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Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about link building in his latest Webmaster Help video where a user writes in to ask:
Links from relevant content in article directories — Seen as good or bad? eg. I link my beauty website from a cosmetic surgery article on say, Ezine? Would you do that?
Over time article directories have developed a bad name for themselves. Matt goes on to refresh everyone’s memory as to what an article directory is.
An article directory is a site where you go to write 300 to 500 words of content with a bio at the bottom that contains up to three links with keyword-rich anchor text. Once the article is uploaded users can download it and use it on their own website if they wish. The end goal is that if someone finds the article useful enough to publish on their site, you might get a few inbound links out of it.
In practice, Matt says the content included in these directories tends to be of low quality. That’s putting it lightly, as Matt goes on to say they’re usually full of spammy content that gets sprayed all over the web. “I wouldn’t necessarily count on that being effective,” Matt says.
Google has made some changes to their algorithm that would result in this kind of tactic being much less successful now compared to a few years ago. Matt’s personal recommendation is to not use article directories to build inbound links.
To hear Matt’s full response to the question in his own words, please see the video below: