keyword, but includes a lot of other junk too.  It effectively makes the whole phrase “the best place for travel advice” into one big keyword.  How often will users search using that exact phrase?  Not as often as with the simple two-word phrase “travel advice.”

Now, I threaten to get myself into trouble here, because there are times when you do want longer, less common phrases.  They’re called “long-tail” search terms, and they are relevant to the customer buying cycle, but that’s an advanced keyword research concept and can be safely ignored for our introductory purposes here.  For the most part, as an SEO content writer, you should stick to just your keyword as anchor text.

More things to avoid in anchor text

Be careful not to be deceptive in using anchor text.  If the site has little to do with travel advice, that’s bad etiquette.  Likewise, if the context of the link suggests something other than being taken to the client’s site, that’s bad too.  For example, if a definition of the keyword is suggested, and then user gets transported to a commercial site, that’s deceptive.  Don’t do it.

Another thing usually good to avoid is building linkbacks within the body of the article.  The risk here is that the article will turn into one big advertisement.  Article directories usually want solid, relatively impartial content.  It depends on the site that publishes your work, but most prefer you to save the linkback for the resource box at the end.  Doing otherwise might get your article rejected.

Good use of anchor text

As stated in the previous article (but which cannot be overstated), remember the following points to make the best use of anchor text:

  • anchor text is what’s displayed to the user as the hyperlink
  • the words of the anchor text tell search engines something about the site to which they link
  • use the keyword as anchor text
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How does an SEO content writer use anchor text in linkbacks?

Anchor at Victoria dock, Caernarfon

With anchor links, size does not matter!

In the last two articles here and here, we’ve been talking about linkbacks and have made a number of key points:

  • linkbacks point back to the client’s website
  • the higher the PR of the linking site, the better
  • article directories provide a quick and easy way to build linkbacks
  • put your linkback in the resource box at the end

Now, how do you actually create a linkback?  It may sound straightforward, but there are crucial considerations.  It takes a little more thought than just slapping a URL on a page.  One of the most important considerations is anchor text.

What’s anchor text, and why should an SEO content writer care?

The anchor text is the word or phrase that is displayed on the page.  It’s also what the user clicks on to activate the link.  For example, in the following link, what do you think is the anchor text?

Click here for more travel advice.

That’s right, the anchor text is “travel advice.”  If you hover over the link, you can see the URL to which it points is http://www.southeastasiatraveladvice.com.  That’s the client’s site, which now enjoys a linkback.

Are the words you use as anchor text important?

What you write as anchor text is very important.  This is because search engines assume that the anchor text’s words say something about the site to which they link.  In our example, the anchor text is “travel advice.”  When search engines see this, they recognize that the site must have something to do with “travel advice.”  Thus, it judges the site more relevant for that keyword, and places it higher in search results.

So, given this information, what’s best to use as anchor text?

Use your keyword as anchor text

The whole point of your article is to optimize the client’s site for a given keyword.  Thus, you should use that keyword as the anchor text of your linkback.  That way, search engines will understand that the client’s site is relevant for that keyword.

Key points

To make the best use of anchor text, remember the following points:

  • anchor text is what’s displayed to the user as the hyperlink
  • the words of the anchor text tell search engines something about the site to which they link
  • use the keyword as anchor text

By incorporating these points into writing published on high-PR sites, your linkbacks will send your client’s site rocketing to the top of search results.

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How does an SEO content writer use article directories to build linkbacks?

USAK Library

Article directories are like libraries of content.

Last time we talked about linkbacks, which are hyperlinks that point back to the client’s website from other sites.  The best way to build linkbacks is probably to establish mutually-beneficial relationships with other sites that will want to promote you.  That takes time and investment, though.  So how do you build a bunch of linkbacks quickly and easily?

That’s where article directories come in.

What’s an article directory, and why should an SEO content writer care?

One way to quickly and easily build quality linkbacks is by submitting your writing to article directories.  These are sites that publish writing in order to archive it or distribute it to other sites.  For example, Ezine Articles is popular, though I prefer Free Online Library.

Unlike getting published in a magazine or newspaper, article directories generally offer minimal rejection and quick publication.  As long as your article conforms to their guidelines, your article has a very good chance of being published.  Some do get rejected, but relatively few compared to magazines or newspapers.  Publication is also often quick, generally within two weeks, and sometimes even same-day.

The best part is that good article directories have a PR around six or seven, which isn’t bad.  That means the linkback in your article will carry weight.

Where to place the linkback: in the resource box

A crucial virtue of article directories is that they provide a resource box at the end where you can link back to your client’s site.  The resource box is usually the place where you put an author bio or further resources for the reader to check out.

For reasons of etiquette, the linkback is best placed in the resource box, rather than in the body of the article.  Putting it in the body undermines the objectivity of the article, and threatens to make the whole thing look like an advertisement.  It is more acceptable to put it at the end in the resource box.  Some article directories have specific rules about this, so read their guidelines carefully.

Whatever you do, be sure the article directories gives you that resource box and that it appears with the article on the same page as a live link.  Without that linkback, your work is all for naught.  You should also make sure you can use the article’s keyword as anchor text, which is the topic of the next article.

Key points

So, to sum up, the key things to remember are these:

  • article directories provide a quick and easy way to build linkbacks
  • put your linkback in the resource box at the end

In the next article, I’ll explain how to use anchor text to your advantage in link building.

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How does an SEO content writer use linkbacks?

Link by Alexis renee Mistrot

No, not this Link.

One of the most important tools of an SEO content writer is the linkback.  Through judicious use of this technique, a few well-placed articles can rocket a site to the top of search results.

What’s a linkback, and why should an SEO content writer care?

A linkback is a link that points back to the client’s website.  When other websites link to a site, search engines take that as a sign that the site is important and relevant.

This is one of the major metrics used by search engines.  Some SEO experts even suggest it may be the most important one, because it is the most difficult to control and thus manipulate to one’s advantage.  However, we know how to work this angle.

Linkback… “back” from where?

“Back” from other websites.  The more important those websites, the better.  All links are good, but some are better than others.  Sites with high authority are best.  Authority is the ability of a site to rank well in search engines.  That depends on many factors, of course, but a simple way to get a rough idea is by its Page Rank, or PR.  You can determine a site’s PR for free by going to Google Page Rank Checker.  All sites start at a PR of zero, and the highest a site can get is PR 10.

In the SEO game, you want to build links from sites with a high PR.  If search engines see that important sites link to your client’s site, they assume the client’s site must be important too.

How to use linkbacks

By now it should be fairly obvious that the way to use linkbacks is by incorporating them into content published on sites with a high PR.  That’s the gist of it.  There are special techniques to do that, though, and in the next article we’ll talk about how to use article directories to create quick and easy linkbacks.

Key points

For now, the key points to remember are:

  • linkbacks point back to the client’s website
  • the higher the PR of the linking site, the better
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Is keyword density important for an SEO content writer?

Pub density in England

Are you mapping your keyword density as carefully as these pubs in England?

Keyword density is a term that gets bandied about a lot in SEO circles.  Some say it’s the key, others that it’s bunk.  So, what’s the truth?  Is it important for an SEO content writer?

Wait… what’s keyword density, and why should an SEO content writer care?

First, let’s be clear about what it means.  Keyword density refers to the ratio of a given keyword to the total amount of text in its article.  For example, if the keyword phrase “Victorian architecture” appeared four times in a one-hundred word article, the ratio would be 4:100, or 4%.  That’s its density.

There was a time when putting the same keyword a zillion times on a page would send the page straight to the top of the search engines.  But that hasn’t been the case since the dinosaur days.  Search engines have gotten smart, and nowadays they are sure to penalize you for doing that.  It’s called “keyword stuffing”, and you should absolutely avoid it.

Those who say keyword density is important generally recommend a density of around 4-8%.  Some say as much as 20%.  You can find tools online that will analyze your density for you and make recommendations.


Many veteran SEO professionals ignore keyword density completely.  Check out the enlightening discussion here.

Why do they disavow density?  Well, they either believe it’s not a very important metric used by search engines anymore, or that it was a myth from the start.  The only thing it has going for it is that it’s a pretty straightforward concept, which means your non-expert clients can easily wrap their heads around it.

So if keyword density isn’t important, than what is?

In place of density, think in terms of the following three concepts: keyword presence, keyword placement, and term weight.

Keyword presence

First, does the keyword actually appear somewhere in the article?  That’s all keyword presence means.  It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how easily you can write your masterpiece and completely miss your keyword.  It does have to be in there somewhere.

Keyword placement

Second, where does the keyword show up?  Keyword placement refers to the locations of the keyword.  Search engines scan your article starting at the top of its structure: the title.  It also looks at section headers, and body text starting from the beginning.  The earlier the keyword appears in that process, the better.  So definitely, definitely, definitely put the keyword in the title.  Put it in your section headers too, and put it in your body text – the earlier the better.

Term weight

Finally, is the keyword common or uncommon?  Term weight indicates how common the term is.  The less common it is, the heavier the weight, and the easier your article will rise to the top of the search engine results.  Why?  Because there’s less competition for an uncommon term.

As an SEO content writer, you probably won’t be choosing your keywords; rather, your client will give them to you.  So there’s not much you can do in your article to affect term weight.  However, it will dictate how strategic you’ll have to be in order to get the same results.  The lower the term weight, the more clever you’ll have to be.

So… important or not?

So, is keyword density important?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  You’d do best to concentrate instead on keyword presence, keyword placement, and term weight.  With these three, your writing will get the upper hand.

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