Halloween at EzineArticles

The EzineArticles Team embraced Halloween with a vengeance this year!

Despite the fact that Halloween is not until tomorrow, many of the good little ghouls and goblins of EzineArticles got into the spirit of the holiday by dressing up for this year’s Spooky Feast and Costume Contest.

In addition to the many wild and crazy costumes, there was an assortment of fiendish foods. And to top it off, Graphic Designer Shaun put his artistic skills to work on an incredible trio of EzineArticles Jack O’ Lanterns!


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Repackaging Articles is Not Derivative Content

In this video, I clear up some common misconceptions about what qualifies as “derivative content”.

A few days ago, you learned about our recent crackdown on derivative content. Unfortunately, many authors became concerned that this new guideline included existing articles from their websites and blogs.

Let me be clear: You SHOULD submit existing articles and content from your website or blog.

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At EzineArticles, we only accept 100% original material for which you have exclusive rights. What does that mean exactly?

In a nutshell, it means the words in your articles are uniquely YOURS (a.k.a. You’ve written the article yourself). If you employ a ghostwriter, it means you are sure no other author is receiving any version of the same material.

Exclusive content is…

  • Associated *only* with your author name
  • Written by you personally from scratch, OR;
  • Ghost written exclusively for you and no one else, from scratch

Exclusive content is not…

  • Re-written from another article
  • A combination of paragraphs, sentences, or article fragments re-arranged or re-worded from multiple sources
  • Private Label Rights content or re-written PLR material
  • Attributed to a company or organization
  • Published under multiple different author names/ pen names
  • Comprised primarily of sourced/ quoted material from others
  • Lifted from the public domain

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Keyphrase Calculation to Include Resource Box

On May 7th of this year, we implemented a change in standards that no longer allowed a keyphrase density of more than 2% of the article body. Today we will be modifying that standard.

Effective immediately, we will be keeping the same 2% keyphrase rejection threshold as before, but will now include the Resource Box in the word count & keyphrase density calculation.

Why? A small minority of members were stuffing their resource box full of keywords and keyphrases because they figured out that we weren’t including the resource box in the 2% threshold calculation.

Here is a real life example of an article that met our standards prior to May 7th of this year:

This 325 word article had the following stats in just the article body:

Keyphrase: debt settlements occurs 9 times (2.7%)
Keyword: debt occurs 17 times (5.2%)

Under the newly implemented standards, the Resource Box is taken into consideration when doing the calculations – this is to ensure that the loophole is closed and that keyword and keyphrase stuffing discontinues. The same article calculated it with today’s calculation method would not meet our new standards:

Keyphrase: debt settlements occurs 14 times (4.3%)
Keyword: debt occurs 35 times (10.8%)

[The images shown here are of the actual article used for this example as viewed by our keyphrase (left image) and keyword (right image) highlighter tools.]

Enough of this crazy keyword loading I say!

If you are new to writing articles and want to know what an acceptable keyword or keyphrase density is, our recommendation is to either forget about this nonsense and write as you normally write. The alternative is to avoid repeating any keyword or keyphrase more than once per 100 words (i.e. 1% keyword or keyphrase density).

UPDATED October 28th 2009: Please post with your real name and a link to your primary website. This is a professional forum.

Derivative Content Be Gone

I just recorded this 4 minute unscripted video to give you some insights into my current thinking on the issues of the past few weeks:

Downloadable Versions:
WMV Format     MOV Format     MV4 Format     MP3 Format

After I finished recording the video, I watched it and made some notes about what I had said. Let me clarify a few points:

We’re not at war with Affiliate Marketers … the more we think about it, we’re really at war with people who submit highly derivative content … You know the type … You’ve seen this type of low value article as it looks like yet another rehashed works of every other similar kind of article instead of the fresh perspective that a true expert in their niche delivers.

Those who write & submit high value exclusive rights content have nothing to worry about.

Are you really an expert author if you write highly derivative content? No.

Ideal members write original content and own the exclusive rights to that content.
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EzineArticles.com #18 of the Top 50 Websites for Professionals

Website Magazine has ranked EzineArticles.com #18 on their list of the “Top 50 Websites for Professionals,” in their November, 2009 issue.

Websites that make the cut, like EzineArticles, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and YouTube, are considered the most important for Web professionals based on their popularity among Web professionals, the business community and consumers.

The accompanying article warns professionals to not “even think about ruling out content and article marketing as a way to shore up brand visibility and drive website traffic.” The article went on to note that success stories like EzineArticles “still generate the respect of many professional and aspiring Web professionals and will continue to do so until content is no longer king.

According to Website Magazine, readers should treat the list “as an important starting guide for your Web Success.”

Follow @WebsiteMagazine on Twitter.

From My Desk to Yours – 3rd Edition

By: Penny, EzineArticles Managing Editor

Definition: Substantive Articles – Articles that contribute to your niche. These include suggestions, ideas, sources of information, insights into the topic and almost anything that will stir discussion.

Your readers should want more! They should comment on your article and offer you suggestions for more articles. If you’re getting this already, you know the meaning of substantive … Keep up the good work!

If you’re not having this dynamic conversation with your readers, then here are some tips that will help you achieve this:

  • It’s Not OK to be Short and Sweet – Saying something is a cool idea without adding the WHY does nothing for the reader. This is not quality – this is easy writing. Your readers will see right through it. Good writing takes hard work and research.
  • Relate Yourself to Your Work – Readers want to know how this has affected you and why it works. Add YOU to the topic by offering tips and further exploring why the tip works. People want MEAT. They want to know they can trust you. You’re the expert, so show them you are. Give them the MEAT.
  • Make Connections with Your Audience – Do your research and ask them what they want. Then deliver this value in articles. This is worthwhile stuff. Readers want to know what they will find valuable TODAY. They don’t want to know what happened in the news last year. Think EVERGREEN!
  • Think 400-600 Words as Your Quality Base – Don’t fill your article body with FLUFF just to reach this word count, but rather allow yourself enough room to explore the topic.
  • You Won’t Know Until You Try – Perfection should always be your goal, but remember to submit and learn along the way. Trust me, you’ll get better with time.

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Something Unexpected

Against the recommendation of our management team, I wanted to share with you something we’re currently dealing with internally in regards to our Premium Membership service level.

We’ve been firing an average of 2 Premium members every day now as not being a good match. In some cases, we’ve had to fire members who were Premium, got fired, bought again and then had to be banned from Premium membership. We’ve had members plead to pay any price for speed or to be unbanned. One guy yesterday offered us $36k to accept his articles on top of our Premium membership fee with one exception: He wanted us to accept derivative content. No way!

Key Issue: Our team has been at great odds with ourselves because we want to deliver excellent service to our Premium members, yet a high percentage of our Premium members are not ideal EzineArticles members. We’ve essentially accelerated the speed at which our worst members can submit low value, thin content into our system.

This further frustrates our Premium members because they are getting downgraded (most are at Basic Plus level), having their articles rejected and are being shown the word “NO” more often than they’d ever care to see.

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Walking the Fine Line on Alcohol Articles

How to make the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable alcohol-related content in your articles.

Addressing the topic of alcohol or alcohol consumption in your articles is one of those subject areas that is fraught with potential misunderstandings. Your reader’s reaction to your article will be influenced by a variety of outside forces including religious upbringing, social status and cultural norms.

Because of this perceptual “gray area,” EzineArticles has created the following set of guidelines to help you better define the line that exists between acceptable and unacceptable article content.

Simply Stated: You are allowed to mention alcohol in your articles, but not allowed to promote the use of alcohol or heavy drinking.

Examples of Article Content that WOULD be Acceptable:

  • Vacation Destinations – For example, fine coconut rum that is well known at a specific travel destination.
  • Father’s Day Gift Suggestions – A tie, golf clubs, gift card, or a fine bottle of whiskey.
  • Supplement to Treat Hangovers – “If you made the mistake of having one too many margaritas the night before, these 5 tips will help you to get back on your feet the next morning …”
  • How to Make a Hat that Holds Alcoholic Beverages – “Pour the beer, wine, or your favorite mixed drink into the covered container and …”
  • Recipes that use Alcohol – “Tequila Lime Chicken”

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Quickly Write a Great Article

Discover how to combine speed AND quality in 5 Easy Steps.

Some writers claim to be able to write a 400-600 word article in 20 minutes or so. For authors who labor over every sentence, claims like these are disconcerting. Are such abilities only in the realm of “natural” writers? Or could anyone learn to write great articles fast?

Actually, it is possible for just about anybody. Writing quickly and effectively has more to do with the ability to focus than it does with natural writing talent.

  1. Put Yourself in the Proper Frame of Mind:
    Eliminate distractions, fire up your computer, get comfy, take a sip of your favorite hot beverage and get ready to write.
  2. Have a Topic in in Mind:
    Writers who are fast generally mull an idea for a few days before ever sitting down at the computer. Because the idea is already formed in their brain, the writing is more like dictation rather than the often painful “writing process.”

    If you don’t have a topic in mind, take 10 minutes or so to brainstorm some ideas and write them down. Then pick one. Pick the easiest one first. It will get you going even faster.

  3. Type, Type, Type:
    Now that you’re ready, type as much as you know as quickly as you can. Type it out as if you were telling a good friend all about it. If grammar is a problem for you, then don’t worry about it right now, you can go back and edit later. Just write as much as you can on the topic.

    Using a timer might help. Place an egg timer or stopwatch on your desk and give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to write as much as you can.

  4. Do It Again:
    Don’t edit anything yet. Writers, when they are “in the zone,” can often write three or four articles at a time in quick bursts. But you have to stay in the zone to do it.
  5. Edit the Articles as a Batch:
    When you’re finished, leave the articles for a while. Come back to them later in the day – or even the next day – and read them over. You might find that some of portions makes no sense at all or that you went off on a tangent. Take a few minutes to revise, cut and edit each article.

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