How do Article Directories Work?

confused-manWhether you’re writing a blog for yourself, or producing content for a client, you’ll undoubtedly either be asked to submit articles to article directories, or you’ll want to submit content to them yourself.  Unfortunately, article directories are one of the most misunderstood tools used by marketers and freelance writers.  There are thousands of article directories out there, some which will accept articles on virtually any topic, and others which are niche specific.  The largest and most popular article directory is, which most people have heard of.   I’ll list a few other popular article directories at the end of this post, in case you need to use them.

What Are Article Directories

Article directories are basically sites which allow all sorts of content to be deposited there so other people can see it.  Each article directory will have their own specific terms of service, but in general they have very similar rules, and are used for the same general purpose. They are specifically created for publishers and webmasters as a place where they can find free content to re-publish on their website or in their ezines, or virtually any other area.  The only ‘cost’ of publishing the content found on ezinearticles, or just about any other article directory, is that you have to include a backlink back to the author’s page.  The specific link to be used will be in the bio-box of the article in the article directory.

Authors who do the actual writing are essential putting their work into article directories in an attempt to get other people to publish it, in exchange for traffic and a backlink.  People who publish the content will be putting it in places where readers will be interested in that specific topic, which means any traffic back from that page will be very targeted (and therefore valuable to the original author).  The backlink on the page where the article is published (NOT the backlink in the article directory) is also valuable, because it is from a site in a related niche, and oftentimes the site is quite popular.

That really sums up the basics of article directories.  The problem, however, is that there is A LOT of misinformation out there, which makes this topic which should be simple and straight forward, quite confusing.  With that in mind, I’m adding on this next section:

What Article Directories ARE NOT

In an attempt to clear up some misinformation about article directories, I’m adding this section about what article directories should not be used for.  I’ll use a format where I list the myth first, and then post the truth on the topic:

Myth #1 – Posting content on an article directory will get you a great backlink to your site because most article directories have a page rank of 3 or higher.

CORRECTION – The backlink from the article directory itself is virtually useless.  In most cases, it is on a site that is not related to your niche (the article directory).  Also, the Page Rank of the page where your article is posted is either PR N/A or PR0, depending on how long it has been up.  The home page of the directory may be PR3+, but that is NOT the same as the Page Rank of the article.

Myth #2 – ezinearticles and other article directories rank well in the search engines, so people will find your article, then click through to your actual site!  Article directories are great for direct traffic!

CORRECTION – You NEVER want your content which is in an article directory to rank in the search engines, especially not above your own site.  If people are finding your content on ezinearticles through the search engines, you’re losing out on traffic.  Even if 20% of people who read it end up clicking through to your site, you’re still losing out on 80% of your traffic.  The ONLY people you really want to find your content in article directories are publishers, and they know how to search within the directory for what they are looking for.

Myth #3 – You can’t publish content to an article directory that has already been published on your site.

Correction – You absolutely can.  On every article directory I’ve ever seen, they have NO rule that it can ONLY be posted on their directory.  That wouldn’t even make sense given the fact that they are putting it out there for others to take and publish.  I always publish content on my site first, then, a week or two later, I publish it on ezinearticles or another directory (if I’m going to use article directories for that article).

Myth #4 – Publishing articles on directories first will help you to get more traffic, and get them accepted into the directories more easily.

Correction – The only thing publishing articles on a directory first will do is give the directory, and anyone else who takes the article from that directory, the opportunity to get the article indexed on their site first.  You should ALWAYS publish articles on your site first, THEN to directories (if you’re using article directories for that article that is).

Myth #5 – You should spin the article before publishing it on a directory so that your page still has unique content.

Correction – You should NEVER spin an article.  I can’t think of any reason this would ever be a good idea.  It doesn’t matter if an article is published exclusively on your page or not.  Look at news sites, they are constantly sharing exact copies of content, and they continue to rank well in the search engines.  This has been a myth of Internet Marketing for far too long.

Those are all the common myths that I can think of.  I’m sure there are more, and if you can think of any, please post in the comments.  I’ll be happy to update this post anytime.

As promised, here is a quick list of the ‘top’ article directories:



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