Are Article Directories Still Effective for Link Building?

By Zac Johnson | Writing

Jan 28

As blog owners there is really nothing we love more than some good quality backlinks coming to our sites. The best backlinks are ones that come naturally from other bloggers and through social media. However not all of us can create incoming links simply by relying on outside bloggers and our site readers.

For times like these many bloggers will look to alternative solutions to build incoming links. One of these alternatives is through article marketing and directories.

The concept behind article directories is simple. Writers sign up to the web site and provide quality content and the article directory makes money from people continually submitting content to the site and having ads displayed on their site. The writer gets to have their article posted and link juice is passed from the article directories (usually high page rank) to their respective blogs or links listed in the articles.

You can see an example of how a typical article directory such as EzineArticles works.

Ezinearticles Directory

It seems like a win-win situation right? Well, it was until Google slapped the heck out of all the article based web sites out.

This used to be a great way to get your site backlinks and to rank higher in the search engines.

You can take a look at some of the top ranked article directories below, along with their respective Page Rank and Alexa scores.

Rank Article Directory Site PR Alexa Follow Status
#1 7 102 No-Follow
#2 6 117 Do-Follow
#3 7 118 Do-Follow
#4 6 204 Do-Follow
#5 6 332 No-Follow
#6 6 613 Do-Follow
#7 7 636 No-Follow
#8 7 771 Do-Follow
#9 8 905 Do-Follow
#10 6 1163 Do-Follow
#11 7 1561 No-Follow
#12 6 1740 No-Follow
#13 2 1910 Do-Follow
#14 3 2055 Do-Follow
#15 6 2096 Do-Follow
#16 5 2598 No-Follow
#17 5 2618 No-Follow
#18 5 2692 No-Follow

So the big question now is “Are Article Directories Still Worth It?

While the majority of site owners and link builders have put article directories on the back burner since Google came out with Panda and Penguin, some marketers are still relying on these old school backlinks.

The benefits in having links in the article directories is that you still have people occasionally reading articles that they find through the search results and it could result in people clicking over to your site. The negatives is that article marketing takes time if you are doing the writing yourself, and they simply don’t provide the link juice they used to, nor do they have the search rankings they used to.

A couple years back I had done some testing with article marketing and while the links did work well for my sites and helping them rank better, I saw very little traffic from the actual links in the article. You can see the stats from my author account below. With 124 live articles through the site, the articles have seen a horrid 2.85% click through rate which resulted in around 277 clicks over the past year to two years.

eZineArticles Performance

So I will leave the answer to the question up to you… are you still using article marketing in your link building efforts?


About the Author

Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at, as well as the founder of You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

James Martell January 29, 2013

Hey Zac, personally I avoid the article directories and “article marketing” in general. I have heard too many sad stories from people who didn’t fair so well using this strategy. I find the strategies that the masses are employing to build backlinks always gets taken out by the big Google.

    Zac Johnson January 29, 2013

    Hey James, thanks for stopping by. Article directories definitely aren’t what they used to be. Right, once Google catches on, the strategies go bad.

After the updates that Google made it’s no longer worth taking the risk. I believe now that content that’s informative and worth sharing is a way better effective than link building. I know everyone wants to get a good position in Google but we can try to come up with good articles not the spammy one’s 😉

Michael Gocia January 29, 2013

i would say yes , article directories are still effective but you should submit 100% unique content to only one high authority article site rather than submitting to same article to many article directories. Just check here some list of high quality article directories list useful

    Zac Johnson January 30, 2013

    I agree if you are going to post to article directories, you might as well make sure they are all original posts. I know a lot of people would post the same articles to EzineArticles, then GoArticles, ArticleAlley and so on…

Sam Sinton January 29, 2013

In my opinion it has been a long time since article directories worked in terms of SEO!

It is much better spending your time developing relationships with those in your niche and guest posting on their websites (not for links, but for traffic – though the links are a good bi-product)

I’m sure most bloggers would appreciate a guest post from Zac Johnson (reputable, with a good writing style) – in fact feel free to write an article for my new project (linked) and I will happily post it.

Author rank is where it is going – Strengthening this is a much better use of your time!

    Zac Johnson January 29, 2013

    Agreed! I much rather write guest blog posts for other sites that actually get read and posts my author bio with the content as well. For the article directories submissions I was outsourcing the article writing and using a pen name. I wouldn’t waste my personal time and writing on these link building / content writing efforts.

John Rampton January 29, 2013

I think article directories and submission sites are still valuable as long as they are in your same niche and those sites haven’t been slapped. If you’re just putting up on those sites to put up on those sites it’s not worth anything. Also, the content that you put up there needs to be relevant and unique.

I think where directories started their downfall is when they started accepting any kind of content (spun, not unique, etc) and it ended up leading to Google devaluing them. There are still some good ones out there. I’d say half on that list above are decent, the other half are not.

    Zac Johnson January 30, 2013

    One could say a link is only as good as the amount of time it takes to create it! (ie: spun and duplicate articles don’t take time, so they are low value)

Bishu January 29, 2013

I am fairly new to the world of blogging. Recently I have created my blog site, and I was thinking about submitting articles to article directories, to provide backlinks to my site. Seeing this post however I am a little discouraged. Any other tips on how to boost traffic on my site ?

Andrew Glenn January 29, 2013

Hi, I’m actually the owner of a small article directory. When I got it I realized right away why Google made their links less valuable. Many people who use article marketing abuse it by spinning articles then spreading spun content around the web. I decided to delete all article from my site and am deciding what to do next.

    Zac Johnson January 30, 2013

    Leave it to the spammers and cheats to ruin a good thing for everyone else.

Robert A. Kearse January 30, 2013

Article marketing will always be worth it, because you should be using it in LIST BUILDING.

9729 article views should have produced a huge increase in opt-in list members!

    Zac Johnson January 30, 2013

    Quality content is quality content. Unfortunately the articles on ezinearticles only have a link at the end of the articles, which are rarely clicked on. They would be much more valuable if they were posted on a blog of their own.

Hadley January 30, 2013

Only a few select high quality article sites are now worth your time. Sites like Squidoo and HubPages are now not really worth your time like they once were.

They used to be quite effective in getting you to rank, now… not so much.

The content should also be 100% original and of a high standard.

    Zac Johnson January 30, 2013

    Definitely. Let’s see what happens with Quora and if their content starts ranking well.

Radha Krishna January 30, 2013

Well, after Google has tweaked its algo, I don;t think these article directories will add any value to our blog…Better ignore them and stick to natural backlinking strategies from inside your blog.

    Zac Johnson January 30, 2013

    Google went on a slapping spree and wiped out much of article marketing business. The sites are still around, but at a fraction of what they used to be. Natural and guest blogging is the way to go… yet I’m sure we will see guest blogging get hit soon too.

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