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Are Article Directories Worth It?

A month ago when I was in an SEO frenzy (alright, I’m still in an SEO frenzy), I decided I wanted to test out some things I had been reading on increasing traffic. It seems like every SEO blog has it’s own “home remedy” on what to do to increase traffic. Y’know, hop on one foot while singing I’m a little tea pot, that sort of thing.

Well, I tried that and it didn’t work.

I decided to stick to some more conventional methods, things like article directories, website directories, those sort of things. I lot of people TALK about these things as being useful but no one ever seems to list the stats…

Given that it’s been about a month I thought it an opportune time to provide an update on my progress as well as a recommendation on whether or not article directories are worth it.

What Are Article Directories?

Essentially article directories are websites that just host articles from other websites. They don’t actually produce their own content, they’re more like a directory…of…articles. You can go on the website and search through tons of different topics. As far as I can tell the perceived benefits to a blogger are two fold:

  1. Get your name out to another source, maybe people see your article, like your content, and go to your blog, thus turning the directory into a kind of referral source.
  2. By providing a link in the author bio you are getting a one way link to your blog, which should help with Google page rank.

I think the main benefit is #2 but I won’t argue that #1 could also be a nice ancillary benefit if it worked out that way.

What I did

I didn’t want to go overboard here because it does take some time but I wanted to give it the old college try. I took three of my articles that I thought represented some decent content. These articles were:

  1. Best Apartment Shares
  2. Best Hostel Websites
  3. My Favorite Plugins

I submitted them to ten article directories, which from a bit of research, I determined were at the very least reputable. They were:


Just to give you a general idea this took about 1.5 hours. You essentially have to register at each site and then fill out the form for the article. In most cases I found that my articles were approved once reviewed (big caveat here). Some of my articles are STILL in review after 30 days and I have noted that below. Let’s take a look at the results, splitting it out by each hypothesis I mentioned above.

What Were The Results?

Hypothesis 1: Submitting articles to directories increases their exposure and provides traffic to my website.

I made a table (sorry for not wanting to make two separate ones) which summarizes”

  • Whether or not the articles I submitted were approved (or if they are still in review, or if they were never submitted)
  • How many views they got ON THE DIRECTORY ITSELF (not referrals, I’ll address that later)
Best Apartment Shares
Best Hostel Websites
My Favorite Plugins  Approved – 22  Approved – 29  Approved – 18  Unknown (website down)  Unknown (website down)  Unknown (website down)  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Approved – 2  Approved – 1  Not Submitted  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Not Submitted  Approved – 15  Approved – 13  Not Submitted  Approved – 2  Approved – 1  Approved – 1  Waiting For Review  Waiting For Review  Not Submitted

Well that was disappointing. After a month over 50% of my articles are STILL IN REVIEW. Of the ones that were approved, only and seem to have any hope of actually sending traffic to my blog. Let’s check Google Analytics and see if I can find anything…

referral traffic

Hello little Ezinearticles referral – are you lost?

On further inspection I found 1 visit from (this was consistent with what they reported, which was one click on the best apartments article) and 0 visits from

Given the sorry state of my article statuses as well as the poor performance of the ones I actually can report on, I am going to consider Hypothesis 1 DISPROVEN.

But what about hypothesis 2?

Hypothesis 2: By providing a link in the author bio you are getting a one way link to your blog, which should help with Google page rank.

I was pretty skeptical of hypothesis 1 from the the get go. My main hopes are in hypothesis 2. Most of these article directories have pretty high page ranks (4+). Let’s step back for a minute though and consider how this would work.

In my articles say on Ezinearticles:

  • I have a link to our homepage in the author bio.
  • It’s a dofollow link.
  • The page has a page rank of 6 (basically this is Ezinearticles’ page rank flowing through to its subpages).

This is definitely a recipe for success in terms of one way link building, so I moved forward in my search.

I checked my Still 79 sites linking in and none of them from the directories. I checked my page rank. Still 1, as it was before I submitted articles. I checked Google Webmaster.

found em (forgive me, no table): – 1 inbound link – 2 inbound links – 2 inbound links – 2 inbound links

Alright, so I did find a total of 5 inbound links via Google Webmaster, but to be fair, Google Webmaster also claims that I have 7.6k inbound links (and yet our page rank is still a whopping 1 – not sure how to explain that one). At the end of the day, there were still no noticeable improvements in anything that mattered. I’m not going to say that hypothesis 2 is busted. The articles are on the web, they have the link back, it is being picked up (at least by someone), and the page rank is considerable. What I am going to do is give my two cents:

Conclusion: No – Article submission websites are NOT worth it.

I realize the jury is still out on many of these websites as half of my articles are still in review, but frankly, that’s also part of my point. In that 1.5 hrs I could have written a nice post, maybe had it guest posted and experienced immediate, tangible results in terms of more subscribers, views, and still achieved some sort of a page rank benefit. Article directories just don’t seem efficient and frankly I’m a little annoyed at how long the review process is. Invest your time somewhere else, like hopping on one foot and singing I’m a little tea pot.

However, if you are interested in article directories, here is the list that I gathered (NOTE: I did not submit to all of these).

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8 Responses to Are Article Directories Worth It?

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with article directories. You may be familiar with this post on SEO Moz on SEO tips for travel bloggers, but if not check it out.

    Curious Nomad July 20, 2012 at 3:02 AM
    • Hadn’t seen that article but it was a good read. SEOmoz always write quality material – thanks for registering with the site!

      Dave and Vicky July 20, 2012 at 1:22 PM
  2. I have submitted a few articles and have not yet seen any increase in traffic or PageRank, but there is also the possibility that it will show up sometime in the future.

    PageRank is a mysterious thing, I used to be PageRank 4 on my website, but have dropped recently to PR 2. I have over 40k inbound links according to Webmaster tools, strange stuff.

    PBScott July 20, 2012 at 4:59 AM
    • You are correct. I was reading more about page rank and the sense I get is that Google updates Page Rank about every 3 months (though internally it might be updated faster). There should be another update in early August, and I will check then and update this post if I see any changes.

      Dave and Vicky July 20, 2012 at 1:21 PM
  3. Great article. I wish I had read this article a month ago. I spent so much time informing myself about the different article directories, how to spin articles and much more. So I finally decided to create unique articles without spinning them. At the end of two weeks, I had about 35 articles posted in the exact same article directories like you mentioned in the article. What happened? NOTHING! I’m still a bit mad about the results. I wish I had spent my time elsewhere. I think that google will continue to devaluate those directories because they simply don’t fit into the concept of relvancy. Thanks. Phil

    Phil July 25, 2012 at 8:56 AM
    • Sorry I couldn’t write it quicker – I had to go through the same experience myself (granted, much less articles) than you to know for sure!

      Dave and Vicky July 25, 2012 at 10:30 AM
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