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Been offered free articles?

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Thursday October 21, 2010 )

Some online retailers are finally getting the idea that providing free, original articles to other sites is a great way to get free coverage and to boost search engine rankings. For the site owner receiving the articles, it can provide more value and bring in more search engine traffic. But the quality of these articles is often lacking and their origins questionable.

I’ve been promoting the article tactic for nearly a decade now. Back in “the day”, you didn’t need to offer original articles to other webmasters, they would quite happily take articles that you had already published.

As search engines and search engine optimization has evolved, site owners are understanding that the real power is in having original content.

Responding to this, some online retailers are hiring content mills to create “original” articles on their sector or products for distribution to other sites. All that is required by the site publishing the article is a link back to the merchant – it’s a fair swap for quality, original content.

… for QUALITY and ORIGINAL content.

Everybody likes to save a buck and that’s no exception in the creation of “original” content. However, what I’m finding is that some of these so called original articles are actually a copy and paste amalgamation of other articles.. sometimes not even content from a merchant’s site, but from their competitors. The articles are threaded together with a bit of original text, but that’s about it.

This not only can create copyright challenge related headaches for all involved, but it defeats the purpose of the exercise as search engines can often pick up on this sort of thing.

If you’re offered free articles, be sure to run a few searches to see if it’s just a compilation of plagiarized materials. Pick uncommon phrases of importance in the content and then run them through Google, encapsulated by quotation marks.

If you have hired someone to write articles for distribution, make sure they are checked for plagiarism – it can save your company embarrassment and legal problems.


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