Making Free Content Articles
Free content articles are
provided to publishers in exchange for a bio or comment about the
author, and a link back to the authorís website.
Both publisher and author generally consider this to be a
fair trade. The
writer gets published, and the publisher gets something without
paying for it.
All is well and good with this
relationship except for one thing.
Search engines will index everything on your website, but
reprinted articles may not carry the same weight as if they were
an original publication. Itís hard to get these articles listed in search engines.
They can fill out your site, but chances are they wonít
bring in many visitors because they are never seen in the search
Search Engines and Duplicate
Most search engines include what
are referred to as ďduplicate content filtersĒ.
The purpose of these is to prevent 1000ís of the same
article from showing up for the same search.
While most freebie articles arenít a huge problem, other
articles such as those provided through syndication sources like
UPI and AP can be replicated 10ís of thousands of times in a
Free articles manage to get
caught up in this mix and often therefore, do not help to bring in
changing the authorís article is simply not an option.
By agreement, you are required to keep it as written.
Getting Around Search Engine
There are three ways around this
depending upon which direction you want to go and how your site is
laid out. Each of
these will directly or indirectly get your articles indexed and
help build your traffic:
The Summary Page method
Ė I happened to recently stumble along this method quite
accidentally, and in fact it happens to be the easiest way.
You donít avoid the duplicate content penalty, but you do
get around it and it is assured every time.
While leaving the actual article
alone and accepting the fact that the duplicate filter will not
rank the article itself, you can create a preceding contents page
for a group of articles that will not trip the duplicate filters.
Therefore, if you had five articles on developing a
business plan, a contents page about business plans would list and
link to each article and provide a keyword heavy sentence or two
about each of the articles. It
adds one more click to the readerís task, but the ability to
scan for the exact nature of each article can more than make up
for the minor inconvenience.
The only disadvantage to this
method is only your content index page is ranked, not the articles
The content splitter method
Ė This only works with long articles, but it really does work
well. Letís assume
that you have a free article that is 4500 characters in length.
In anyoneís book this is a good size article and one that
well qualifies for the content splitter method.
There is no such thing as ďan
average page of contentĒ, but a reasonable page size is about
1500 characters long. For the purposes of comparison, the text on this page is
5524, characters, counting spaces.
With that in mind, take the article and split it up into
2-3 pages and link the three together with an into sentence in
italics indicating that the content has been split.
When this is done, search engines only see part of the text
and it does not accurately compare with an indexed full version of
the original. Sometimes
the first page might catch the duplicate filter, but it is rare
that any of the subsequent pages will.
The warning about this is that
you must include the credits and links at the bottom of all pages.
Thatís not a huge deal, but one that must be kept up
with. The advantage
of this method is that you get 3 pages for the price of one.
That means 3 times more pages in search engines and 3 times
the ability to have the article come up on search engines.
If someone hits a second or third page, as long as they
have a link to page one found on that page, most are fine with it.
The trick to good ranking is that
you must use your H1 and H2 tags effectively.
All pages should carry the same H1 tag (title of the
article), but split the text at a logical breakpoint when going
from page to page. Additionally,
you should add an H2 tag paragraph title that includes one or more
of the keywords.
The editorís note method
Ė While keeping the article the same, if a publisher precedes
each article with about two paragraphs of his own comment in a
different size font and titled ďEditorís NoteĒ, this is
often enough to turn the article into an original where search
engines are concerned. You
can add comment about what the reader will find in the article and
summarize it. A
minimum of two paragraphs seems to be required.
The warning here is that you
should not publish the article until you have provided the
editorís note. Otherwise,
the article may initially trigger the duplicate filter and the
filter will never release it.
The editorís note method also
gives you the opportunity to add paragraphs that are particularly
heavy with keywords and thus increase your chances of being found.
For those that are willing to write a bit, this is an ideal
method for increasing your traffic.
Each of these methods have been
fully tested and found to be very effective in getting new
articles indexed in a way that brings readers in.
are also welcome to reprint this article so long as you provide
the main page of our marketing section found at http://www.seniormag.com/marketing/index.htm
and make the link live.