Search Engine Algorithm Changes

From Chris Knight, CEO EzineArticles.com

Last month, we served 57 million unique visitors. Next month, that number may be in half. UPDATED March 14th 2011 2pm: We continue to serve in excess of 1 million daily visitors daily.

Year after year since our inception in 1999, we’ve made tough decisions to ensure that we only accept high quality original articles that are exclusive to the EzineArticles Expert Authors who wrote them. In addition to the 70+ full-time people on our team who impact every single article published (quality control, link quality checking, landing page quality scoring, spam abuse detection, etc), every article is double-human reviewed by hand (primary Editor and a QC Editor).

The dual-human review process is designed to eliminate the 1-4% error rate our primary Editors may make in the subjective decision-making process … which over-time results in our members seeing a more consistent article review process and our QC Editors (our most experienced Sr. Editors) catching/deflecting low-value thin content that should never be published. We’re not perfect and we’ve also got work to do.

We’ve been both quietly and publicly at war with a small percentage of our membership who aim to use our site to game the search engines with what we refer to as “article vomit” or thinly-crafted software-spun articles. At the core of our ability to keep highly-derivative content out, we use our own proprietary software that identifies article submissions that should never be accepted so our human editors don’t make the mistake of accepting an article that on its own merit looks fine to accept but compared algorithmically against our millions of published and rejected article history, doesn’t make the grade.

This past Thursday, Google announced an algorithm change to 11.8% of their U.S. search query results. Their target was aimed at content farms that are typically low-quality sites, sites with only copied content and sites with low value content.

While we adamantly disagree with anyone who places the “Content Farm” label on EzineArticles.com, we were not immune to this algorithm change. Traffic was down 11.5% on Thursday and over 35% on Friday. In our life-to-date, this is the single most significant reduction in market trust we’ve experienced from Google.

Google has a lot of smart PhD types working on this problem that I believe is not over by a long-shot. Reason: If you do a query for popular terms that we formerly ranked very high with, instead of an EzineArticles result, you may find low-quality sites that deliver even lower value to the user than our own members’ content! This is frustrating for sure.

Why did EzineArticles do so well in the years leading up to Thursday?

Simple: Our Expert Authors DELIVERED great content that caused visitors to either click on a link back to their website or on an advertisement (how EzineArticles stays free to our members) instead of bouncing back to Google or any search engine to look for a better result. If a traffic referral to EzineArticles failed to deliver in a split second what the user was looking for, they would bounce back instantly to Google and Google could use this bounce-back data to determine if value was delivered or denied, and adjust their search results accordingly.

We’ve had a day to digest a serious amount of data to determine which series of actions we’re going to take to move past this issue and re-earn market trust with those who deliver us a significant amount of our traffic.

Here is a short-list of actions that are either already in progress or will be shortly:

  • Our proprietary anti-derivative software has been modified to reject another 10+% of article submissions that are not unique enough. This will result in more false positive on legit content, but that’s a risk that we feel is necessary.
  • Our WordPress Plugin will sunset this week and we will no longer accept article submissions via wordpress blogs directly.
  • We’ll be evaluating ways to reduce the number of ads per page to improve the perceived user experience and improve our members CTR (Click Thru Rate) for the traffic delivered to our members.
  • [UPDATED: Word count raised to 400 words.] We’re considering raising the minimum article word count to 400. Currently we give less exposure to articles that are between 250-400 words, but we still accept them. Thin content often comes under 400 words; even though I have seen many high quality articles in the 250-400 range, it is rare. 600-850 words may become the new normal with 400 being the minimum.
  • Our keyphrase and keyword density limits are already thought to be too intense by many, but it’s clear to us that spammers can be identified by statistically unusual keyphrase limits. Watch for the bar to be raised here.
  • Certain categories that are typically filled with thin, spammy content (men’s issues, reverse cell phone lookup, acai berry (which we took a harder-line position against last year) etc.) will experience an ‘over-correction’ by our team. Many thousands of articles were removed Friday and potentially tens of thousands may be removed as we complete our sweeps.
  • Expect to see our current article rejection rate (40.6%) climb by another ~20%.
  • Articles that are advertorials were already targeted by our team, but they will now get a hyper-focus to reject.
  • The rel=”NOFOLLOW” attribute will be added to all links on all articles very soon. Currently, it’s included in the article body of any links but now it’ll also be included in the resource box. Updated 7:30am CST Sunday: I’m less certain this move will change anything, so for the sake of this discussion, let’s remove it from the table. I will comment further below.
  • Articles submitted are currently required to be exclusive to you (ie: Our software and human Editors won’t find your article submission on the Internet under someone else’s or no name) but they do not need to be exclusive to EzineArticles.com. We may change our position on this and begin rejecting content that is not unique to EzineArticles.com alone. More research is needed as this would be a radical change… and one that we will invest a serious amount of market study/discussion with our members before moving ahead.

How long will that take before traffic recovers and climbs again? I have no idea. I’m hopeful that Google won’t allow sites with even lower quality content to take the positions that our members previously had occupied.

I know many will be as upset as we are about this. I’m going to leave the comments on this blog post open so you can share your thoughts and ideas for how we should respond to this event. I read every single comment and appreciate your suggestions.

We are committed to being the best platform that helps you share your expertise in the form of short, informative, high-quality original articles that can attract traffic & media exposure back to you and your website or blog.

The end goal is to rebuild the market trust lost on Thursday and to reiterate with action our commitment to delivering our tens of millions of monthly end-users with a positive experience every single time they surf EzineArticles.com.

426 Comments


1
Lee Hager writes:

In my opinion, anyone who writes quality articles has nothing to fear if your guidelines become more stringent. The more readers feel confident that EzineArticles presents only the highest quality, the better they’ll feel about using the site as their information source. However, I think limiting article submissions to Ezine only might discourage some of us from submitting as many articles. I have niche sites where my articles appear, and I really appreciate being able to post articles to niche readers and offer my articles to a more general audience. Thanks for the fantastic job you’re doing. I really appreciate it.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:01 PM

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Dimi writes:

He’s trying to make the content better. But it has nothing to do with good content vs bad content. Google is drawing swords on the website format in general.

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Annie Wieg writes:

I think you may be missing what is going on. The new algorithm changes are not just a change to EzineArticles, but to every article directory and content farm. They have lumped Ezine into the same quality category as directories that allow repeat submission and “lifting”. Ezine is a super high quality site, but everyone got their teeth kicked in Friday, including the high quality sites. Ezine now has to separate itself from the rest so it can reclaim its position. It must reaffirm its high standards to the Google folks and institute evening higher standards, including, possibly, single submission. Your other sites are doomed if they don’t do the same. Your niche sites will NEVER be found. I can almost guarantee it. The moral of the story; only unique content will drive the SERPs. I think the backlink story is yet to be told.

Chris Knight, good luck. I love Ezine and many people have built a career on you site. I personally will hang with you until this is settled.

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Jim Sanders writes:

As I’ve noted further down the page, it’s NOT just content farms, and if it was content farms in totality, then EVERY page in them would have been hit. If you read further down, you see that some are doing OK, and I’m seeing that other places where others say they’re doing OK as well. So there IS a reason pages got knocked out that did, but domain labeling wasn’t it.

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2
Susan Greene writes:

Chris,

Can you explain what you mean in the second to last bullet about the no-follow attribute? Does this mean that the links in the author bio won’t be noted by Google and therefore won’t help with search engine ranking?

If so, I’m wondering why you would make that change. Those links are a major reason why many of us choose to publish articles here.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:03 PM

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Susan,

My gut feeling is that those links have carried no real value in at least 2-3 years now.

I have no data to back it up. I do however know of plenty of competitor websites that have implemented nofollow already.

I’d hope the main reason most submit their articles to us is to share in the millions of clicks we send to our members’ websites for free each month and for media exposure. I’m sure some of our members hope to gain search engine findability or visibility with their published articles but that isn’t a benefit we’ve advertised since 2005.

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Lars writes:

I strongly disagree. If anything, EzineArticles links have carried more and more weight in recent years, possibly because of your ever-evolving standards and systems.

Anyone who really follows SEO closely and has a built a business around article marketing will corroborate that claim.

And this is exactly as the way it is supposed to be. Quality, trusted resources for links obtained with editorial intent is exactly what Google wants. And if you raise your standards, that will only increase their value to Google and to your writers. Everyone wins.

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Daniel Deyette writes:

Christopher – I strongly think the no-follow addition is a GOOD idea. As you say, the links carry little juice anyway… Also I’m in 100% support of your plan to reduce what you accept. I hope that EzineArticles remains an excellent exposure opportunity in the future, and that these changes let it grow to be the amazing wikipedia-like content repository of good stuff it once was. Please delete the article that Time Magazine is bugging you for. It’s a poorly written one.http://techland.time.com/2011/02/28/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-googles-farmer-search-engine-upgrade/

Also, implement “like” buttons (not facebook ones) so *users* can judge the quality of material. If real human beings, the end user are judging the quality of the material, and you could throw out articles that constantly got bad votes, i’d personally be coming to EzineArticles more often.

I post for clients on EzineArticles all the time, and once or twice I have for myself, but all is not well in article marketing since this penalty, and it’s really going to be good for some and bad for others.

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Susan Greene writes:

Before you make that nofollow change, please research its potential impact. I don’t agree with your gut feeling that those links have no value. I’d be interested to have other SEO types weigh in.

Yes, you’re correct that some of your competitor websites have implemented nofollow already, and that’s why many of us copywriters have prioritized our submissions and those of our clients to EzineArticles.com. You provide not only excellent visibility but also link juice that helps our search engine ranking. It’s the one-two punch that makes your article directory especially appealing. I hope that isn’t about to change.

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nassorn writes:

I agree with Susan comments.

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Cindy writes:

I agree also. It was the first thing I thought when I read it. When people are just trying to “sell” something they wouldn’t care about no follow. But when you’re trying to build authority for your site it’s very important.

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Mako writes:

EZA doesn’t exist to provide authority to your website. It exists to provide information that is beneficial to the READERS.

Stop looking at EzineArticles as your personal ranking tool, and start thinking about how to help readers solve problems FIRST…not just funnel a herd of traffic to your blog.

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Susan Greene writes:

Mako,

Not sure what Pollyanna planet you’re from but let me assure you, EzineArticles does not exist “to provide information that is beneficial to the readers.” EzineArticles is a business, not a government organization or charity. EzineArticles was created to make its owner(s) money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re a bunch of do-gooders.

By the same token, the majority of us who publish on EzineArticles don’t do so to benefit readers. We too are running businesses, and EzineArticles helps our own websites get traffic and ultimately sales. Again, there’s nothing wrong with having a business and trying to make money. In doing so, we generate quality content that benefits readers, but that’s not our primary motivation. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

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Cindy Francis writes:

Well said Susan!!!!

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Daniel Deyette writes:

Hilarious to see such ignorance, good laugh for my morning cup of coffee. How long will those links be valuable from a site that only serves to make people money that has no other value?

How long will a site like that rank and continue to provide you with traffic? If your content has no value stop filling the internet with it! Get off our planet please.

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Susan,

Wow, I thought we were on the same page until I read what you just wrote that also got quoted by WebProNews:
http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2011/02/28/ezinearticles-aims-to-get-rankings-back-following-google-algorithm-update

How are we suppose to raise quality when you write crap like this Susan? I just don’t understand.

UPDATED: If you are not here to create high value content that benefits our and your readership, then we have nothing to discuss nor are you an idea EzineArticles author. I stopped to go review your articles to see if you walk the talk or are just frustrated. Your articles http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Susan_Greene clearly benefit our/your readership which makes me still confused why you’d say what you said.

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Susan Greene writes:

Chris,

We ARE on the same page! I was shocked to see myself quoted on that other site.

My comment was made here as a reply to MAKO who wrote that you existed to “help readers solve problems.” He didn’t seem to understand that EzineArticles is a business, not a charity, philanthropic group or government organization.

Yes, EzineArticles and the authors who contribute to the site DO want to provide quality content and help readers solve problems. Of course!

But we’re also all in business. That’s the point I was making.

Chris, you would not be placing those articles or running this company if there was no money in it. I certainly wouldn’t be writing articles if it didn’t translate into traffic for my website, which ultimately increases my sales. Like I said, we’re all in business. Nothing wrong with that.

I implore you, Chris, to please scroll up approximately 4 comments above to Mako’s post and then review my complete response and hopefully, the point I was trying to make will seem clearer.

Again, just so you know, I have been following this whole discussion and cheering you on. I think you have done a remarkable job of responding not only to Google’s actions but also to all the feedback you’re getting on this blog.

I am sorry if my comments, taken out of context and reprinted on another site without my knowledge, have caused you to think I’m bad mouthing you and EzineArticles. My comments were misinterpreted.

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Anthony Godinho writes:

I read that article as well and figured that Susan’s comments were misinterpreted — that’s the way I saw it. I agree, ultimately the majority of us are here for some sort of ROI, including EzineArticles.com.

I’m positive that after the dust has settled, good things will come out from all this. I just can’t stand the personal attacks on some of these comment — why can’t people just have a good debate and discussion without getting personal? The fallen nature of human being, eh? Peace! :)

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Sonny Lanorias writes:

I second the motion.

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Marisa Wright writes:

I echo the other comments.

I’m willing to bet a large percentage of Ezine writers are here because the links are “do follow”. This is not Wikipedia – we’re not writing out of the goodness of our hearts, we expect something in return!

There are plenty of sites where I can write to earn revenue share. I earn nothing on EzineArticles, so the site must offer something else to make the effort worth my while.

We already know that over time, the value of EzineArticles has been devalued as more and more people strip our resources boxes off our articles before publishing, so fewer of our links are making it out into the big wide world.

Even a few “do follow” backlinks are worthwhile, so I still have articles on EzineArticles. If they become no follow, I’ll be taking them elsewhere where I can get some recompense.

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Nate writes:

Chris no disrespect but links from this site carry a good amount of weight and that is in large part because you are dofollow. I know this personally from testing and every other fulltime seo I know is well aware of this as well. Ezine links help rank sites.

No offense, but don’t forget that the authors of a lot of your articles don’t care too much whether the article ranks high or is even read at all. If it’s indexed then it’s a dofollow link from a high pr site. End of story for a lot of people.

A lot of us seos try to give you our best stuff because we know our links are worth something here. Not always true, but more so than with a fly by night article directory that degrades into a link farm and falls apart inside of two years. When it comes down to it, EzineArticles is one of the best, if not the top high-PR dofollow article directories on the web. Good strong long-term links.

If you want better quality do what you need to do, but nofollowing isn’t necessarily going to boost content quality – and for a lot of seos it will lower it because they’ll start thinking, ‘eh, it’s just a nofollow link anyway, if it doesn’t get accepted it’s no big deal.’ Again, not true for all your authors but true for many.

Good luck bro

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George writes:

I also agree with Susan. Having a dofollow tag is one of the main consideration of many writers submitting their articles to your site. Should you institute a nofollow policy, it may greatly affect article submissions. Lesser article submissions doesn’t necessarily mean higher quaility.

I for one would gladly accept any decision you’ll have concerning the nofollow tag but would like to see more concrete proof that it doesn’t have any value instead of just an opinion.

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Jon writes:

I also have to agree with Susan. I submit articles for both “clicks” and the link juice. I have to say though the link juice is more beneficial.

I submit excellent quality articles but this isn’t for the click through rates as these are “just ok”, the majority of people will click on an ad before they even get to the resource box.

At least give the writer some benefit for submitting our content.

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Jimmy Wrex writes:

I 100% agree with these guys. Adding the ‘Nofollow’ would be an awful change.

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ed writes:

There is no such thing as the no follow tag as far as google is concerned. Google it don’t reply please :)

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Jim Sanders writes:

Ed, if you had said do follow, I’d agree. And although you are correct in saying it’s not a tag, it’s an element of the tag. Specifically, Your keywords here

It’s the rel element of the a tag.

Follow, what people most times call do follow, is the state in absence of such element.

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Mako writes:

NOFOLLOW is one of the BEST changes EzineArticles could implement to stem the massive tide of garbage that has correctly earned them this massive slap.

Not only is it referred to in hundreds of “SEO Guides” as a way to game Google specifically with outsourced crap, but also as a part of many grey/blackhat techniques simply to help SEO clients…NOT EzineArticles readers.

Susan your view is limited to your own issues, if you’re having a problem ranking clients’ sides, pursue another strategy. EzineArticles is NOT a “backlink source”…it’s an article directory intended to HELP PEOPLE SOLVE PROBLEMS.

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moro writes:

Well, then I would suggest to remove those awful adsense blocks cluttered all over the page, this would definitely increase the user experience more than anything.

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Jan Chilton writes:

I’m sorry, but this almost ridiculous.

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Ryan writes:

I also agree with Susan. Writing good, original content is not a quick and easy task. The reason we take the time to post those articles here instead of elsewhere (where we can write much sloppier articles and/or less original content) is partly for the link-juice. Nofollow is an unnatural link attribute and does not really make sense to add to articles that clearly deserve to be credited to the author.

While our articles will already be getting less traffic due to the algo changes, don’t make ezine “doubly dead” by removing one of the only remaining incentives to post here.

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Evelyn writes:

I’m on Susan’s side also! If there’s no link juice, why would I bother to write an original article and post it to Ezine. I would rather put it on MY site and get traffic directly than build yours for free while you keep ALL the Adsense Income. Perhaps you should consider sharing your Adsense profits with your “valuable” writers in exchange for our keyword research, writing, etc.!

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Chris writes:

Evelyn, you’ve just absolutely summed everything up in one paragraph.

This latest algo change is having a massive effect on the indexation rates for ALL the major broad content sites, including the likes of Squidoo and HubPages, let alone EzineArticles, so why not bring the traffic (and revenue) to OUR sites.

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Ngahiwi writes:

I agree with Evelyn. When you put the adsense block under the title of an article…tell me why you did that?

…and now tell me if you are going to share? That maybe the only reason I would be an author of your pages.

Link juice is not a primary consideration since you will still allow the resource box. Well written informative articles get traffic…period.

Your reputation is second to none. Change is good. Invention is the mother of neccesitiy. Make it worthwhile.

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Colin Buckingham writes:

Evelyn, you are totally right. I am not an SEO expert but I thought Google’s (search) business model is based upon providing its users with great, relevant content. The reason we post our articles with EzineArticles is because of the potential links back. If they disappear then authors will take their “great content” and put it on their own blogs/websites. The more content we post there, the higher Google will rank us. Why would we allow EzineArticles to include their links on our social media sites if we get nothing in return?

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Ayesha writes:

I 100% agree with Susan. With nofollow in author box, there is no need to further invest our time and effort on EzineArticles.com.

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Shaun L writes:

To put simply, if you make your author box links no follow you will lose a very big percentage of your writers. You may not have advertised the ‘link juice’ aspect of it for a long time, but regardless that is one of the main reasons people use and recommend your site. If you do go no follow then a new ‘content king’ take your place. Don’t make that mistake.

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Zak Ramdani writes:

@Shaun L

Well said.

I will echo most others comments here by admitting a big motivation for writing articles is for the link-juice; this is more important than the click throughs that articles generate on their own. Increasing quality standards and axing crap content will be a win-win for everyone.

Zak

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Alex writes:

FWIW, I am an professional SEO expert. I can tell you for sure changing links to forced no-follow will destroy your users rankings and will be a bad business decision on your part.

I speak with much experience and knowledge. The backlinks from EzineArticles are a major authority with the big G. It’s one of the major reasons you guys get business. I wouldn’t mess with that if I were you, but hey, your site ;)

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Ranita writes:

This is too funny. The reason that article marketing and content directories exist is because people are trying to get links. Why do they want links? To rank in Google. Google is making their own mess by using links as a way to evaluate quality. All they did was create more junk for themselves to clean up!

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I do not agree with the NO FOLLOW attribute. If you do this it will have a negative impact on mine and every other Original Author that actually puts thought into what we write about. I know my Articles give great Value to the reader. I actually know my topics very good with real world experience. If you start a no follow, you will not keep getting top notch content. I know the reason I write is to help and gain link weight. The link weight along with your adsense account for the ads that pop up around our content. That follow link is the only reason I have wrote so many truly useful articles. I know there is good income in the ads period and our article create those clicks.Fair is Fair when it comes to the links. I know I can rank a website faster with EZINE and I know the search engines are paying attention. I have lost rank and traffic because of Google playing with things. I am also a Computer Science Major at the University of West Georgia, I have a clear understanding of computer algorithms and the impact on search they have. No follow big mistake.

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Jonathan writes:

Hi Chris,

One of the main reasons people post article here is because the links are dofollow.

They do pass SEO value and that’s alright. It’s part of the benefits an author should get.

Other article directories with nofollow links were also hit by this latest google update.

It has nothing to do with the DOfollow links.

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Jonathan & Everyone else,

This morning I removed the NOFOLLOW attribute from the table. For now, we won’t change that.

If you notice, it was near the bottom of our short-list which means it was only icing in the cake to further prove to Matt Cutts and Google that we’re not here to game Google nor let our Expert Authors do so via our platform.

We’ve got bigger issues closer to the top of the list to address this coming week.

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Susan Greene writes:

Thanks for being open-minded, Chris, and taking our comments into consideration.

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Alan Petersen writes:

Thank you Susan for articulating so well the concerns of changing the link attribute to NOFOLLOW. As a writer who post only originally written, quality articles I felt that Chis throwing salt in the wound. And thank you Chris for listening to the concerns here and tabling it for now.

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DevonK writes:

The best thing about all of this – you’ve just gotten an honest cross-section of the reasons people are here writing articles. You should make sure to keep track of all those reasons so you can use them in the future – both to offer new services and better tailor the ones you already have.

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Christina Miller writes:

I am glad to see that you changed your mind about the nofollow attribute. That clearly would have been the deal breaker for me. I have 114 articles and I would have never submitted another. I look at our relationship as a 50/50 one, you get to keep the money you make off the adds, I get the boost in search results from having those 2 links. Take that away and the traffic I do get from ezine will no longer justify my time and effort in sending my best quality to you. I will hold stead fast to that position, if ezine ever adds the nofollow attribute I will no longer submit anything to your company for inclusion.

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Matt writes:

am I slow or something? I’m still trying to figure out what this “nofollow” stuff is. Can someone please use other terminology to describe this?

What I am understanding is that this would not allow for click through links in our author resource box? If this is the case it would absolutely destroy Ezine. Somebody please clarify if you don’t mind.

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Anthony Godinho writes:

Chris, I’m glad to see that you listened, and more importantly, acted on the “nofollow” issue that was on the minds of many of the EzineArticles.com authors. I’m with Susan on this as well, so thank you for taking it off the list.

I think there is nothing wrong with us authors wanting to get some return for the precious time that is spend writing quality and unique articles that are submitted to your site. Whether that be wanting to build credibility as writers or wanting to promote our websites.

Ultimately, everyone is here because there is some sort of return they expect, so let’s not pretend. There are many good article directory sites, many of which allow authors to earn a commission for the articles they submit.

I think it’s a good move that EzineArticles.com has removed the issue of “nofollow” from the table because they could end up losing many good authors to their competition. THANK YOU once again!

P.S: Susan, kudos to you for sticking with your guns and making valid arguments to support the majority!

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3

Well there are situations we can and can’t control and this is one we can not immediately control. Unfortunately I do not know enough on these algorithms to comment on the topic, however, you guys have an idea what may be better and thanks for highlighting the issue.

I see the issue on other forums and am sure it’s impacted a lot of us and hope it will work out for the better in the near future.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:08 PM

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4
Phil Benham writes:

I would suggest allowing additional, supporting content such as video, pictures, and slideshows. Not only will this add to the “user” experience and give readers more to consume than simple text, but will give the search engines more to digest and index. Given that you will be cleaning up the site, why now move towards a more content-rich information powerhouse? This seems to be the logical approach to solve this dilemma presented by the latest algorithmic change…Just a lowly servant’s opinion.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:10 PM

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Ezine Author writes:

This guy above is spot on. Your site is so PLAIN, aside from the ugly ads thrown everywhere. The only visual support visitors get are your ugly ads, and links all over the place.

Most of the time EzineArticles is hard on the eyes, because of how crammed it looks, and how much is thrown into one page surrounding an article. I was happy when I had an ad-blocking Firefox extension, because the pages actually looked clean for a change.

It would be nice to see customizable interfaces that Authors could use to make their pages/articles more relevant to people in 2011.

The way you have your site right now, reminds me of books from the 1940′s. No pictures, just text, text, text. It’s 2011. Get with the times, people are all about visual stimulation.

It’s nearly impossible to even open up a text book or even novel in the library without some form of Imagery, Photographs, Illustrations etc… used.

People like to SEE what they are reading, and like visual stimulation. It helps get the message across better. It’s probably why you have VIDEOS and PICTURES on your blog here, because text alone can be cumbersome and dull.

You know that, I know it; so why are your article pages still so dull and lacking a relevant 2011 upgrade?

Honestly the only images I can find on a page, are the tiny squares from ads; or the tiny squares for author pictures. OH, and that little yellow star beside some authors’ names. How intriguing and stimulating (mind my sarcasm)!

P.S.

Just because you rank well for an article directory, it does not mean that you are the best. Look at the websites ranking now in Google, are they the best? Most people here would say the websites ranking at the moment are not the best.

As an example:

Myspace used to be the best at it’s peak. It’s not peaking anymore. Why is that? Myspace didn’t change. Facebook came along, and Facebook revolutionized the social industry, because Facebook changes their INTERFACE.

They upgrade, and change, and adapt new ideas. The only upgrades your external site has had is the addition of ads. Unsightly ads.

Does that make you the best then? I highly doubt it.

[Reply]

Do you want TRAFFIC or do you want PRETTY?

Adding video’s, images and audio to our site destroys CTR as we’ve already tested it.

Our assumption is that if we don’t deliver traffic to your website from your articles, that over-time, you’ll lower EzineArticles.com as a priority place to submit your best quality original articles.

I’m not disagreeing with you… only sharing why our site is configured the way it is. Thousands of small subtle tests have lead to the current design.

[Reply]

Ezine Author writes:

How subtle was it to add tons of ads on the pages?

Did you test that too? Hahaha!

That wasn’t exactly a SUBTLE test. It was just an overpowering ad junk overload. But hey, worry about being subtle.

Do you really believe those ads and text are subtle? Look at the ads on your page:

?Grants -Do You Qualify??
?$12,000,000,000 In Free Grants Are Given Away Monthly – Apply Now
http://www.freecanadagovgrants.info/sher2

Really? 12 million dollars in grants? HA ha ha! Subtle alright! Plus this same ad appears more than once on a page. But that’s adsense for you.

According to you, you’ve tested it, and were being subtle? So I should be thankful that you didn’t put 100 ads on a page then, because THEN it’d not be subtle?

[Reply]

Ezine Author writes:

To correct myself here, and clarify, it’s the Chitika ads which really clog the page up. Those are the ads with the images, and the ad mentioned above is one of those ads.

Just go on any article, and look at those ads for real. If something were to look spammy and simply low quality, it’s those ads, and they mess the page up.

Alongside having tons of adsense ads; which isn’t as bad as having both the adsense ads AND repeating Chitika ads practically covering the entire page.

I am glad, however, that EzineArticles is at least realizing or considering the fact that too many ads on the pages could be detrimental.

[Reply]

Christina Miller writes:

Chris, I totally disagree with you. EVERYBODY I know hates your add stuffed pages and train of links at the bottom of the articles. I think you need to clean those pages up a little and instead of having 300 ads per page why not consider 12. They do not provide a good user experience and are certainly excessive. I am sure they could be reduced without hurting your revenue stream.

[Reply]

Chris writes:

What having no images, videos etc. on a page does is to concentrate clickthrus on the ads. In that sense EzineArticles is one huge MFA site, as are the vast majority of article directories – having pages which are more than 50% ads is NOT adding to the ‘user experience’.

57 million unique visitors a month is an absolutely colossal figure – you must be Google’s highest Adsense earner by some margin. That’s brilliant for you, but none of that revenue is going to authors who’s one or two links down the page are relatively lost amongst all the other above-the-fold click opportunities available.

It’s a fantastic business model – get others to provide masses of free product for which you then collect all the revenue, or, even better, charge them monthly to provide that free content – but unless there’s a quid pro quo for the ‘workers’ they not unexpectedly will rise up and revolt, or strike, or just wander off for greener pastures elsewhere.

This is the time to add more for authors, not less. Images, videos, above the fold DoFollow clickthrus – all the good stuff. The large broad content sites, having had an easy run in the past, are now being punished for being too similar to the Demand Media model. Smaller, specialist sites are back in the frame again. EzineArticles has to respond by offering more value and opportunity to authors, who will respond in kind I’m sure.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

You’ve tested it? With what? Video ads? Serious question, because if you’ve tested it with video that was ads, and not actual video content illustrating the content, then of course, it’s not going to work. I’m not trying to insult, I’m just trying not to assume, hence why I ask.

Next question becomes was it CTR on your ADS, or was it CTR on other non ad links that dropped?

The bottom line point why I could see people suggesting the ability to add such things is because that’s what most web 2.0 sites have now. And it COULD potentially separate EzineArticles from the other farms.

[Reply]

5
Marte Cliff writes:

I agree with Susan. Why penalize your authors by changing our resource box links to no follow?

I’m in agreement with everything else you’ve outlined, but believe this one will result in far few article submissions to your site.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:10 PM

[Reply]

Marte,

What good is 200,000 article submissions (that’s 400,000 article transactions our humans would touch each month) if it doesn’t lead us back into the millions of daily unique visitors ballpark?

Without the search engines trusting us and our members’ content, there is not much else to talk about since the search engines represent an important HALF of our traffic.

[Reply]

Mako writes:

There is no reason for a resource box NOT to be NOFOLLOW, you are absolutely on the right track with this.

As you can tell from this thread and the amazing replies to Susan, the vast majority of so-called “authors” are putting their own interests via promoting their ranks of the blogs OVER the interests of both the quality of EzineArticles itself, and the quality of the experience of the EzineArticles READER…which is what should be prioritized.

Shocked at how many “agree with Susan” comments there are, you guys just don’t have a clue what Chris is saying and WHY this slap from Google was well-deserved.

Read through all of the articles on the main page and mark down how many actually helped solve a problem. By the time you’re done you’ve find 10-15% if you’re lucky.

That is awful.

[Reply]

Congrats on your open attempts at maintaining high standards and enforcing quality.

To “Mako” – please don’t misunderstand this but you are coming across as being politically correct and singing the party line. Basic human nature = “What is in it for ME?”. A rare few authors may actually be sacrificing their time and freely handing out “solutions” to perceived “problems” for readers…verified by those WITHOUT a resource box. Otherwise, bottomline, the vast majority are submitting articles solely for the link juice, positioning themselves as subject matter experts, etc. Period.

Mr. Knight – sir, your tests of videos-images-audio with clickable links actually resulted in destroying CTR? Really? Personally, I find that difficult to believe when observing YouTube, etc. but if your research confirmed that such broke the flow of the article and not reinforce the article, then no one can argue the point. Okay, at least not against your stats.

General – adsense revenue is peanuts. Just think if you directly offered your own high quality article writing products/ ebooks/ ecourses … even affiliate ones with your affiliate links. And NOT in the middle of an article, which takes away from the readers experience. Adsense ads and placement are in direct contradiction of what Mako is claiming about EZA’s “higher purpose”. Adsense ads = no go.

My 2 cents. As you can easily discern, I am not a professional writer. Thank you for your time. Good Luck and much success.

[Reply]

Denise Rutledge writes:

Mako, I appreciate the fact that I get a link back to my website when I post an article, but it isn’t the only reason I post. I write articles that are informative and educational. I have a goal. Eventually, those articles will become a book I can sell on Kindle. Having the resource box dofollow is a perk I appreciate.

Having said that, I can get just as much link benefit from posting on my blog, but posting on EzineArticles reaches a different audience. I find it hard to believe that making resource box links no-follow will make a major difference in the quality of articles being submitted. Writers are either motivated to write great content, or they aren’t.

How does a desire to retain the dofollow tag in the resource box translate to “the vast majority of so-called “authors” are putting their own interests via promoting their ranks of the blogs OVER the interests of both the quality of EzineArticles itself, and the quality of the experience of the EzineArticles READER…which is what should be prioritized”?

How does “dofollow” affect the reader’s experience? It’s a tag that only affects Google. Ads are much more intrusive to a reader’s experience on EzineArticles.

Ultimately, the onus for quality falls upon the editors. They are the ones who must raise the standard of what passes for acceptable English (sure we all glitch occasionally). Once articles without proper punctuation, poor grammar and garbled messages are weeded out, then the worse problem as I see it will be overcome as far as quality content.

[Reply]

Chancer Reese writes:

Mako
I work with offline clients almost everyday. I write articles and post to EzineArticles for both the link juice as well as the visibility and direct traffic I get from people interested in topics I write about.

So I try to write content that helps people but I can tell you 3 rules about helping people (online or offline).

1> Do no harm. Like a Dr. I try to help but if I can’t find a solution that fits a client, I always try not to leave them worst off then before they met me or read one of my articles. i.e. I try to share only useful and accurate information, as best as I can.

2> You can’t save everybody. Even when you are speaking to people face-to-face, let along via the written word, YOU will not be able to help some folks.

So trying to write to save the world is a waste of your and your readers’ time. Try to give people decent, value-added articles and a link to where they can get more help (my site) if they want it.

3> Do your best and leave the rest. You and I are not perfect. So all anyone can do is write decent articles, post them on their personal blog, then submit them to places like EzineArticles (for links & visibility).

And when I say “best” I really mean 70-80%. Because if you tweaking an article to 100% perfection, you are also removing the authenticity and emotion from it as well as the rough edges.

Yes, grammar, and punctuation are important. But real emotions that reaches people also opens the door to teaching them as well.

And for Chris.

I remember the day you guys increased the number of adsense blocks on your web pages and I wrote a rather nasty email saying that you were going to ruin your business with the crap.

Your staff wrote back to say, you were “sorry I felt that way”. Well, I’m not sorry for you.

You used your HAHD contests to steadily increase the number of pageviews and content in EzineArticles (which increased your adsense revenues no doubt) and has now gotten your site punked by the Google gods as a result.

Yes, I still use your site, I even made platinum status. And I have been posting stuff here since 2007.

So I have seen all your little ups and downs, but I think you might have pushed the envelope this time and fallen hard.

You are going to have to work hard to recover the trust you have lost from both business authors like me, Google as well as causal web surfers.

I remember just a few years ago a affiliate marketer telling me he didn’t like EzineArticles because he had to pay his outsource writer for better content in order to pass your editors’ quality inspection.

But he was delighted when suddenly things got easier when you started HAHD.

My 2 cents_
Clean up the layout so your pages don’t look like an adsense block party. Come on man, 9 blocks of ads per page?!

Clean up the quality of articles. Make me and the other authors here toe the line. Make platinum status really mean something.

[Reply]

Geena writes:

But how does putting a “nofollow” tag create search engine trust? I don’t understand that. Also, your links do absolutely have huge weight with search engines and improving SERP.

Please do not go “nofollow.”

[Reply]

Geena,

By adding rel=”nofollow” on all links, it proves to the search engines that our members are not here to game them.

The counter-argument to keeping the links without the nofollow attribute is that there is nothing wrong with using high-quality original articles to create search engine visibility and findability.

The current day counter-argument comes thanks to a competitor that got slapped just as hard as we did and they already had 100% nofollow links since last year… which means, it’s not a main issue.

To reiterate, this topic is off the table for discussion for now. We are leaving the links alone and will not add the nofollow attribute to the links in the resource box.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

I think you don’t understand Google all that well – almost every link that appears on the site will automatically be “devalued”. This is because Google full well knows that the content is self-generated and thus doesn’t qualify as “Relevant”. At least in regard to those links going back to the writers web pages.

However, each of those links is valuable to EzineArticles. People are so busy focusing on Backlinks, that they totally forget “content links”. Those are links that lead people to OTHER places where they can get more info on a given subject. Each of these backlinks also work as content links for EzineAritcles (and no one else). It is those links which, in part, make you the authority website you are.

The reason you’ve been downplayed isn’t because of the links but because of the overall relevancy of the material you provide. As has been said by me, and many others, you’re allowing people to offer an insignificant piece of information and then directing people to their website to “learn more”. It is this non-relevant content that is costing you. Since it does tend to be a majority of articles that are approved you loose out.

This is why all of us were trying to get to to understand it was hurting you – now you get to see it first hand. It also hurts all of us legitimate writers by putting us all in the same boat.

The best tool you have, which you wouldn’t even let me write about, is to look at how many articles are being published to other websites (and not just have the published link clicked). If they are not being published they are not RELEVANT to anyone other than the writer. It’s just that simple. Look at how many articles are NOT being published elsewhere – I bet it’s an overwhelming majority.

[Reply]

Ryan Malone writes:

Chris, lets look at it this way.

Google have openly stated that they prefer websites that pass PageRank. They in fact prefer people to avoid the use of NoFollow.

If you think that this is going to increase credibility, I believe that you are very wrong. Most people who know their SEO back to front know that there is a degredation in PR that is passed through a link, whether or not it is followed or no followed.

What you also need to consider here is that with the majority of members being on board writing good high quality articles, with the added bonus of a link, a lot of these people are going to drop off. Yes, including premium members, who will now actually be paying their high premium for nothing.

Here’s what I propose, and I think this is perfectly reasonable.

You want to maintain the quality of this site, and get your trust back with Google? Then trust the members that have gone through the hard yards and earned a platinum membership.

I know its not ideal, but with your approval procedure becoming more tight, I am sure that this will make things much better.

I can promise you though, and I can not stress this enough, the second that you nofollow all of those links WILL be the death of this site.

Sorry to sound all morbid, but this is a very VERY bad outcome not just for members, but for this site.

[Reply]

Jonathan writes:

One of the comptetitors of EzineArticles is Articlesbase which has nofollow links. They’ve been hit as hard by this latest google update.

This is not about nofollow links.

Don’t remove this main benefit for authors.

Yes, readers come first, but it’s alright for the author to gain more direct exposure as well.

[Reply]

Christina Miller writes:

Yep and I have 5 articles on Articlesbase and 114 on Ezine. Nofollw = no more articles from Christina Miller.

[Reply]

6
Marc David writes:

I’m 99% in favor of the changes including the no-follow attribute. I don’t much care about that as I’m more interested in a real human reading the article and clicking the link. Not the perceived rank I’ll get from a high quality site.

HOWEVER, I’m not in favor of Exclusive articles. Seems just about everybody wants the author to write for their site and their readers along and be exclusive. If you pay me to do so I will. But if I am going to be writing exclusive articles, I’ll do it for my own site and take my changes or I’ll write or blogs that will pay per post.

I get the duplicate content mumbo jumbo. Google is growing tiresome and someday, I hope some other SE overtakes them. Until then, I like your approach to the problem.

I’ve NEVER had a rejection to date and I applaud you for being the best article directory on the Internet doing this type of service. Frankly, the net is 99% junk anyway and I’m glad to see you holding steady to classic fundamentals.

Exclusivity though.. I can’t agree with that one section.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:18 PM

[Reply]

Marc,

I know you’re right.

I thought Google was already doing a pretty excellent job at filtering duplicate content out of their SERPS.

The part about exclusivity that bothers me is that my vision for EzineArticles.com was to be the absolute authority in thousands of niche markets and the ONLY way to be the absolute authority in ANY niche is to have the ability to deliver/publish 100% of the best articles in that topic regardless as to whether they are 100% exclusive or not to our site.

I hope Google will provide some clarity on this area in the coming weeks.

[Reply]

Shannon writes:

I hope so too. Because along the same vein that the no follow didn’t seem to matter (as competitors with no follow were hit just as hard,) the same holds with exclusive content, at least as I understand it. Buzzle was hit just as hard. Admittedly, I really don’t know what you have in mind. I have no problem letting EzineArticles have an article first. But I don’t think it would be completely fair if I couldn’t post my own articles second when the scrapers will keep right on posting the same. Hopefully, I’m misunderstanding what exclusive really means. Thanks for taking all of this under consideration.

Like you, I think it would really help if Google would take a look at what is actually happening. My son was doing a project for school this morning and he was trying to do research on specific colleges and their requirement. Needless to say, Google took him to many things other than what he was actually looking for. FSU became Falkenburg state. So they have some tweaking to do for sure.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

I think your batting your head against the wall about duplicate content as Google already has solutions in place for it. They determine the “most relevant” site as the “Original” and everything else as duplicate – no matter which was the actual original. I’d be more focused on making sure you are the “Most Relevant” so that you’re always seen as the original. You can then simply not-publish the stuff that comes back as spam (been used multiple places already) – which you said you already have a system in place to do.

[Reply]

Janna Chan writes:

Thanks for all the commentary, Chris. I hope I’m wrong but I think Google is operating with a sword rather than scalpel respecting this latest (and likely permanent) algorithm change.

It wants to be rid of anything resembling a content farm irrespective of the quality of the content in question. Thus trying to convince Google that EzineArticles isn’t gaming the system won’t help. They mean the break-up to be permanent.

Systemically speaking, the EzineArticles business model has some other problems, too. For instance, I liked EzineArticles but got tired of filing 20 DMCA complaints for every article that was published legitimately with a resource box. There’s no integrity to the “good content for a good link” side of the business, I fear. I also agree that the ads devalue the site because they are too many and too ugly.

I suggest that EzineArticles either go the “exclusive” route, as painful as that may be, or find a source of traffic other than Google.

All the best – Janna

[Reply]

Janna Chan writes:

Hmm…one sentence above came off funny. My average seemed to be 20 ripped off articles/one legitimate one published with a resource box. That’s not a good ratio.

Glad to hear that EzineArticles is evaluating the number of ads per page.

[Reply]

Kathy writes:

I think your goal of having EzineArticles.com become the absolute authority in thousands of niches is possible, but not with the current website infrastructure and certainly not by trying to have the EzineArticles.com brand perceived as the authority in all of those niches.

If you want to develop an authority for individual niches then you should have different websites with each developing a different brand all under the EzineArticles.com umbrella. Every one of those specific industry focused websites would be stamped with the EzineArticles.com brand name. Powered by EzineArticles expert authors.

I think you should reposition the EzineArticles.com Expert Badge into being a worldwide recognized stamp of authority and trust that authors can only earn after they have achieved more significant milestones within their own industry. Or else create a new badge that people earn after achieving real milestones like achieving 100,000 page views in one niche.

You definitely need to implement some kind of trust metric into rating your authors or into rating individual articles. I am sure Google would have some free high quality advice on that topic. (Well maybe not free.) Matt Cutts mentioned that they would be willing to work with Wikipedia before if they needed help developing some trust metric. There has to be a reasonably cost effective way to do so using an algorithm built around authors and voting.

[Reply]

I’m not sure how EzineArticles could ever put an exclusivity clause in place for submissions when you allow the articles to be syndicated. I’d like to see that end of things cleaned up a little.

Like Janna mentioned, it is a pain for us to be looking out for scrapers that take the articles and then strip the links and/or spin them. I used to look for them and ask them to fix or remove them, but I don’t have the time to waste on it. If you’re concerned about exclusivity then you might look to step up in this arena.

It’s even becoming a bit of a bother with the “legitimate” uses by spammy autobots. These sites violate the limits on the number of articles they can publish from EzineArticles and have no original content — everything is from article directories. I’m not sure if I need the backlinks and traffic that comes from these type of sites.

[Reply]

7
Lars writes:

With further raising standards through stricter derivative filters, longer articles and higher overall content review standards (including both article content quality and landing page content quality), I really don’t understand how forcing the nofollow attribute will help.

As I read this post, I felt encouraged and excited by the planned improvements. I sincerely applaud them; I take great care to write and contribute high quality articles to EzineArticles and for years I’ve enjoyed the benefits of doing so.

But nofollowing resource box links?

If smart, strict editorial oversight determines you have a quality, useful article linking to a quality resource, you provide Google EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. They want to reward editorial links given with deliberate editorial intent from quality, relevant pages to other quality, relevant pages.

If you nofollow those links, you do an injustice to not only to your contributing writers, but to Google.

I know EzineArticles may feel beat down right now, but nofollowing all resource box links would be an overreaction that could do more harm than good as I’m sure many well-meaning writers will lose their desire to publish as much with EzineArticles.

I sincerely feel bad for EzineArticles. I think you have remained head and shoulders above many of the other sites punished by this algo change.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:23 PM

[Reply]

Inger writes:

“If smart, strict editorial oversight determines you have a quality, useful article linking to a quality resource, you provide Google EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. They want to reward editorial links given with deliberate editorial intent from quality, relevant pages to other quality, relevant pages.

If you nofollow those links, you do an injustice to not only to your contributing writers, but to Google.”

I Agree. If you monitor the articles that are submitted so they meet high standards then keeping links as follow should be a non-issue.

[Reply]

8
Cheryl G Burke writes:

Thanks EzineArticles.com! You make me “Proud” to be affiliated with You guys! I appreciate what you do, for me, for others, who are using Your site to gain OUR Value! I have paid nothing to EzineArticles.com and have been viewed and copied by others! Thank YOU, I am confident you will get this figured out and stand as Proudly as you have in the past, due to your dilligence!
Sincerely,
Cheryl G Burke

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:32 PM

[Reply]

9
Marte Cliff writes:

We’ve discussed the photos at length here before.

I think it would be a nightmare for you because of the copyright issues.

As for videos, I’m always disappointed when I think I’m going to read a good article and find it’s a video. I have a Wild Blue Internet connection – so can’t watch most videos and just click away after wasting my time getting there.

The exclusivity issue – could lead to fewer submissions. I don’t have a firm opinion on that one just yet.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM

[Reply]

10
Marc David writes:

I guess as far as “exclusivity” goes, the simple workaround would be to post here first.. that way it shows us nowhere else. Then after it’s accepted, post to the blog, etc. It’s not like anybody is going to go back and re-check or have software verify that fact.

I’m satisfied with EzineArticles.com and I’ve been a publisher since 2007. While I may not write as much as I’d like, this is the first and only place I came back to when the writing bug struck again.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:36 PM

[Reply]

Jason writes:

I’m sorry, but if you know anything about SEO that last thing you want to do is post your original content anywhere other than your own site first. WHY would you give an article directory credit for YOUR work? Makes no sense whats so ever.

I like EzineArticles much more than other article directories, but seriously, when you have MORE content in the text of the adds than you have in a 400 word article, do you think that’s a problem? This place was, is and always will be an adsense farm!

You even got greedy and started putting big image adds right underneath the article so the lists below it wouldn’t be seen as well and your adds would get more vision. You took a good percentage of the clicks people were getting the moment you did this and now look whats happening. This is almost comical now to watch.

I would REALLY love to hear you answer this question because I’ve seen you avoid it multiple times on this blog. Now that you’ve actually written about it yourself, maybe you’ll finally come clean with a decent answer. Ready?

If the “user experience” was the main goal of this site, and this question has been asked multiple times while Mr. Knight has seemed to avoid answering it every time, why would you ever have more content in advertisements than actual article content?

That doesn’t seem like a good “user experience” to me. How could you have ever thought that.

Here’s one less premium account you’ll have next month and I promise you’ll lose a few hundred more the minute you put that no-follow tag on your links.

[Reply]

I can tell you that sub 400 word articles have fewer ads than higher word count ads.

The bottom line is this: How much traffic are we delivering you? We monitor this closely and use it to gauge whether value has been delivered.

I can also tell you that in most cases, the 1 or 2 links in the resource box OUTPULL the dozen or more ad links in terms of CTR.

But, I’ve already said we are going to fully evaluate the number of ads per page.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

I personally think the only two that are an issue are the one at the bottom of the article that separates the article from the “Share This Article” box. When I started writing here I didn’t even know it existed until I stumbled upon it. How many others don’t know it exists? It is your single most important thing as it defines what is and isn’t RELEVANT to your users. If they aren’t using it, the article isn’t RELEVANT – that simple.

I also think the ads in the side links are an issue because they fool people into thinking they are LINKS and not ADS – which is a bad practice to begin with.

[Reply]

11
kpaul writes:

The less ads is interesting. Good stuff. Keep up the great work. You’re an industry leader, imho.

K. Paul Mallasch

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:45 PM

[Reply]

12
Dan Janal writes:

Regarding duplicate content, it seems odd that if I post the article to my site, then I can’t post it to your site. All things being equal, I’d rather build my loyalty to my established readers first then find new prospects. If you don’t let me post the articles twice, then I’m in a quandry.

On a related note, what will Google do to both of us if they see the article on both our sites — and then see it on a site that reprints your articles?

On an unrelated note, I’ve seen my articles appear on other sites without my byline and with numerous ads under anchor text links. I don’t know if you can do anyting to prevent these people from taking contents, but it looks bad for all of us.

Keep up the good fight. We all trust you, Chris.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:49 PM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Google will determine that the “best” site is the “original” and all others are duplicates and assign value accordingly. Sadly, regardless of which was the “original” – unless the duplicates all use the canonical link and let Google know they are duplicates.

[Reply]

13
Dan Ho writes:

Chris,

The changes you suggest are indeed sensible if, in fact, EzineArticles has truly lost “market trust” with Google. That’s a big if.

However, based on the research I’ve done so far within my own niches, and seeing subpar content climbing over quality content on this latest Google maneuver, I can only conclude that perhaps Google over-tightened or incorrectly tightened things.

If, by contrast, I was seeing higher quality beating out lower quality on the latest shift then all of your suggestions make sense.

My fear is simply the more you tighten things up, the more difficult it becomes (time, effort, or money) for Expert Authors to have their quality content approved. This will increase their opportunity cost for using article marketing and they may begin to shift more of those limited resources into other activities.

If, down the line, Google realizes the error of their ways (a big if, but highly possible if they are not happy after parsing the data going forward on their new results), it may not be easy to win back a lot of Expert Authors with respect to their prior dedication and devotion to article marketing.

I know it’s a fine line you walk. Ultimately your content is for the end user, not to appease the Expert Authors. On the other hand, if the Expert Authors feel the effort increasingly no longer justifies the returns, you’ll suffer a hit from the front end traffic they generate.

There are no easy answers. If the results I was seeing right now in Google were consistently better and higher quality, then the changes you are advocating would be a no-brainer.

Regards,
Dan

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

[Reply]

14
Harriet Hodgson writes:

Since I’m not a computer whiz, please define nofollow. I would be upset if it means my website address would be deleted because I rely on this link for book marketing. Sure, I write because I love to write and have been doing it for more than 30 years. But an independent journalist like me needs to increase website traffic and that’s one of the main reasons I write for http://www.EzineArticles.com.

Harriet Hodgson

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

[Reply]

Harriet,

The NOFOLLOW attribute just tells a search engine to not follow the link back to your website and not pass any link juice to your website.

It has nothing to do with your web address being deleted because you’d still have active links to your website in the resource box.

Last year, the NOFOLLOW attribute was added to links in the article body but links in the resource box continue to be without the attribute (the equivalent of “DOFOLLOW”).

For now, this issue has been removed from the discussion as we’re going to keep the NOFOLLOW attribute off your resource box links.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

I think that is one of the factors that is costing you on Google – by putting nofollow links, you’re telling Google this work isn’t RELEVANT. Google links links to other places that can expand on the content and make it more usable. That means need followable links.

Since the links DO NOT add any link juice anyway as they are self-promotional links anyway (which Google is well aware of) it doesn’t matter if they are nofollow.

[Reply]

15
Ben Settle writes:

It’s understandable why you are considering raising the minimum word count, but it would be cool if you can make exceptions for people who write a lot of articles, and have consistently demonstrated they can give as much value in 250 words as many others do in 500.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 6:54 PM

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Robert Coates writes:

Good point.

“I am sorry to have wearied you with so long a letter but I did not have time to write you a short one”
Blaise Pascal

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16
DevonK writes:

In my own experience I have found very few people understand “backlinks” and it had lead to both good people being lead down dark paths, and bad people finding ways to take advantage of them. Any backlink you create is automatically treated as if it doesn’t exist. The backlinks that occur here on EzineArticles “don’t exist” because Google knows fell well that YOU created them. That doesn’t mean they are punishing you in any way. They are just protecting their users from user created backlinks – which is a primary tactic of scammers. The fact those articles can be picked up by OTHER websites is where your backlinking success comes from. As long as those websites are quality sites that share the same topic, your links will matter. If not, they won’t – it’s that simple. However, if your goal is to get on the search engines, EzineArticles isn’t the best way to do it to begin with. To do that you need to make your website a quality, relevant, current, and usable one. That isn’t something you can do by scamming your way in, taking any shortcuts, or tricking the search engines – even though everyone tries to find ways around that. Plus, it’s not your website that appears on the search results from your stuff here on EzineArticles – it’s a link to the article itself (which is on EzineArticels – not your website). Having said that, EzineArticles is a great place to do two other very important things – showcase your knowledge, and get people to come VISIT your website. The problem is that people think that they can again skip the “quality” and “relevant” parts and trick people into going to their website. While it may work in the short-run, most of those people will just turn around and leave. If what you offer is quality work that actually helps the person reading it, and not just tricking them to come to your website, they will likely come visit – and may become more than just a visitor. In that end that’s really all that matters – how many people are actively using your products and services, etc. – not how many people LOOKED at them.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 7:12 PM

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17

The very first time I attended a live seminar was in June 2006 at James Martell’s bootcamp. Having been a brick and mortart retailer for over 21 years, this was very opening and the whole concept of internet marketing, original content and SEO was more than intriguing to me. I was on fire! He warned though that Google waslike trying to hit a moving target. I’ve never forgotten that.

His tutorial handbook reommended using EzineArticles, so it was one of the first itemson my to do list. After some heavy trial and error with EzineArticles, I got my first article published! I’ve been an ardent admirer since. The kinship with other authors and you, Chris, is a treasure. EzineArticles teaches some meaty stuff.

Almost 5 years later, I have watched as EzineArticles has grown and evolved, always taking the highest road. This will be no exception.

When I first read about this latest algorithm change, my first thought was how it would affect my EzineArticles, next thought was how is Chris Knight and company going to weather this? So, getting this significant and momentous blog post is something we expert authors have come to expect from our proactive and take-charge leader.

One thing is certain: EzineArticles and authors will prevail and the world wide web will be the better for it.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 7:19 PM

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18
Lars writes:

After further raising standards through stricter derivative filters, longer articles and higher overall content review standards (including both article content quality and landing page content quality), I really don’t understand how forcing the nofollow attribute will help.

As I read this post, I felt encouraged and excited by the planned improvements. I sincerely applaud them; I take great care to write and contribute high quality articles to EzineArticles and for years I’ve enjoyed the benefits of doing so.

But nofollowing resource box links?

If smart, strict editorial oversight determines you have a quality, useful article linking to a quality resource, you provide Google exactly what they want. They want to reward editorial links given with deliberate editorial intent from quality, relevant pages to other quality, relevant pages.

If you nofollow those links, you do an injustice to not only your contributing writers, but to Google.

I know EzineArticles may feel beat down right now, but nofollowing all resource box links would be an overreaction that could do more harm than good as I’m sure many well-meaning writers will lose their desire to publish as much with EzineArticles.

I sincerely feel bad for EzineArticles. I think you have remained head and shoulders above many of the other sites punished by this algo change.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 7:25 PM

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19
Catherine writes:

Quality articles is good, but i would hate to lose the right to put the same content on my blog under my name. If that is implemented then it will be easier to work on individual page rans on our own blogs

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 7:29 PM

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20
Ezine Author writes:

Does this mean that if we submit an article to EzineArticles first, get it approved and published; and THEN after this we submit that same article to other directories, that you will not welcome such an action?

Buzzle wants all of their articles to be unique as well, in terms of them receiving the content FIRST; however, does that mean that the content should be exclusive to them or likewise to you solely?

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 7:30 PM

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21

re the comment I quoted below:

“On an unrelated note, I’ve seen my articles appear on other sites without my byline and with numerous ads under anchor text links. I don’t know if you can do anyting to prevent these people from taking contents, but it looks bad for all of us.”

This actually does seem relevant–I’ve had the same thing happen, and I wish we could find a way to ‘tighten up’ on that as well. It’s placing good content in with garbage, which causes my good stuff to seem as if it may stink too. And without our author name, it might even appear as if someone else wrote our article…loop back to original article and single submission…

Don’t like it.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 7:33 PM

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22
Shannon writes:

I’m glad you addressed this. I could not agree with you more about seeing low quality sites outranking our EzineArticles articles. I have googled several of my articles and I actually find scraped articles (with no author name or resource box and that only have the first paragraph of the article) as ranking number one while the complete ezine article (which was published first) is either on page 2 or at the bottom of page one.

I can not imagine that this is what google intended. This is has to be a horrible user experience. The searcher clicks on the first link only to see they can’t even read the whole article. I have to agree with Dan that they probably were extremely heavy handed and hopefully they will realize that. Because as it stands, they seem to be rewarding some of the content they say they are trying to combat, from what I am seeing today. Some of the sites ranking number one are extremely low quality sites made up of RSS feeds.

I am fine with everything that you have suggested (and I am very grateful that you are following this.) But I do have reservations about the exclusive content IF it means I couldn’t post to my own site after EzineArticles. I don’t mind posting after EzineArticles has published an article, but I wouldn’t want to not be able to use my own article while the article scrapers are certainly going to continue to use my articles. If you could please clarify when you get this all worked out, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for all that you do. To me, you have always been the number one directory and will contine to be.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:02 PM

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Frank writes:

That is Google’s fault, and nothing ezine does will correct this.

[Reply]

23

Leave the no-follow alone

you’re continued updated of policies made me several times have to change the informative links in this article that had over 50,000 views on your site and now you removed it completely – http://www.campusbug.com/ezwriting/file.php?id=40658

Don’t have time to keep changing it – why did you delete it again and from server completely?

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:03 PM

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24
Leeanne writes:

I agree with most of the changes that EzineArticles is contemplating, but I do have to say that I am also not in agreement with the NoFollow links in our Resource boxes, as well as authors being unable to submit the article elsewhere. If this is the case, then I think that EzineArticles should allow its authors to be paid for views on their articles or to be able to make some Adsense income, like some other article directories have done.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:04 PM

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25
jeremy123 writes:

I agree with many of your changes, though if someone can give value in 250 words that is better than value using 400 words with a long introduction and summary.
I think people will start doing that.

Doesn’t Google reward sites for linking out to related websites. EzineArticles is an authority site so their links are valuable.

I think the reason why this has happened to EZA’s is not because of your current standards but because of your previous standards regarding articles submitted many years ago.

Maybe track which articles lost rankings and see if there is a pattern.

If you reduce the number of ads per article your pay per click should go up, people may be clicking on less valuable ads at the bottom of the page.

Each EzineArticles article links to 35 related articles within EzineArticles, if the same articles are linking to the same 35 articles that could be duplicate content.

35 articles with an average of 8 words in the headline, that is 280 words of text. That is more than some articles.

I’m no expert, these changes have helped my sites.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:08 PM

[Reply]

Jeremy,

Could be true.

We’ll evaluate that as well this week.

[Reply]

26
Cindy writes:

The “no follow” is the most upsetting part. Sure you can write good content but it won’t help your own website when you link……that sucks!!!!!

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

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Mako writes:

EZA doesn’t exist to “help your website”. It exists to provide a positive experience for its READERS.

Something I see that most of the article marketers and SEO gamers here have clearly forgotten.

When my Mother contracts a disease and needs to research possible solutions to her pain, 50 articles should come up on EzineArticles that are mostly garbage designed to route visitors back to your thinly-masked sales blog for some info-product you’ve posted fake reviews about.

Wake up people, think like magazine editors for once, instead of clueless mercenaries only looking to improve their blog’s PR and sales levels.

[Reply]

John writes:

Mako — EzineArticles exists to make a profit, as evidenced by the ads that it displays. The policy of providing a positive reading experience solely helps to increase reader satisfaction, and therefore profit. EzineArticles is not a non-profit, altruistic organisation.

Since EzineArticles makes it’s income off our articles why shouldn’t we ‘clueless mercenaries’ get some benefit too?

[Reply]

Maria writes:

“EZA doesn’t exist to “help your website”. It exists to provide a positive experience for its READERS.”
But EzineArticles is making this possible through the people writing here, don’t forget that and it’s making hefy money through us as well. EzineArticles is big because of the people who write here, not because of it’s employees. Who do you think are writing those great content pages all for free here in the first place? Having dofollow backlinks is a strong incentive for writers to post their content here instead of someplace else.
When EzineArticles will start a revenue sharing program with all the people posting here their articles, then we can talk about a nofollow link to reward people for their hard work and time. Geez…wake up man.

[Reply]

Edward Weiss writes:

Wake up and smell the decaf Mako. Or work for free.

[Reply]

27
Liz Bolton writes:

The no follow for the resource box links will definitely mean that I won’t be submitting any articles. It takes away 95% of the motivation for me and I imagine for many, many others. Bummer!

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:11 PM

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28
Bryan writes:

I agree with the word count. I see a lot of people who think a 700 word article provides more value than a 400 word article. Longer articles don’t always mean more value. You wouldn’t believe some of the garbage I’ve seen.

As far as the other changes, I understand. Hopefully these changes open things up for the people who didn’t game the system.

What are your plans for Premium subscribers? Will that still be in place or will anything change there?

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:12 PM

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29
Edward Weiss writes:

Well I’ll say it … I hate Google and truly believe that they are dropping the ball here. Listen up Yahoo and Bing (or some other contender.) I used to be #1 for the search term ‘piano lessons’ but that lasted a few days and the #1 site now for that term does nothing but keyword stuff.

Makes no sense and definetely does not give searchers the ‘best’ results.

Google has dominated long enough and it really sucks. They literally have a monopoly on search and have grown way too powerful for one company.

I say down with them. I’ve tried to diversify my content so that it reaches as many different outlets as possible.

As far as article marketing goes, I’m sorry to hear how this affects EzineArticles. I thought Google and EzineArticles had some kind of ‘understanding’ via some kind of private unwritten contract.

And last but not least … I hate Google.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:12 PM

[Reply]

Sorry to hear that Edward.

We don’t hate Google.

We have no written or unwritten ‘understanding’ with Google.

[Reply]

Edward Weiss writes:

Of course YOU don’t hate Google. They are a major source of income for you. For those of us who are a lot ‘smaller’ for lack of a better word, Google does blow with a capital B.

Time to move past Google. Any contenders?

[Reply]

30
Art Turner writes:

If you insist on exclusivity, then wouldn’t that also end syndication if you follow through logically?

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:15 PM

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31
Alan writes:

knee jerk reaction before the dust settles…

not smart.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:19 PM

[Reply]

32

I agree with Cindy, much less incentive to publish with no-follow removed – try advertising and don’t rely on Google for everything

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:23 PM

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33
Frank writes:

Strange you would to take the majority of the SEO value away from your publishers with no-follow. As Google has clearly stated, one add’s the no-follow link to show that link is not important. Is this what you think of your publishers? How about adding no-follow links to all your site links, would you do this, i don’t think so. As Susan Greene stated, you are clearly doing things without any knowledge of SEO. I do hope you do not mind if all the links pointing to EzineArticles become no-follow, talk about a ranking drop for you. It is a proven fact that after an algorithm change, some sites may experience a drop in their ranking, but soon come back to where they were before. As far as i know, you are a business, derive income from ad’s and i will assume most publishers are using your service to further their business opportunities. Clearly, grasping at straws while your panicking about your Google ranking is always bad for everyone involved. I could go on, but from your response to Marte Cliff, you are clearly an SEO expert or don’t really care what happens in the long run.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:24 PM

[Reply]

Frank,

If I knew all there was to know about SEO, I wouldn’t have needed to open up this discussion.

Here is what I do know: Our members are smart and from this discussion, we will flush out the best course of action.

We’re not panicking even though I can see why you might think that is what’s happening. This is a wake-up call that more action is needed.

[Reply]

Frank writes:

Ok, sorry, you may not be panicking, but overreacting may be a better word. Have you checked your competitors, if you dropped in rankings, they surely dropped more. If not, you need to find out why. Any SEO worth his salt, will tell you incoming links of high value will do more for your rankings than anything else you can do. If you no-follow outgoing links, others using this service will tend not to link to you, Google will also see that the links on this site only link internally, and that every link out is basically worthless with no-follow. This has been proven to cause ranking problems as Google will see this as a site with content that goes no where. I urge you to contact an expert in SEO before making too many rash decisions. Your future and your publishers future really depend on it.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

The only problems I have found with SEO is that about 60% of it is about scamming people into paying for things they don’t need or that will only hurt you in the end. 30% of it are people who don’t stay current and focus on what worked previously (which no longer works currently). It’s only the final 10% of the SEO that are legit and good at what they do (I know I used to play in that arena).

Most of the issues about SEO, especially talked about here, are irrelevant and based on outdated info. What we the writers write only impacts you when you start putting nofollow links to them (which is literally you telling the search engines that “I am providing non-relevant content”). What a surprise you got dropped – you told Google the content wasn’t relevant!

I would get rid of all the nofollow attributes in the articles. They are more important for you (EzineArticles) than for the people who wrote the article anyway. They serve as Content Links for you – which are soooo important yet people totally ignore them. Do keep the nofollow attribute in the Blog Post Comments, etc., because that is a whole other kettle of fish.

I would then leave everything else alone. While there are things you can do to SEO up the place, most won’t do much for you because of the layout of the website already. If you want to totally re-do the site, then maybe SEO would be worth your time. In which case I would suggest you learn more about yourself before hiring someone who may not actually be out to help you.

That’s my opinion on the subject anyway – use it as you will.

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

(which is literally you telling the search engines that “I am providing non-relevant content”).

This is very true, Chris. Matt Cutts even said in one of the videos that he did not advise using any nofollow links on your site to another page of your site, (when they were talking about trying to put more juice to the more important pages by nofollowing the less ones) He said, and I almost quote, “You are telling Google that you do not trust nor endorse that page”. If it’s your own website, then you are not only telling Google not to follow it, but you are telling them to DISTRUST it. So when you add that into your writer’s content here, you are telling Google that it’s distrusted. Quite a slap in the face of the author.

On the other hand, I don’t agree that Google picks the most relevant site to give original credit to. If they index an article on one site, and then it shows on another site a week later, they KNOW which site it came from. That goes without saying.

I have also seen no evidence that links are de-valued when an author on a blog or anywhere else creates their own link back to the website. That would mean your own interior links to the website would be de-valued too. I do 90% of my SEO work using blogs and links on other sites. It works just fine. If the content is there, and is good, the links flow smoothly and it all works together.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Are you saying you’re an expert SEO or just someone who does SEO? The first part looks like it’s based on legitimate sources, while the rest looks like personal opinion. I ask because there is a billion different opinions about what SEO is about, with very little of it coming from the professional SEOs. The info I’m sharing came from legitimate SEO sources like SEOMOZ, Bruce Clay, Etc. Some of it may not be “cutting edge”, but it’s all relevant.

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

I think my customers would call me an expert, yes. I’ve been making a good living doing it since about 2003. Do I travel over the world and speak like Bruce Clay? No. I’m no public speaker. Do I go to SEO conventions? Yes. Have I met and spoken with Matt Cutts? Yes. Do I understand Google? As much as anyone else does, I think. I read and follow everything that your self-proclaimed professionals like SEOMOZ and Bruce Clay put out, and for the most part I agree with them.

I don’t do pay-per-click and I don’t do large store-front sites, simply because there is only one of me and I’m not able to take on a massive job without spending 6 months or more on it…and I can’t make a living that way. I have plenty of Realtors and small businesses that swear by me, though. So yes, I consider myself an expert.

All this being said, most things about SEO ARE “opinions”. The “professionals” don’t even agree with each other half of the time. I speak from experience and the results I’ve seen after doing nothing but SEO for 7 plus years. I don’t feel they are any more legitimate just because they travel around and speak publicly. Actually you might wonder how they find time to study what we have to study when they are always traveling and being interviewed. I do nothing but study and work on it 24/7.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

That’s exactly my point – there are way too many opinions out there without the benefit of hard facts to back them up. Everyone has an opinion on SEO – look at the posts on this thread alone. However, when you can quantify something through stats and continued use – then you know it works. “It worked for me” has too many holes to know what exactly worked and why. That’s really what separates the top SEO from everyone else – they are big enough to keep accurate stats on every little thing they do and quantify what works and what doesn’t. Not just apply their “opinions” about what works.

As to Bruce Clay – that’s why he has a staff of underlings – they do all the research, data collecting, and correlation work. He’s the guy that gets all the credit and the glory. Take away that staff and he would likely fall to the wayside very quickly. Same with many others – it’s because that have a large number of people working for/with them that keeps them on the top.

I myself have watched too many people calling themselves SEO trying to rip off and take people for a ride because everyone is obsessed with SEO without understanding anything about it. I’m glad you put in the time and effort not to be like them. That’s what I was worried about with you. You presented you knew what you were talking about and many people would believe you regardless of whether you knew what you were talking about or not. I don’t agree with you on some of the points because my data and research says otherwise (again, a matter of opinion).

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

No, I don’t spend my time working up statistics and numbers to prove my points. I do what I do based on daily research and following everything that Matt Cutts and others put out for us. I DO read Bruce Clay’s stuff and respect him. I also respect Danny Sullivan, Grey Wolf, and even more, Jill Whalen. At any given time, they constantly disagree with each other.

But they are all experts in the field. What they don’t do specifically is real estate, which is my niche. I do consider myself an expert there, and with most small business websites. I don’t stray from my niche often. I also have learned how to utilize the social media with SEO and what I do WORKS. I do MARKETING as much as I do SEO. One does very little good without the other. I’ve got many good references and no bad ones that I’m aware of.

Anything that I’ve posted here is my opinion based on experience and knowledge in my field. I’m only trying to offer Chris whatever advice I can. I have only disagreed with you on one or two small items. I don’t know what your attacks on my credibility are based on. If you are concerned, again, check my references.

[Reply]

34

I just typed an incredibly long post only to have it emptied out by this stupid captcha. I entered it correctly too.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:29 PM

[Reply]

Sorry about this Michael.

We fixed the blog this morning to assist those using the mobile version to add their comments. I was notified about it last night by someone else and it’s been fixed.

[Reply]

35

By the way, by playing Google’s game their encouraging you to produce less content. It’s not that you had low-quality articles, it’s just that you had too much of it.

In my opinion this is Google’s problem, but unfortunately, Google’s problem becomes your problem.

As a marketer I can’t say what use EzineArticles would be if the links in resource box were no-follow. I’m not writing for my health.

Don’t let Google destroy you.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:33 PM

[Reply]

Frank writes:

Where do you get the information that Google wants less content? That’s not what they say.

Whose game does ezine play? if you don’t play king Google’s game, you don’t play, period.

[Reply]

36
Ezine Author writes:

Also, you are CONTEMPLATING the 400 word minimum count?

Are you serious? Have you looked at some of the crap you publish on your own damn site here? No wonder Google wants to take you to the boxing ring!

Sometimes I head into the Dating or Relationships niche, for instance, and I see the crappiest, thinnest, and most useless 250 word articles to 270 word articles.

Not only this but the signatures/author bio’s are practically as LARGE as the article itself. I have seen this time and time again, SINCE you declared your war on derivative content.

It seems you say one thing, and do another, then. You said you would cut derivative content, and were looking for genuine content; yet lots of the content I see still has errors in it (spelling, gramatical etc…), and the most vague, and simple tips that any fool can offer.

I am not the first one to notice this, and YOU, Mr. Chris Knight have claimed to notice it as well, yet you still let things slip through.

So are you going to be the guy who lets things slip through, or are you just going to hum and haw, while your traffic dwindles and your real authors steam?

Also, your site is so damn spammy looking. Ads, ads, ads everywhere. You want to talk about trash? Just go on to ONE of your articles in a high traffic niche, and look at 30-50 ads which aren’t even properly aligned with the articles or your frames within the site itself.

That is what is truly ruining your site, you have pasted ad after ad on everything. You take away OUR links calling them spammy, we get to place one to two links in the author box; and you are putting an adsense FARM all over the place?

No wonder Google hates you. They are cracking down on ‘content farms’ that have ads strewn all over them. THEREFORE IF YOU WANT A QUALITY SITE AGAIN, I SUGGEST YOU BRING BACK THE QUALITY.

There was a time when you didn’t have so many damn ads all over the place, and there were less crappy authors etc…

You got some traffic, it got to your head, and you let any foolish author in, and threw ads everywhere like shit hitting the fan.

Maybe, instead, as a suggestion, you could open up your own advertising platform; and make it more relevant, as well as clean on the pages.

But hey, don’t take my advice, just keep throwing the shit against the wall, because some of it’s gotta stick, right?

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:35 PM

[Reply]

Another Ezine Author writes:

What Ezine Author said. Seriously, just look at this page, the number of ads is ridiculous. Every page of this site is so bad you can barely find the article. Google is hammering you because of what you’ve done, not the articles (for the most part) themselves.

Also, size has nothing to do with quality either. The current length requirements are just fine.

Lastly, leave the links in the resource box alone. That’s what we get in return for placing our quality works on your adsense laden site.

[Reply]

As for raising the word count from 250-400 words, we’ll be doing in-depth data analysis this week before we take any action.

As for the number of ads per page, I already said we’re doing a full evaluation of that this week.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

As I’ve said previously – I would look seriously as what articles have the “Share This Article” options used. That is the most important tool you have when it comes to determining what’s “working” and what isn’t – because that comes for your USERS, and not the writers.

[Reply]

Wolfgang Sandt writes:

A vote from the users certainly is not bad. Yet, what do you do, when you are in a small niche like dancing and teaching Argentine Tango. Is a good, original article there irrelevant only because traffic there is not as big as lets say in the weight loss NICHE.

Sincere regards
Wolfgang

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

It’s also not known for spam like the weight loss niche. I’d think you’d have more luck and better results from an article like that than the heavy spam niches. Weidht loss, acai, cialis, all those topics are screened to the Nth now.

[Reply]

37
Tim Gorman writes:

Chris – I want to commend you on the changes you are implementing. Personally I don’t think any author/article marketer will suffer from your changes to EzineArticles.

I’ve been with you since 2005 and gone through many different changes that your team has implemented and it has always improved the results for authors, visitors and EzineArticles.

I’m particularly excited at the mentioning of fewer ads and like the increase in the required minimum word count.

I don’t believe the no-follow will hurt as much as folks think because as long as their article content is high quality they will still attract visitors and the end goal should be to see our submitted/published articles ranking well for the keyword terms we have targeted.

Personally, I like the idea of exclusive content and have been preaching that for several months to many of my customers/clients.

Looking forward to seeing EzineArticles bounce back quickly as I know you will.

Respectfully,
Tim Gorman

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:35 PM

[Reply]

38
Andrew writes:

You are absolutely right. Google now ranks spammy web 1 (older spammy web 1) better than ever. This is a mistake. Cutts probably thinks that it takes effort to create a web1 so let’s put them ahead of web 2. This is crazy. I am Russian and I know a lot of my friends are now celebrating cuz their black hat domains are up there. LOL

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:44 PM

[Reply]

39

The links on my article titled Wet Weight of Marijuana and Criminal and Tax Law were informative links, most were to independent websites to confirm my points and to my sources in the article’s bibliography. It was grandfathered in at one point as you kept lowering the number of links. My article has been picked up my many websites that found the article very informative:

http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2007/sep/22/drug_taxes_out_control_violating#comment-5876

http://www.campusbug.com/ezwriting/file.php?id=40658

http://cannabis-card.info/a40677-weight-of-marijuana-and-criminal-and.cfm

http://www.essaychief.com/free_essays.php?essay=1753011&title=Weight-Of-Marijuana-And-Criminal-And-Tax-Law

As one of the more informative (no-spam) articles on your site with over 50,000 views, it’s obvious your review process is flawed because my quality article was removed many times for too many links which pointed to sources for my info and then deleted totally while most articles I’ve glanced at on your site are thinly and poorly disguised sales pitches.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 8:49 PM

[Reply]

40
Julie writes:

If you are considering implementing ‘nofollow’, it should be for new articles that are submitted.

People worked hard writing content in exchange for backlinks and if that is taken away, they are going to feel piqued. Such actions would show that EzineArticles only cares about itself and not much towards the contributors.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:02 PM

[Reply]

Julie,

When or if we ever do it, I’m pretty certain it’d become a site-wide change.

For now, as I’ve already shared a few times… The NOFOLLOW attribute is off the discussion table. No changes will be made with that for now so we can focus on bigger challenges such as derivative content and improving our editorial review processes.

[Reply]

41
Dan Ho writes:

well, I don’t think the last rant posted above me was fair. Nothing level about it. By the way, it’s “grammatical” not “gramatical.”

However, even though I disliked that rant, a couple of valid points were raised in it. Nobody is perfect but sometimes it’s frustrating when some perfectly fine articles are rejected for seemingly small details when those articles are far superior to some stuff that gets accepted at EzineArticles.

For example, I was just surfing the homepage of EzineArticles and this article (at least at the time of this typing) is live on the homepage right now.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Breat-Implants-Are-Not-The-Only-Option!-Think-Before-You-Go-Under-The-Knife!&id=5978405

“Breat Implants?” I mean c’mon now.

Again, nobody is perfect, but content like that should not be making it through.

Regards,
Dan

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM

[Reply]

42

Hello. Even after reading all of the comments to this point I still don’t understand what this means:

“The rel=”NOFOLLOW” attribute will be added to all links on all articles very soon. Currently, it’s included in the article body of any links but now it’ll also be included in the resource box.”

Does that mean the links in resource boxes will or may no longer be live links that actually go somewhere? I guess that would mean they are not resource boxes?

Regarding the scraped articles: I have had complete articles submitted to other article submission sites without my name or resource box and with minor (and incorrect or sloppy) changes to make them ‘original.’ By contacting the article submission sites, I was able to get them removed but that takes time and effort.

Thanks for your response about the no-follow question.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM

[Reply]

Kathryn,

Please see my response to Harriet:
http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2011/02/search-engine-algorithm-changes.html#comment-79011

The NOFOLLOW tag is an ATTRIBUTE that doesn’t change the active or inactive nature of any link. As I’ve already said a few times, this issue is off the table for now.

[Reply]

43

Re: Keywords.

Raising the bar and allowing even fewer keywords would make it really hard to keep clarity for readers. There are some topics that just don’t easily lend themselves to using alternative phrases.

Thanks again!

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:11 PM

[Reply]

I know Kathryn!

This is exactly why it’s such a difficult thing to moderate effectively.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

I’ll tell you the truth about KEYWORDS in a simple mathematical phrase:

1 / # of keywords = relevancy

The higher the relevancy the more relevant the work, page, article, website, etc. A Relevancy of “1″ is the BEST option.

[Reply]

44
Dan Ho writes:

By the way, that article I posted above is filled with typos as well. Whoever approved that article was totally asleep at the wheel.

Just sayin’

Regards,
Dan

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:14 PM

[Reply]

Dan,

Generally, we don’t fix grammar or spelling in blog comments.

Not enough time in the day and we’d rather discuss the substance of the comments rather than reject a good argument because it’s filled with typo’s.

[Reply]

Lars writes:

Chris, Dan was referring to the Ezine article he linked to within his previous comment. And he makes a good point: one can find plenty of published articles on EzineArticles where the editors appeared to be asleep at the wheel.

Auditing previously approved articles and improving your review process going forward appears to be a necessity.

[Reply]

45
Ezine Author writes:

Oh, and by the way: Where do bulk authors stand?

I find that lots of people seem to associate ‘bulk’ with junk. But, it’s like this: junk is junk.

Bulk does not necessarily mean junk; but does it mean that to you, Mr. Chris Knight?

You suggested in the previous post that authors should be submitting 200-500 articles; thus you are encouraging people to write and submit more.

Yet at the same time you are suggesting that you are going to be implicating tons of more rules, strict implications, and are literally saying you will reject even more articles now.

Where do bulk authors stand then? Are you going to impose upon the good writers, the ones who submit regularly (even daily?), because of the other crappy writers?

My experience with you, EzineArticles; and the experience of others who talk about you, is that you kick THEM, the good and consistent authors, because they are the most noticeable; instead of the crappy and inconsistent authors.

Is this going to continue and become worse now that you are sweating a bit over Google? Or are you actually going to finally sit down and look at the real problems?

P.S. How long does it take to figure out that your website is an ad-sense farm; and how long does it take to figure out how to clean that problem up?

It was always a problem to begin with, you just let it run until it became overbearing. Good going Einstein!

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:24 PM

[Reply]

Like you said, junk is junk… and whether it’s one article or in bulk; we’ll be focusing on continuing to curb the thin, derivative article vomit that lead to this… in addition to reviewing our ad layout.

I still maintain that it’s possible to scale article writing to produce thousands of high quality original articles but that takes serious effort.

[Reply]

46
Ezine Author writes:

Honestly, I only notice the good writers suffer; because you can’t effectively manage the crappy ones.

Let’s not forget that it’s YOUR employees who let the junk roll on through. So where are your quality standards then?

Are writers even supposed to WANT to comply with your standards, when you don’t clearly apply them to everyone? Are writers supposed to want to trust you, when your employees clearly don’t even do their job 100% of the time.

Then you come back blaming EVERYONE (all of the writers) but yourself, and your employees. You employ editors to ENSURE that the crap doesn’t roll through, and while you claim the rejection rate is 46% or whatever it is, it’s ONLY GOOD IF YOU ACTUALLY REJECT THE CRAP.

What I hear and know is that you let the crap through, quite clearly I could show you so many damn examples of junk that you let on your site. Yet you use reservation against authors who actually have potential here.

You already had your supposed derivative content crackdown, where you told people they couldn’t even write in their own niches; or suggested to some authors that they were writing derivative.

Yet I noticed that tons and tons of articles were still surfacing with crappy “DERIVATIVE” content, useless tips, and the same stuff you can find anywhere else.

In the end, why are your own editors letting this through? It’s YOUR approval methods that let it through in the end. How are you actually going to monitor and try to determine then, what quality content is; when you clearly just have no clue?

Google too, has no clue right now either. Look at all the sites you see up there, taking your place, taking the rankings of EzineArticles authors.

It’s funny to watch both Google and You try to determine and tell us what quality content should be; when you clearly have no way to regulate it, and clearly have no clue.

You kick down the good authors, the good content; just like Google does. Now Google has kicked you down, because instead of helping the good authors, you harmed them by being more lenient with crappy writers; and by becoming more strict with regular authors!

Good going Einstein!

There’s just so much wrong here.

P.S. Your statement and address of the Google crackdown is weak; because you still aren’t sure. The only certain thing you offered was the No Follow option.

BUT, like I said, you are saying that our links are crap; when you allow a Google adsense farm of links to sit all over your site.

In the end you have to save your butt; but remember it’s authors who write the content that keeps your site running….there has to be something mutual here. Be careful that you don’t burn your bridges!

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:34 PM

[Reply]

Alex writes:

That’s right. I can see so many crappy spammy-topics articles on EzineArticles that got approved. It’s not 100% author’s fault. Your editors got to share the blame as well.

[Reply]

Point’s taken.

I’ve already taken responsibility that our Editors have some serious improving to do but ultimately, I’m the one responsible for what our quality standards were in the past and what they will be in the future.

It’s clear that I and we didn’t do enough.

If I was sure about what to do, I wouldn’t have let this post to accept comments; but instead, I knew we have a lot of members who have serious/smart clues that we need to pay attention to in order to overcome the issues.

[Reply]

Edward Weiss writes:

You’re absolutely right about Google not having a clue. I’ve been online for over 10 years now. I was #1 for the search term ‘piano lessons’ for a while and then, suddenly fell off – for no f—-ing reason!!

But not to worry. The #1 site for that search term does a lot of keyword stuffing. Something Google supposedly hates – yet it hasn’t stopped this site for being #1 for 10 freaking years.

Down with Google!

[Reply]

47

Chris,

It is still early in the evaluation of this but I think many of the proposals will not help EZA’s rankings.

The question is, what changes were made in the Google algorithm that caused the rankings drop?

We do not need 300 word garbage articles to now be 400 word garbage articles. Rather, what is needed is quality content, of whatever length, that results in people clicking the author’s resource box link instead of hitting the back button on their web browser.

While that is not Adsense profits to EzineArticles, I think too many people visit the site and see a page full of ads surrounding some overly general content that is, frankly, worthless.

What do they do? Quickly hit the back button and in the new Chrome browser block EzineArticles from their search results.

What does Google’s computer algorithm see and how is “quality” evaluated by a computer?

- Minimal time spent on a page.
- High bounce rate.
- Ad space a high percentage of page area compared to text space.
- Thousands of varied topics with no real focus.
- Thousands of links to terrible websites that also have no real value.
- Lower domain CTR in the search listings.

Possible solutions:

- Authors will squawk about the subjective nature of this, but more rigorous quality screening about the general vs. specific nature of an article. While EzineArticles moderators are not experts, there are obvious categories of generic junk – a couple of which you mentioned.

So this would not have to be an across the board evaluation. But for certain categories this could be applied.

Chris, I know you can look at an article in a split second know if it has quality or not. When you see dozens of pending articles by someone and they start to all have this problem, I assume they’re promptly banned.

- A notice which tells a visitor that if the article does not answer their question that they may find an answer in another article, and to either offer a couple other article links or a search box. This could improve bounce rate / time on site factors.

- More subcategories so there are more “silos” of closely related articles.

- Again subjective, but an evaluation of what sites are being linked to. I do not think this is solved by a nofollow. But it is real easy to look at the destination site and see low value, such as a poor affiliate site or often a site of PLR articles.

So what you get is a generic article linking to a poor website. Why should Google reward a page with rankings when the purpose of that page is to link to another web page that Google does not value?

On the positive side, can you imagine what has happened to the rankings of the junk article directories that automatically accept anything coming their way?

- Brian Kindsvater

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM

[Reply]

Thanks Brian K. for your vary thoughtful comments.

Yeah, at least our competitors who have lower standards were decimated.

I can tell you that we already do landing page quality scoring and we also have a serious behind-the-scenes dead link checking system to ensure that we deliver our users with a good experience.

I also agree and have already stated that we are going to over-correct in certain spammy topical areas. We’ve already done some of this last year and I can see we need to do a better job here yet.

I still think some over-correcting across the board is due along with some hard decisions that we’ll share in the coming weeks.

[Reply]

48
Liz Bolton writes:

Adding No Follow to the resource box links would eliminate any reason for me to post here. I don’t mind submitting unique content but if links are No Follow there’s no reason for me to bother. I’m sure that’s true for many others. Bummer!

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 9:48 PM

[Reply]

49
Alex writes:

The page views per article have decreased over the years due to immense competition (I have submitted well over 500 articles since 2007, almost all >400 words, rarely get rejected by editors, non-spammy topics).

Nowadays I don’t get a lot of traffic through EzineArticles itself.

The #1 reason why I still submit to EzineArticles is because of the dofollow links.

If you make it exclusive to EzineArticles, + nofollow links + no revenue sharing, there is totally ZERO incentive for people to submit article to EzineArticles.

What EzineArticles should do is to weed out spammy topics like acai berry, male enhancement, grow taller etc. Spammy topics usually lead to low quality articles and low quality sites.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 10:08 PM

[Reply]

50

“No Follow” means that the link will not give “link juice” anymore. Without going into detail, they (EZA) do this to “put off” spammers which publish articles solely for the purpose of gaining valuable “backlinks”.

However, whether this is a wise move is another question. The current global -25 rankings penalty is significant (to say it mildly)..add the “NoFollow” attribute and soon there is no reason why someone would want to put an article on ezine anymore. Sorry, this is the harsh reality.

While i in general agree with the recent Google change so do i disagree that article-sites like EzineArticles obviously got hit by a “global” penalty which deranks ANY article, regardless of the actual quality of the individual article!

This would be a wrong move since Google needs to value QUALITY regardless of where its published.

Google makes it too easy, basically admitting its unable to differ between “bad quality” content and good content – instead applying such a general penalty and thinks it has done something smart.

Ranking bad articles high “because they are on EzineArticles” is at least as dumb as de-ranking ALL articles and keywords now down -35 positions.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 10:09 PM

[Reply]

51
Michael writes:

I don’t agree with the idea of adding the no follow attribute in the author resource box but in the event that you decide to do this, will you be doing this for newly submitted articles or are you planning on adding this attribute to existing articles as well should you decide in the end to do any of this at all.
We’ve enjoyed posting to you sites and I particulary enjoyed your recent blog entitled “Think Big With Article Marketing”. Taking those do follow links away somewhat goes against what the theme of that Blog piece was about to a great degree.
Thank you.

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 11:39 PM

[Reply]

52
Evelyn writes:

I find good and bad in the recent Google re-alg. The bad (before re-alg) being that ONE of my articles on EzineArticles pertaining to a keyword outranked my fully loaded keyword targeted content on my own site. Now, my site ranks first. As a searcher I would have LIKED to land on my site first – and not have to read an entire article and THEN be taken to the site that matters.

I cannot figure out how ONE article on Ezine can outrank an entire site. It’s CRAZY!

Comment provided February 26, 2011 at 11:56 PM

[Reply]

53
J Richard Jones writes:

So you’re considering removing content that is not exclusive to EzineArticles?

You really need to look into that one. I currently have 1 article that was lifted from your site, spun slightly and reposted on no less then 30 other article directories with links to his site replacing my own.

Nothing you or I can do about it and I’m sure the practice will continue.

So now you will be removing my articles because someone else does not play by the rules?

Not good!

J Richard Jones

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:03 AM

[Reply]

My experience was that if you contact the other article submission sites and show them your original article, they will remove the stolen article and will allow you to replace it with the original article–yours. And they will not allow the thief to submit articles to them again (at least, not under the name they used.) Takes time and effort to do.

[Reply]

Maria writes:

You’re joking right? Some “syndicate” these kinds of rewritten articles with software or through submitters to hundreds of directories per day. Do you honestly think that we have the time to go to hunt down some Indian article directories to take off some plagiarized articles from Eza?

[Reply]

54
Michael writes:

As we stated previously we hope that you DO NOT implement the “no follow” attribute. In the event that you do however, you may want to consider implementing it for authors that are not submitting top notch material to begin with and leave your preferred expert authors as they were with do follow links in tact.
THere is one other article site that does this and it seems to work out fine for them and their authors. I gtuess the idea behind this is authors need to earn the do follow attribute.
Just a suggestion.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:09 AM

[Reply]

Michael,

That’s an interesting suggestion… To make NOFOLLOW be the default and it can be earned to DOFOLLOW with proof of quality content.

We don’t be acting on that suggestion for now as I’ve already taken the NOFOLLOW issue off the table, but I appreciate the idea.

[Reply]

Susan Greene writes:

I don’t agree with Michael’s suggestion, Chris — to make NOFOLLOW be the default, and it can be earned to DOFOLLOW tih proof of quality content.

Why would you publish content that isn’t good quality? Isn’t that what the whole Google algorithm change is about? If it’s not good quality, it doesn’t belong in Google’s rankings, and I would hope it also doesn’t belong on EzineArticles.

(And yes, I realize you’ve already taken the NOFOLLOW issue off the table. Yay!)

[Reply]

Michael writes:

Susan, just to clarify… this was a suggestion I put on the table assuming that Mr. Knight was going to convert everything to no-follow which I did not agree with. I just felt if he was going to do this, he might as well at least allow some of the so called expert authors a chance to have the do follow reinstated. Mr. Knight however removed the no-follow from the table AFTER I had made this suggestion.

[Reply]

John writes:

Well, the same argument of quality vs nofollow could be applied to almost anything user generated including blog comments, tweets, etc. I guess the question is: what kind of hands-on editing is being done, and can it keep up with volume?

The other big thing is affiliate links, because last I read the EzineArticles terms, they were allowed if they were redirected from the root of a domain. Prohibiting all affiliate links would definitely upgrade the value of resource boxes, if it hasn’t already been banned.

Taking care of affiliate links and implementing the improvements listed OTHER than a broad nofollow should do a good bit to improve the authority of this site. I actually stopped submitting here this time last year, because based on the volume of junk I was being buried under, I expected this Google crash to happen sooner or later.

Hey, at least EZine still has good pagerank, unlike a lot of those article directories that don’t really review anything at all unless it gets a bunch of complaints.

[Reply]

Jonathan writes:

Hi Chris,

It should be noted that Hubpages do this with their links and they’ve also been hit hard by this update.

I believe that, as you said, the whole NOfollow thing is probably not relevant to this current situation.

[Reply]

Michael writes:

Mr. Knight,
Just to clarify as I did with Susan earlier… this was a suggestion I put on the table assuming that you WERE in fact going to convert everything to no-follow which I did not agree with. I just felt as long as you were going to do it anyway, that you might as well at least allow some of your expert authors a chance to have the do follow reinstated. You however removed the no-follow idea from the table AFTER I had made this suggestion.
There have been some good and interesting ideas and statments made on this blog and I feel confident that you will come out just fine in the end without hurting those of us who play by the rules. Thanks Mr. Knight.

[Reply]

55
Orenthal writes:

You say that you’re ‘nofollowing’ our link(s) because we should use the links for traffic and not link juice. Then, you claim the links have been devalued by G and don’t give juice anyway. So why ‘nofollow’ them? Did G tell you to do this, or is this something you’ve been planning all along once your use base reached a certain critical mass?

Hey, if you’re so worried about us getting traffic from our links, how about giving us the opportunity to get a decent link above the fold?

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:15 AM

[Reply]

56
Brian Miller writes:

I would have to agree. Applying it to everyone is basically going to kill the authors writing. Some of the authors are paid by companies to do just this…. so doing the nofollow may not help your article submissions at all.

DemandMedia is going thru the same mess from what I hear.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:15 AM

[Reply]

Brian,

I heard they ironically came out on top:
http://www.seobook.com/google-kills-ehows-competitors

[Reply]

57
J Richard Jones writes:

All these changes because of 2 day? Thursday and Friday? Isn’t this a bit of a knew jerk reaction? I thought the ones who produced quality content had nothing to worry about because once everything settles down the cream always floats to the top.

What r u so worried about? Calm down and see what happens before upsetting the entire apple cart over two bad days!

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:18 AM

[Reply]

Absolutely not J. Richard!

It’s a wake up call to take more action, to raise standards and over-correct to ensure our best expert authors content rises back to the top.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

As long as you understand, that math is not the answer, if you turn to math, you’re going to find yourself in this position once more as people find a means to circumvent it. I’d suggest, that instead of math, you look at your editorial “team”.

[Reply]

58
Rach72 writes:

Totally in agreement with those against the no-follow change.

IF (and that’s a big if) we were to not value the link-juice your articles give us, it would be because of the amount of adsense that you have on your pages – as you have pointed out, these ads make you look bad in Googles eyes, but you are looking to decrease the number of ads – a good thing. Why don’t you ‘tai ho’ on the no-follow and see what happens?

Also – I have to say it, do all these changes affect every author, including those members who are paying for your service, or are the free submitters once again going to be penalized so you can accept crap from your premium members?

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 1:01 AM

[Reply]

59
Jamie writes:

I agree with most of the comments above.

Whilst you claim to be here to represent the quality authors you are in fact here to make money, hence the ads all over your site.

If you scaled back those ads and increased your quality control then you would not have an issue.

Implementing the “no follow” attribute will mean authors who write for this site to gain both traffic and backlinks will go elsewhere. They will continue to do this until that new site becomes too bif for its boots as well and then they will move on yet again.

A quality article with a resource box giving a backlink to a quaity site is a win for all.

Throwing the baby out with the bath water is a sure way for all to lose.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 1:07 AM

[Reply]

60
anonymous platinum author writes:

I’m not going to argue with you regarding the merits of adopting rel=”nofollow” on our articles because I feel it is futile and it’s a change you’re going to make regardless of how we feel about it. After years of abuse, it was inevitable that this day would come and it did last week.

As a platinum author who worked hard to attain that title, I was under the impression that it was given on the basis of trust and quality submissions. By adding rel=”nofollow” to my author box, you are effectively saying that our relationship, one that we have shared for many years is no longer one based on trust or track record.

I have always submitted unique and well written content to EzineArticles and considered it mutually beneficial; I get an anchor text link of some debatable value as well as clickthroughs to my website and in return you receive my unique content which earns you revenue through various advertising programs.

But that will no longer be the case. I don’t submit unique articles to any other article directory because they’re not prepared to come to the table and offer something in return. If EzineArticles adopt such changes, I will no longer contribute and I am sure many other quality writers will follow suit. That will only further compound the problems that EzineArticles is now facing.

This is the end result of your greed. It’s the end result of publishing crap content for years upon years to earn more revenue. Your actions have not only hurt your company but also hurt those of us who didn’t abuse the system; the life blood of your website.

The only people that complain about the “strict guidelines” adopted by EzineArticles are those who intend to abuse the system. I have almost 250 articles published on EzineArticles and over the past 3 years, I have never had a single one rejected. That’s almost 250, unique, well researched and well written articles.

The damage to your trust, authority and reputation was self inflicted by your editors, not us. The final say about what content is published lies on your shoulders and yours alone.

The only change that needs to be made is improved quality control. You claim that your traffic is down by 35% but I would claim you were never entitled to this traffic to begin with and Google agrees.

Once you get back to enforcing the strict quality guidelines and not just promoting them, the traffic will slowly return and so will our faith in publishing on your platform.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 1:32 AM

[Reply]

Paying Member Of EzineArticles writes:

Some authors have well over 1000 articles. Some authors have well over 5000 articles. Some authors have over 10,000 articles.

Do you really think EzineArticles cares about your 250 articles then? The only way they’d care is if each article alone was pulling in 6 figures of traffic.

One would have to think, that the more REGULAR authors, such as the ones with over 10,000 articles NOT the abusive authors, are the ones who may be hit hard by strict EzineArticles guidelines.

Put it this way: who would you hit harder, and would be an easy target for Ezine’s wavy rules?

People who submit consistent content? Or people who submit who knows when?

Which is easier to pick on? Guess who gets picked on then: the consistent authors, the ones who have tons and tons of articles out. The ones who spend hours after hours writing and writing, only to get punched in the face by EzineArticles while they watch other crook authors slip free.

I am tired of EzineArticles’ editors seemingly sleeping on the job. They claim they don’t let us authors sleep on the job, right?

They put all the implications on the most frequent and quality oriented authors. Why should we uphold rules that EzineArticles doesn’t even uphold themselves?

[Reply]

Maria writes:

Oh yes they will care when the bulk of the people writing here will take their articles elsewhere. We write for free, we hardly get any clicks through our sites because of the many ads that EzineArticles is getting rich from (oh sorry they are already rich on our backs), we don’t get any revenue sharing like from Suite101.com and now we will have even that little allowance of a dofollow backlink taken away from us?

[Reply]

anonymous platinum author,

Agreed and you shall see a change in our Editorial standards this coming week.

We’re not going after authors with bulk submitted content but I can tell you for several years now, we pay close attention monthly to authors who rise to the top in terms of submission volume to ensure they are ideal members. It always results in 80-90% of them being contacted privately to let them know areas that we are not on the same page or ideal for each other.

As I said in an earlier comment, I take full responsibility for the need of our team to raise our Editorial standards to keep thin/derivative/crappy article vomit content out. This is the top priority.

[Reply]

61
Kent writes:

You’ve built your site and business on the backs of others, and now you want to kick them to the curb? You can certainly anticipate a significant drop in contributions, especially of quality content. After all, who is going to contribute good content in return only for a small handful of mediocre click throughs? Nobody with any common sense.

I would also imagine that a large number of people will remove their content from your site (rescinding your license) and instead use it where it will do them far more good: on their own sites.

You’ve got a really big problem on your hands. You need to rethink your strategy, fast.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 1:54 AM

[Reply]

62
Franco writes:

The no-follow change is a big mistake I think.

You are basically asking for possibly unique content to your site only, with no rev share, no link juice and less chanced of getting ranked in the SERPS since the algo change.

Doesn’t seem like a good deal for any writer.

Why should someone write unique content for EzineArticles?

Besides, did Google say anything about changing your links to no-follow?

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 2:35 AM

[Reply]

63
kiev apartments writes:

the latest political events makes Google to create another tactics for quality content and turn down noising garbage. That is a question not only of Google but to all of us – what info we like to get? what info we generate and allow to generate other contributors?

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 2:42 AM

[Reply]

64
Henri writes:

im sure with the no-follow tag, you will lose lot of visitors!

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 2:45 AM

[Reply]

65
Rich Russell writes:

The NO FOLLOW thing is irrelevant.

Article length. Quantity doesn’t equal quality. If your editors can’t tell if an article has something fresh and original to say, regardless of its length, why are they in the job.

Unique content. If is implemented, my content will be staying on my own site.

You continue to nit pick over small details while there are clearly bigger issues that need to be addressed.

How can certain ‘authors’ produce hundreds of articles and have every one sitting at the top of the ‘most viewed’ list. It is certainly not due to the quality of the articles.

Do you look at where those clicks are coming from? What is their bounce rate like?

Or are they too big and valuable to have to worry about your quality requirements.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 2:47 AM

[Reply]

Rich,

I can tell you that we study the stats behind-the-scenes nonstop and whenever someone unnaturally occupies the most viewed lists, we take action.

It’s clear though that we need to take even more action.

We also do have several site-security team members who investigates suspicious patterns and member/user complaints. Know your voice is heard and we’ll be monitoring this closely.

[Reply]

66
Helen writes:

As you manually review every article but still accept total junk I guess this change was a long-time coming?

No-following the links is a terrible decision and isn’t going to attract quality contributors.

Raising your editorial standards by at least 500% is the only way you’ll come back from this in my opinion.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 3:05 AM

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67
Emiel writes:

There are much better ways to handle this before you start blaming us for your low quality articles. You shouldn’t point the finger at us, but at your editorial team. There is so much wrong with your thinking.

First you talk about the quality of the articles, related to the amount of words.

“Currently we give less exposure to articles that are between 250-400 words, but we still accept them. Thin content often comes under 400 words; even though I have seen many high quality articles in the 250-400 range, it is rare.”

Question: Why did your editorial team let those articles through? If it is good quality: it is. If it isn’t: reject it.

“rel=”NOFOLLOW” attribute will be added to all links on all articles very soon”

This absolutely makes NO sense at all. This has nothing to do with your traffic. The point is: If the article contains unique great content AND links to resources where searches can find more indepth information, this actually is considered a GOOD thing. Start looking more at the websites the articles link to and question yourself: “does this relate to this article?” This has nothing to do with nofollowing those links.

“Our keyphrase and keyword density limits are already thought to be too intense by many, but it’s clear to us that spammers can be identified by statistically unusual keyphrase limits. Watch for the bar to be raised here.”

WHY? This too makes no sense at all. The 2% is already a good standard. The rest is a task for your editorial team to determine the quality of the articles.

A tip: Take a good look at your editorial team and start to increase quality there. Don’t start thinking too much about the mathematical side of this.

Your blog post looks like the one of a scared man who actually don’t really know what is happening, so you start to implementing these wild and crazy ideas thinking that it will help your rankings and traffic, when in fact it won’t. It all comes down to quality articles, this isn’t about keyword density, the amount of words and no follow links. If you really think those factors will help you, you have been living on the moon for the past years.

If you really think your traffic will increase through this basic thinking, you will see this will backfire even more than this algorithm change.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 3:44 AM

[Reply]

Emiel,

This blog post was crafted with input from our team… who studied this issue, read thousands of comments on other forums, drilled into our own data and made recommendations as to what changes we should make.

I’m not blaming you or anyone. I’m just sharing our action plan for how we’re going to address this issue.

I do agree with you that we must focus on only letting quality original articles to be published and this is our top priority. I had already admitted we have work to do here.

[Reply]

68
Darrell writes:

Hi Chris

Well, the Google crackdown is affecting many article sites and not just EzineArticles. There are many people scratching their heads this week for sure. In reality though, should any of us really be surprised that Google introduced this new update.

I mean they have been talking about getting rid of the spam and low quality content for as long as I can remember. This has been their core business philosophy since the beginning of their existence.

They have always wanted to give their customers – you, me and everyone else the best and most useful information. Does it always happen? Hell no – not even close…But, as their technology improves, expect more sites to take hits in the future. They want the best content on the top results period.

People need to wake up and understand that Google has billions of dollars in profit at stake and they will certainly do what they need to do to ensure they remain the dominant player in organic searches.

I would suggest you not switch over to the no follow attribute. There needs to be a balance versus over reacting as adding the no follow is not your core issue or problem in my opinion.

If quality content is the issue, then its a combination of the people submitting content and you and your staff for allowing those articles to be accepted.

** So, in reality this problem stems really from you and your direction that you set up for your staff to follow. **

In your opening of this post, you talk (preach is more like it) about the high quality content that your article directory is about. Honestly, do you really believe that? The reason I say this, is because I have seen my share of absolute crap articles that have been accepted in EzineArticles.

I mean stuff that I can’t even understand how it got past your initial review. I think one of the responses above made a reference already, so its not necessary to go there again.

Nobody is perfect and I am far from it and have made my share of article mistakes along the way. The reality is this, you got stung big time and ultimately this is going to cost you big dollars and potentially staff layoffs. That is something nobody wants I am sure of that.

So, what is the best way to fix the situation?

Well, I applaud you for wanting to increase stricter article controls and higher minimums to get articles approved. That is a given, considering what has happened to your site and its rankings drop.

It also means, your staff will need to improve their knowledge levels too and seriously reject the crap stuff period. Better to have 50% less articles, but have good quality stuff only.

I would also suggest you reduce the amount of Google Ads you have displayed on the pages. Its getting rather annoying to see so many of them. I am sure its been a great ride for you and Google – money wise, but not for the end user. Google seems to turn a blind eye anyways and has many double standards as far as I am concerned.

I am personally glad to see Google introduce the latest changes personally as the playing field was getting skewed and unfair for the big players like Ezine. Why should an article really outrank a quality site only because of its authority overall? I think it shouldn’t, but I am sure that’s debatable on both sides.

The bottom line, we all need to take this as a serious wake up call and start realizing that its going to continue, the clean up by Google and the other search engines. Add real and valuable content, whether it be your own site or here at Ezine. The web is full of useless content.

Like Google has stated repeatedly, write for humans and stop worrying so much about keyword stuffing. Build a site that people find useful and you will have a long term and successful business.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 3:44 AM

[Reply]

I concur Darrell that we must protect our reputation that has been muddied by some of the content we’ve accepted in the past.

I’ve already stated that we’re doing a full evaluation of the number of ads we have per page.

As for whether an article should receive value based on its merits alone or the source of the site it sits on… It should be a combo of both.

[Reply]

69
Shaun Baird writes:

I’ve been very despondant at EzineArticles the past 10+ months.. I hardly ever submit work here any more…

I see so many articles on the site with really bad grammatical errors, so your quality guidelines really need enhancing.. big time..

I make a couple of spelling errors and you make me write another 25 articles to get the free upgrade… oh and then another error and then I have to write 25 more… what a joke.

.. and I really wanted a free mug

If you get rid of the dofollow I feel 50% of people will simply not bother submitting as regular as they did before, apart from the odd no-follow link.

net result – EzineArticles’ adsense income (from all its ads on our content) will drop.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 4:05 AM

[Reply]

70
Jon writes:

Sorry to hear about your downturn in traffic. It’s no fun getting slapped by Google – especially for an organisation with 70 people on the payroll – but it’s important not to over-react and make things even worse.

Some of the items on your action list will make EzineArticles less attractive to authors who write high-quality articles as well as to spammers.

In particular I believe that implementing NOFOLLOW will put a huge dent in the volume of articles submitted. Even allowing for a possible devaluation in trust for links from EzineArticles, I think these links are still the main reason most of us publish on EzineArticles:

It’s certainly not for the traffic – I’m afraid that in my niche at least, EzineArticles doesn’t send nearly enough traffic to justify the cost of having a high quality article created by a professional writer.

We also don’t publish at EzineArticles to get our articles picked up by other sites: In my experience it’s extremely rare for our articles to be re-published elsewhere with the links intact – (though the scrapers who strip the links DO republish them – but that’s of no value to us). Is that just because my articles aren’t good enough? I’ve thought of that – but I can’t find much evidence of other people’s articles being republished on quality sites with the links intact either. Once again – not enough benefit there to justify the cost of creating a decent article.

No, the reason most people publish at EzineArticles is for the SEO value of the backlink from EzineArticles.com. Implement NOFOLLOW, and you take that away.

Of course a big drop in submissions may be what you need right now: If you have 70 people on staff, (mainly dealing with new submissions) that’s presumably a high percentage of your costs. If your revenue has just halved, then you may need to reduce head-count quickly without compromising the quality of the editorial process, and hence reducing submissions volume may seem like the way to go.

Just don’t rush into it: You may have lost trust with Google – but you’re in danger of losing trust with your authors too: Currently the deal is, you get content – and the authors get a followed link. If you change that deal, so that you still get content, but the authors get nothing very much (see above) then you can understand why they won’t be very happy. Many authors have invested heavily (in time or money) to produce these articles.

Some of the damage is already done: The mere suggestion that you might retrospectively implement NOFOLLOW has made me call a halt to a series of articles I was about to commission from a professional writer – intended for publication on EzineArticles. Without a followed link, there isn’t the ROI needed to justify spending hundreds of dollars on writers.

You’re right to say that some competing sites use NOFOLLOW – that’s why we don’t publish with them any more!

As I’m sure you know – NOFOLLOW is a big step for an Article Directory.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 4:08 AM

[Reply]

Thank you Jon for your thoughtful series of comments.

A few years ago I had strongly considered ending EzineArticles as a article syndication site concept… meaning, we would stop the original purpose of the site and deny folks the license rights to reprint your articles. No action was ever taken on that idea.

It was my impression that we had become strong enough to offer a few hundred thousand clicks for free daily to our members overall and this would become the driving reason why our members would continue to submit their best quality original articles.

ie: You give us great content and we give you high value traffic back to your website.

What you and many dozens others have said today is that the DOFOLLOW nature of the resource box link is the primary economic value you receive from us. As I’ve already stated, this was at the bottom of our short list of things to look at changing and as of this morning, it’s been removed from the discussion table.

[Reply]

Ezine Author writes:

I may agree with denying people the licence rights to reprint the articles.

If someone wants their article to be exposed on other sites, then by all means let them get it exposed. I don’t think that is something EzineArticles should be offering anymore, because that option was clearly abused and did not do the Authors nor EzineArticles any good in the end because it lead to the content being over ‘farmed’ on google.

[Reply]

71
Ralf writes:

You may want to think about what the no-follow tag was meant to do in the first place.

That other’s are no-following everything does not really mean it was meant to be used this way.

If your strict guidelines and review policy ensure only quality articles are published…

…then why in the world would there be any reason to no-follow the author’s link?

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 4:13 AM

[Reply]

72
Jon writes:

Just one more thing re NOFOLLOW. If you look here:

http://searchengineland.com/who-lost-in-googles-farmer-algorithm-change-66173

You’ll see a major competitor of yours who uses NOFOLLOW on their outbound links has just lost 94% of their rankings.

So NOFOLLOW doesn’t seem to be very effective in gaining trust from Google.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 5:00 AM

[Reply]

73
bhas writes:

EZA got greedy by placing too much ads.

Well, what goes up must come down.

As for the authors, why don’t you make your own website and post your articles there instead of making someone rich.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 5:12 AM

[Reply]

74
Johnny G writes:

I understand you guys are under a lot of stress at the moment; however you really need to consider this no-follow attribute.

Google does credit these links and so do the other search engines. Recently, I have had websites rank for some keywords and the only links they have is from recent EzineArticles, not even published EzineArticles on other websites. If they weren’t effective, those websites wouldn’t ran.

And after all this is what the World Wide Web is about from the very core. Good information freely linking to other good information. If you take that way, I honestly see a huge negative impact and many of your committed posters will start looking elsewhere.

On a positive note = I hope you guys work this all out so everyone wins.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 5:14 AM

[Reply]

75
Johnny G writes:

I understand you guys are under a lot of stress at the moment; however you really need to consider this no-follow attribute.

Google does credit these links and so do the other search engines. Recently, I have had websites rank for some keywords and the only links they have is from recent EzineArticles, not even published EzineArticles on other websites. If they weren’t effective, those websites wouldn’t rank.

And after all this is what the World Wide Web is about from the very core. Good information freely linking to other good information. If you take that way, I honestly see a huge negative impact and many of your committed posters will start looking elsewhere.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 5:15 AM

[Reply]

76
Dave Robinson writes:

Hi,

The article is the give the resource box is the take, I think Ezine actually say this somewhere. You need to increase the editorial activity not remove the followed links.

They may offer little in the way of link juice but this would change if you became stricter with what you accept.

Do you really believe Google will welcome you back with open arms if you start no following? Who do you need more? Authors or Google? A catch 22 if ever there was one.

d

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 5:38 AM

[Reply]

77
Will Spencer writes:

You’re panicking and announcing changes before you even know what triggered the algorithmic downgrade of your site.

Relax. Don’t panic. Take a few weeks to analyze the sites that profited from this update and the sites that lost from this update.

Then, make a strategic plan and take action.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 6:17 AM

[Reply]

78
Chris writes:

While I understand you have to roll with the punches that Google throws, I think the decision to “nofollow” all links is very short-sighted. While your traffic may have fallen sharply over a period of a few days, I think long-term you will lose much more traffic in the form of not getting nearly as many new high quality articles published if you have removed one of the key reasons to publish content on the site. It seems Google might not reward you for this shift anyways, since removing all the “followed” outbound links might be seen by Google as an attempt to retain all that pagrerank “juice” for this site itself.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 6:34 AM

[Reply]

79
Louise writes:

Basically the software developed for spamming article sites has killed great directories IMHO, as others have pointed out adsense may be a factor but the real reason is automated software writing poor quality articles.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 6:40 AM

[Reply]

80

Hi,

This new google algorithm , affects more than 12% websites , like they said . Most of my websites god hit also . Anyways , spammers kept you in high rankings , so don’t judge them to hard .

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 6:44 AM

[Reply]

81
Steve C writes:

So the EzineArticles response is to throw the baby out with the batch water! I fully support all attempts to rid both EzineArticles and Google’s search of spam. However, the list of draconian measures in this article is like striking the final nail into Ezine Article’s coffin!

You have already admitted that Google don’t want content farms in it’s index and to differentiate yourself from this you want to attract expert authors more. How are you going to do this? By punishing the very authors you want to attract!!

It is nothing short of crazy to nofollow links in resource boxes and as for making the content totally unique to Ezine? I have to ask (as an expert author of 6 years) WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME? Quite clearly nothing, so I say farewell EzineArticles, if you are hell bent on spitting your dummy out rather than employing some better editors, then the journey is over for you.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 6:54 AM

[Reply]

82
Stephanie Clark writes:

I , too, am not in agreement with the exclusivity idea. Because I am not paid for these articles, I believe they are mine to reuse and repurpose. And this I do.
It would be unfair, in my opinion, to expect these articles to be exclusive to EzineArticles.
As a writer, who makes or tries to make a living via writing (increasing difficult proposition), I already do enough writing for which I am not paid and from which I receive no tangible benefits other than a web-presence.
I hope you’ll keep those of us who strive to support ourselves strictly by writing, in mind, when you consider the exclusivity clause. Thank you!

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 7:03 AM

[Reply]

83
Sandra writes:

I for one think no-follow will put a lot of authors off who value that traffic, but hey it’s your site do what you like. Just don’t cry if you get no writers.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 7:07 AM

[Reply]

84
Shaun78 writes:

I seem to recall Right after the nofollow tag was introduced that Chris made an announcement that he promised that EzineArticles would NEVER implement the nofollow tag in their users’ links.

I guess never means, ‘until we change our minds.’

There are numerous theories going around which state that the nofollow tag is one of the causes of this penalty. I don’t see how it could help ezines to start using it now.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 7:09 AM

[Reply]

Shaun78,

I have NEVER said that.

For now and as of this morning, I’ve already removed the NOFOLLOW from list of action items for us to consider as it’s clear that we’ve got more work to do on making sure we don’t publish article vomit.

[Reply]

85
Andrew Horder writes:

Improved and stricter editorial filtering should not be a problem for authors producing quality content. If EzineArticles if noticing a higher proportion of poor-quality in lower word-count, then increasing that makes sense.

The idea of having different levels of control – eg smaller articles, do-follows – for authors who have earned their stripes is appealing. A challenge would be to avoid alienating those who don’t ‘make the grade’, and having one rule for ‘them’ and another for ‘us’ would almost certainly mean an increase in flaming of the site owners.

Taking away do-follow WILL mean fewer articles submitted, I’m certain. And regrettably, that won’t be only the spammy ones that reduce. So unless EzineArticles has had a specific steer from Google to go to no-follow (I’ve heard that other sites have had such guidance in the past, though that may be apocryphal), I’d suggest seeing what effect stricter editorial policies has first.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 7:33 AM

[Reply]

Andrew,

Google has not given us any insights as to what to do and I agree; We’re going to see what stricter editorial policies can have an affect first and I expect it won’t change their perception overnight.

Majority of our ideal authors who already write and submit high quality content have nothing to worry about.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Everything Google does is first and foremost about RELEVANCY. When you have it you’re at the top, when you don’t you’re not – that simple!

[Reply]

Colin writes:

Relevancy may be first, but Google was built on combining it with links. Links have been foundational in G’s structure. I’m thinking that the surge of “spammy site” rankings will soon diminish once G takes a hard look at Twitter and link farms/clubs. (not sure if someone has figured out how to game FB yet)

G’s recent infatuation with social media may turn frosty once they look at the results.

But Christopher, I really liked what you said about your initial vision for this site. Using that as a standard should help clarify all the constant technical decisions.

[Reply]

86
Carolyn Blake writes:

So explain..on top of this I just received the Ezines newsletter advising me to write up to 1,000 articles per each of my niches! How can anyone write 1,000 quality articles in ANY reasonable amount of time? Only software could do that. Such a recommendation to me seems to be inviting “thin” content. Seems we are in the midst of a massive change in article marketing itself. And I agree with being extremely cautious about adding “nofollow” to our signature boxes.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 7:51 AM

[Reply]

I knew that blog post on Friday was already produced by our team and I didn’t hold it up despite the Thursday algo update issue.

Reason: I still maintain that QUALITY alone without QUANTITY is not a good long-term strategy if you want to mean anything to the or your market.

You need BOTH.

We’ve just let the quality on our Editorial standards slip too long in some very specific areas and we will address those with much gusto this week and future going forward.

[Reply]

B.H. writes:

Frankly, I completely disagree with you. There is no functional way for one single person to write 1000 quality articles in a reasonable amount of time.

Article marketing and the impact it will have on anyone site, is heavily dependent on the site’s niche. Some sites can benefit by just a few articles others will require more.

You are right quality alone does not work. You do need quantity.

But, 1000 articles, are you serious. That is so irresponsible that it is ridiculous. I saw the video pushing 500 + articles. I am in a niche that doesn’t even have 500 legitimate websites. It would be ridiculous to produce 500 pieces of article directory content.

How would you expect that someone would be able to create so much content? By even suggesting that someone create so much content, it seems that your staff has lost touch with reality. And why would you OK such an email?

Hats off to you guys. You have a great article directory. It has fantastic authority. It has a great user base.

But, by soliciting thousands of articles to be produced you are really doing yourself a disservice. Don’t be the China of article directories.

[Reply]

87
NA writes:

Hi Chris,

I’m assuming of course you have contacted Google and are discussing it with them?

Perhaps you should point out which low quality/spam sites are receiving the traffic (and provide ‘many’ examples if you can. Not just 1, but like 50 or 100 if that many are there).

Google — after seeing that a number of sites are gaming the engine, will revise their algorithm most likely in your favour.

- J

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 7:55 AM

[Reply]

88

This is a silly debate about the “NoFollow” link attribute, because for the “normal” person it’s not relevant. It does not influence how your article is ranking, neither does it affect clicks or traffic to your web site. Its ONLY relevant for SEOs/link builders – and even amongst them there is a heated debate whether NoFollow links have actually value or not.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 8:13 AM

[Reply]

Susan Greene writes:

Hey Internet Marketing,

The NOFOLLOW link attribute DOES affect how your article ranks. It DOES affect clicks. And it DOES influence the amount of traffic to your website.

You call yourself an internet marketer, but you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to SEO. If you did, you’d realize this is not a “silly debate.”

[Reply]

89
Paying Member Of EzineArticles writes:

“The rel=”NOFOLLOW” attribute will be added to all links on all articles very soon. Currently, it’s included in the article body of any links but now it’ll also be included in the resource box. Updated 7:30am CST Sunday: I’m less certain this move will change anything, so for the sake of this discussion, let’s remove it from the table. I will comment further below.”

This is EXACTLY what Ezine Author is talking about, and I will too. You say one thing and do another. Will you make up your mind already?

Also, will you be more clear about removing ads and the minimum word count as well? Why not make up your mind there too?

It sounds like a lot of fluff and talk, but you aren’t walking the walk. All I see is a ton of “maybe” which will probably amount to nothing for quality authors, except for grief and annoyance. Mostly, this entire blog post is a ton of “Bla Bla Bla”.

At this point you might as well cross out everything here, because you aren’t even sure what it is that you want to do. Here’s a tip: to generate quality tips and blog posts MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND!

It helps if you actually know what you are talking about, which in this case, EzineArticles does not, as they clearly cannot even give a solid set of solutions and cannot come up with a clear address to a problem.

After so many years in business, I was hoping that EzineArticles would at least have an insight that was solid, to this problem, as this problem effects everyone using the site in the end.

One would think that with all of the money, insight, research etc…. that EzineArticles has or should have been getting over the years, that you’d be able to adequately do your research and come up with a solid plan that would work for everyone in the end.

You can’t even think of a solid plan that would work for EzineArticles itself, forget the authors! “Should I do no follow? Should I not? I dunno! Herp Derp!”

“Should I increase the word count? Though I said myself I rarely even see an author pull off quality content in 250 words? Herp Derp!”

“Should I reduce the ugly ads on the site and clean up the look of EzineArticles? HERPPPP! BURP!”

One would think that perhaps you wrote your blog when you were tired. Get some rest, then come tell us what you want to say, and be able to say it without backing out!

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 8:23 AM

[Reply]

Dear Anonymous Premium Member,

This blog posts purpose is to acknowledge that something happened, we have an action plan to solve it, and we’re open to input and suggestions.

I made my case in this blog post and our members overnight made it clear to me that the NOFOLLOW issue (which was already at the bottom of our short-list) should not be on the short list.

I didn’t just change my mind, I LISTENED to what our members were telling us and decided it wasn’t an issue that should stay on the short list.

[Reply]

90
zuraidi writes:

You should trim the adsense ads you put in all the content. By following the trends, i have found that sites with content + excessive adsense ads get a hit on serp. I do think this is what they consider as content farm. Thats why EzineArticles get hits.

No need to add or modify a rule at EzineArticles because you are already an authority to the G.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 8:30 AM

[Reply]

91
Expert Author writes:

I have been an expert author for quite some time now, and while I strive to submit quality content, there are main reasons that I use Ezine.

- The dofollow link (Great for my subpages in terms of SEO).

- The traffic Ezine sends me.

As a comment said above, if you implemented the nofollow, I wouldn’t have any incentive to submit anymore. While the traffic comes from your article directory, I would much rather put the unique content up on my own site.

Here are some solutions that I would implement:

- 350+ Words at least. It’s hard to cram a ton into 250 words.

- If you go the “nofollow” route, program it so that only the people that are in the “newer” stages have it such as the first 10 articles, etc. Also hand it out to those that are submitting junk.

You could have something on the dashboard along the lines of, “Your links are: DOFOLLOW / NOFOLLOW”, etc.

- I also agree with a lot being said about the user experience. I think it’s time to trim down the Adsense ads. There are A LOT of ads. I would personally dump Chitka, and stick with a few adsense blocks that fit nicely. It wouldn’t hurt to maybe start up private advertising, as you have the traffic.

That’s my 2 cents BUT please keep the DOFOLLOW as I’m sure myself, and many others will just move onto the next biggest thing that allows nofollow links.

Thanks and let this pan out as Google tends to do pretty well with it’s false positives sometimes.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 8:33 AM

[Reply]

92
Shelly writes:

I for one am glad to see the changes with Google. I have submitted over 400+ articles to Ezine over the past several years. However, The past 6-9 months I have seen a lot of poorly written articles that make no sense slip through the cracks and make it into the directory. Several that I saw last week didn’t even have Author’s Resource Boxes attached to them at all & I reported them but yet they remain live in the directory. I am happy to see Ezine cleaning this up as way too many articles made it in that are just terrible.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 8:46 AM

[Reply]

93
Leiif writes:

I am no expert and have been inactive for some time but I have a decent number of articles published and was about to start using EzineArticles again. I am not sure I will if the no-follow change goes through. I would have to agree with some of the comments and say EzineArticles looks like a MFA site. MFA, for those that do not know , means “made for adsense”. This may be why the site took such a hit. It isn’t the quality of the articles, although that is questionable at times, it is the fact that there are dozens of ads all over every page. Reduce this and make the “content king” and you may be rewarded with better ratings again.

Best,
Leiif

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 9:04 AM

[Reply]

Leiif,

Have you ever purchased a Men’s or Women’s magazine for the ads? I know I have. The reason we do this is because the ads add significant relevant and timely value. They inform us, educate us, fulfill our needs. That probably explains why our bounceback rate is appropriate because the ads add as much value as the articles themselves.

I’m not going to disagree with you and I’ve already shared that we’re going to take some action on reviewing the number of ad units per page of content.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

Then obviously, I am a bafoon, disreguard the comments I’ve made, because if you buy stuff for ads, and that’s the norm, I am CLEARLY insane.

Look Chris, as a marketer, I’m sure ads somewhat inspire you. I’m sure ads can give you ideas as well, you’re smart and savvy, you came up with this website. Not all are you, and just assuredly will people fail because they think SEO is only about keywords, instead of realize what it’s really about is search driven keyword terminology, you will also fail because you, like the others that miss the search driven key of the equation, they fail because they optimize for their own terminology…you want to justify the ads because of your own terminology as well.

Not everyone is you, and out of the MANY people I know, both online and off, NOBODY I know has EVER told me they make a purchase for the ads. Nice way to try and defend to keep the ads and your money streams in tact, but I’m not buying it.

[Reply]

94
Rich writes:

Making all links no-follow will dramatically hurt ezine no question. Plenty of the ‘good’ writers still rely on the SEO effects of do-follow links and will abandon ezine if these are taken away completely.

For the record, links from ezine definitely help SEO positioning – you should do some research instead of relying on your ‘gut feeling’ with no evidence to back it up. You could even test this by adding do-follow links to some articles or ezine sidebars and pointing them to an unranked site. Monitor the ranking and then you’ll have proof one way or the other.

I could see a compromise in the do-follow / no-follow department. You could simply give each article 1 do-follow link and no more.

The ‘traffic’ directly from ezine that you speak of is very overrated. Even quality articles attract relatively few reads and even fewer clicks. I’d guess that a reader is far more likely to click on your ad links than a link in the author box. Good for ezine, but not so good for the author.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 9:27 AM

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Michael writes:

I agree with Rich that the links from ezine definitely help SEO position however I disagree with the idea that you should allow ONLY 1 do follow link. In many cases its good to have a link to a themed page and one to the subcategory page which the article relates to directly. Two do follow links if PERFECTLY fair. Frankly Id allow one do follow above the fold and two in the resource box. If you think three links is too many just look at Wikipedia. They may not be an “article directory” but they are an information source just like ezine is or should be in tht sense. Also there are several article sites with a PR of 6 just like your site that do in fact allow a many as 3 or 4 do follow links and that part of the equation does not hurt the article site itself but does in fact have a very positive effects for seo which is why as so many others have already stated in this blog many people write articles and there is NOTHING wrong with that basic premise as long as the articles are well written and offer value to the end user which is its readers.

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Jan Chilton writes:

All links on Wikipedia are no-followed. They don’t give any juice to anyone they link to. That’s why they allow the writers to link as they wish.

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95
Billy Bristol writes:

Google is going way over the top with this one. It is very clear they are sleeping with the big advertisers, and throwing out the smaller webmasters.

EzineArticles is one of our last truly white-hat forms of website marketing, and Google is slapping them. That will lead to more people trying other blackhat techniques to game the system.

Google will truly regret this decision, as it makes the internet a much lesser place. But what do you expect from a company that has absolutely NO customer service?

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 9:27 AM

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96
Dan writes:

No Follow + Poor Rankings + Less Traffic + No Revenue Share = No EzineArticles

While I understand what is trying to be done, you have to consider that there are other content networks who offer perks that EzineArticles no longer has and you are making it worse.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 9:29 AM

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97
J Chase writes:

I may be the 500 pound gorilla in this forum but EzineArticles should look at our comments and do what they believe is right. Even if that includes “no-follow”.

They are providing us a free service and if some article writers do not like the changes, then there are other sites that can publish your articles.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 9:31 AM

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Steve C writes:

It isn’t a free service at all, it is a symbiotic relationship between us authors and EzineArticles. They rely on us for content and in return we like the exposure, the SEO benefits and the syndication of our articles.

If they add nofollow to resource box links, we lose the SEO benefits. If they demand exclusivity, we lose the syndication benefits.

Seriously, what is in it for us authors if that happens?

[Reply]

Maria writes:

Free service for whom? Ah yes, for themselves to get Adsense money while we write for them for free…Good trade there indeed…

[Reply]

Darrell writes:

re; J Chase comment above

What are you seriously talking about Ezine being a free service. Is your time not worth anything to you? Its not free when you invest time writing up an article and that is why people are so passionate about this discussion.

There has to be a symbiotic relationship between the authors and Ezine. If its just a win situation for Ezine, they are sunk big time. People will stop contributing period.

I think everyone agrees there is much work to be done and it will over time. Simple solutions are increasing quality control guidelines for starters. That is actually straight forward to me.

You may have to seriously go back and clean house and remove hundreds of thousands of articles though – ugly thought of doing that – yes, but a necessary one in my opinion. I personally wouldn’t like it, but to survive this from Google, it might be necessary.

[Reply]

Susan Greene writes:

Free service? That’s laughable J Chase. We, the writers, are providing free content. Recognize that EzineArticles doesn’t publish the articles as a philanthropic activity. They make money off those many ads you see running alongside your brilliant copy. Lots of money. Of course, we benefit as well, by getting visibility and credibility by being published. It’s a class win-win situation, but certainly not a “free service.”

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98
John B Cooke writes:

John B Cooke writes:
Hi Christopher,
I have come to know you and your whole team in only a short time, but after reading your latest update, and because you and your team stretched out your hand to me in my hour of need, (without any axe to grind), then I feel compelled to come to your defence, and reply in full, to those who would ‘bite the hand that feeds them, and so:
There is quite a mix of destructive as well as constructive material in these replies, which as I can read, are born of both bitter, and sweet, experiences.
Only a ghost rattles chains to frighten the weak and to make them panic, in an attempt to force them to lose their own voice of reason.
Christopher, the statistics you have shared with us all are not ghosts which can haunt us based on our ignorance, but instead the tools of knowledge with which, if we pull as a team, we can overcome.
Just as a ship in trouble on heavy seas can overcome with an experienced captain and his officers at the helm, and you and your team are exactly that, but:
The captain also needs a seasoned crew, who know what it means to pull together for the common cause, which is to keep the ship, their ship on course.
With each ‘specialist in their field’, doing their bit, each trusting in the others proven abilities.
As the Chief Electrical Officer on board both small and super tankers during my years at sea, the grand title of Chief meant nothing, for ultimately I was only as good as my crew.
Christopher Knight, CEO EzineArticles.com is the first to acknowledge that, and so:
“Let us hear less wailing from the hip, and get on with the sailing of the ship” shall we, and feed the team with positive and not negative feedback, and let The Voice of Reason be heard: For I for one, am heavily dependent on their help to me get my own war torn and battered ship back to sea and on course, to keep fighting in this raging 21st century war which is in progress.
There are always those that bleat, but, ‘They are only the Chaff, and not The Wheat’, who are those who feel the need to hide behind an anonymous name, and not stand behind their family name, with pride and honour. Their use of their native tongue exposes them for whom and what they are.
On a positive note, I must thank Devonk, for his ‘backlinks’ coverage, but I ask myself, just how many will truly understand the invidious implications of this ‘inbuilt backdoor’ through which many an unscrupulous force has already entered and exploited?
So to you and your team Christopher, thank you to you and your whole team for the courtesy and efforts you have shown to me to date, and I have every confidence in you and your team.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 9:31 AM

[Reply]

Thanks John B. Cooke!

Uhm, you should be a poetry writer. Wow! :)

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99
Sam writes:

I haven’t read all the comments yet, so sorry if this has already been addressed, but I don’t quite see how insisting on exclusivity will help when you allow for the articles to be syndicated. As soon as someone else republishes an article on their site, it’s no longer exclusive to EzineArticles – so really, what’s the difference between allowing duplication by third parties, and allowing the article author to republish it elsewhere?

It’s good to see you taking steps to improve the quality of the site, but maybe it would be a good idea to wait until the dust settles before implementing major changes.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 10:15 AM

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

The difference in allowing duplication here or allowing you to re-post afterwards is this. Google is going to give credit to the FIRST place an article or blog is published. If I write on my blog, and then come back and republish it here after Google has spidered it there, it’s worthless for Ezine.

Likewise if you publish it here and then replublish in your blog, it’s worthless for that. What you should do is publish some in both places. But when you write something for Ezine, go to your blog and ANNOUNCE it. Link to the ezine article, write a couple of paragraphs and a picture perhaps, and then link to your article here using the search terms you are promoting. You’ll give your ezine article a few drops of Google juice, let Google know the topic of your article (ie, keywords) and then that article will show up even better in a search because YOU LINKED TO IT.

However, if Ezine doesn’t let you add at least one link in the article to a website, there’s not much point in it. I don’t need to boost my own website via an author’s box. I need to have a link to what I’m promoting. Therefore, I dont find it very useful to use this site, I’m afraid.

That being said, I respect Ezine the most of any of these types of sites, maybe other than Wikipedia. I use them to write my articles…for both content and photos if I’m in a bind. But I re-write it. I don’t copy the text.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Is that first part based on news from Google?

Google usually calls the site with the highest relevance the “Original” and that’s the one they show in the SERPs. They often don’t even have a way to know when individual works are published – only when they were first crawled – unless the works are all dated. Something you will notice doesn’t happen here on Ezine – our articles don’t have a “published” date. That is a good thing as it would put a limit on the usable life span of each work – even though it makes it hard for Google to define one work as the “Original” or not (outside of people using the Canonical tag that is).

[Reply]

While I’d like to see my version of an article show up first in search results, I know that even if it does many people will look a ‘myobscuredomain.com’ and wonder who the heck that is. Then they see the next is EzineArticles.com and they know/trust that result.

So I believe that PR and other factors will still be important to Google.

[Reply]

100
Rob Metras writes:

Chris: As a platinum author I find Ezine very partuicular with its content. I found an interesting analysis from Sistrix on their blog about this change that I thought readers might find helpful
http://www.sistrix.de/news/985-algorithmus-nderung-google-sucht-nach-qualit-t.html

It is in German original but I read it in English via Google Translate

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 10:25 AM

[Reply]

Rob,

Here is the English version of that page:
http://www.sistrix.com/blog/985-google-farmer-update-quest-for-quality.html

[Reply]

101
CC writes:

I agree with those who are against making the links no follow. We are all in this for business purposes, but at the same time quality content should be demanded from EzineArticles. There is still a lot of gibberish being approved, so I am totally on board with strengthening the requirements including longer articles.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM

[Reply]

102
John B Cooke writes:

Hi again Chris,

Time for a ‘cards on the table’ meeting with Google perhaps, and get your scythe out to seperate ‘the wheat from the chaff’ before ‘the chaff strangles the wheat’?

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 10:44 AM

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103
Jim Rivers writes:

Chris,

REMOVE YOUR ADSENSE ADS from the site and see how long before Google contacts you.

You had 57 MILLION Unique Visitors last month.

You had 130 Million + pageviews.

Remove the Adsense and don’t give your business to Google.

I’d suggest all publishers who were just flushed down the toilet do the same thing.

They obviously do not care about those 130 MILLION Adsense impressions…or do they.

Only one way to tell.

Remove your Adsense blocks and place BING adverts there and see how many hours before a Google Exec starts ringing your phone.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM

[Reply]

Paying Member Of EzineArticles writes:

All google has to do is put another site up in place of EzineArticles that has adsense on it. Google owns adsense, right?

Thus all they have to do is put anyone up there who has adsense if they want to. 130 million impressions is NOTHING to Google. Google is larger than this.

130 million impressions might be significant to EzineArticles, but doesn’t exactly dent the overall impressions that Google gets across the board.

[Reply]

Susan Greene writes:

Jim Rivers,

Your suggestion for EzineArticles to remove Adsense ads is ridiculous. EzineArticles doesn’t run those ads as a service to Google. It isn’t doing Google a favor. EzineArticles makes money from those ads. Remove those ads from the site and suddenly EzineArticles has lost its primary revenue source. And there’s no way replacing those ads with Bing ads would generate the same money.

You do realize that EzineArticles is a business? How did you think they generated revenue?

[Reply]

104
Jonathan writes:

Hi Chris,

I have to say that I appreciate the discussion that you’ve started here.

Your ability to be open about things and willing to take our views into consideration is something that I find valuable and impressive.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 11:21 AM

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105
J scott writes:

———————–
I see a lot of you putting all the blame on Chris & EzineArticles team…

Most of you are the same authors who always used to applaud EzineArticles for the efforts Chris & his team put up in making EzineArticles what it is today.

It’s interesting to see how quickly people point fingers when things go down and find something or someone to blame.
———————–

Anyway…First thing most of you authors need to understand is that GOOGLE is completely out of anyone’s control. Therefore you can’t blame EzineArticles for getting the hammer.

I am guessing ezines has more than 5 million articles and not all of it is crappy…Most of it is good too. I have seen some outstanding articles as well.

If you go on webmasterworld and other forums…You will see folks with 15 year old sites with completely original & well researched content getting hammered as well.

What google has done is not something which anyone can easily figure out right now. They claim that they will only allow quality content but look at their results at the moment. It’s full of crappy sites which are far lower in quality than what existed before.

Google claims that their bot can figure out what quality content is but nothing can rival humans. They can’t make a formula which can figure out what quality is vs what isn’t.

I have been with EzineArticles since 2007 and have consistently submitted articles each and every day since I started. I have seen ezines go through some tremendous changes in the past.

And let me be honest…Ezines has made me boat loads of money in the process. Far more than anything else I have done.

All you authors blaming ezines for too many adsense ads should actually look at it this way – You also get to make money from your articles by getting visitors back to your site which become potential buyers.

Therefore it’s a mutually beneficial relationship for both ezines and it’s authors.

Chris has worked hard on his site…He has built it up from scratch and has every right to put ads where ever he pleases because it’s his site. And honestly speaking regardless of all those ads I still got high quality visitors to my site & I still made money.

Now coming to the big issue at hand –

——————
This is what google said –

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”
—————–

If one was to pay attention to this…They have clearly stated that they have a problem with sites which copy content. They need the content to be completely unique and original.

Which means ezines will need to think hard about only letting authors submit completely unique content which is not previously posted anywhere else on the internet.

Since the last 3 yrs I have always submitted completely original content to ezines…Yup! I never posted any of it on my own sites. I always believed that if I posted completely original content to ezines…I will get better rankings and I did.

I personally don’t believe making the author links no follow will have much of an impact on anything. Because articlesbase had no follow links yet it still got hammered.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

[Reply]

Tina L. Jones writes:

Having well over 10,000 articles out myself, I can completely agree with Scott here on the fact that EzineArticles has become a milestone for some Authors. I’d like to therefore make an address adding to Scott’s idea here to all of the authors complaining and giving up:

I am confident that it still is a milestone, and although there are bumps in the road, I have put my content in otherwise, because in the end I know that Google itself is generated by content.

If there is one thing I have noticed more than anything else, it’s that if I don’t take an opportunity, someone else will.

People are talking about how Google is killing article marketing, and I hear talks on how Internet Marketing is dying. All kinds of FEARS come up now that people are not seeing the same results, now that a little change is occurring.

I say “a little”, because it’s up to YOU to decide how this change is going to affect you, and it’s up to YOU to decide if this change is going to be the end of everything, or the start of something new.

As far as internet marketing is concerned, it’s just one form, one tool to market. It’s one way to get through to a greater audience. Do I think it is dying, simply because it may be more difficult to successfully market using Google? Hell no!

Google itself is just a tool, which people rely heavily on; likewise it sounds like a lot of Authors here relied heavily on EzineArticles. Then when EzineArticles doesn’t deliver the views or links, well everyone starts screaming.

Isn’t it YOUR job as a marketer to deliver those things? Just listen to yourselves here whining about how EzineArticles isn’t doing something for you.

How about this: If you want something, GO GET IT. Don’t sit around expecting someone else to give it to you. EzineArticles doesn’t owe you a thing, EVEN if you invested in EzineArticles that was at your OWN discretion.

Just as it was at my own discretion. Likewise with article marketing, people are crying that it’s dying, because they were out ranked, views are down, and article directories are taking a hit.

I don’t for one second think that article marketing is dead nor dying. Information is the one KEY and tool that human beings run on. We NEED to know things, we need answers, we need solutions.

It’s in our natural nature to ask questions or look for ways to solve our problems. THUS, I do not foresee article marketing dying, because it fulfills a need across the globe!

Think about it here, the only thing that search engines themselves provide is a resource to find INFORMATION. The only thing people want is information.

Article marketing provides it, and if you take articles and content driven sites/directories out of the picture, what does Google have left to offer?

Nothing. The only thing people use Google for is to find the answers to their questions, and if those answers disappear, well goodbye Google.

In the end, it’s not really as bad as everyone is making it out to be. It’s just changing. That’s all. Google changed THEIR rules, that is all.

Right now lots of people are taking a hit, that is TRUE. But the only reason it would be a problem is if you are going to get hit and stay down.

I, for one; and EzineArticles for another, are not going to stay down. This is a huge improvement for anyone who is willing to look at it for what it really is.

BUT, in order to improve, we sometimes have to start over or take a new direction; which unfortunately isn’t always comfortable.

I will tell you one thing: comfort never leads to stability. If you are seeking comfort here, and want EzineArticles to comfort you and pat your back to make you feel better, it’s not going to happen.

EzineArticles could do everything you say you want, to get you the kinds of results you want, but hey…you’ll never get the kinds of results you want when you continuously rely on everyone else to do the work for you.

It may be comfortable for now to expect EzineArticles to fix YOUR problem; but it will be more rewarding and useful in the end if you realize that this is truly something you should have been addressing and dealing with all along on your own.

I don’t expect anyone to agree with me here, but it’s not about agreement. It’s about what gets YOU results, which in the end is entirely up to you.

So many people sound like they were resting their results in EzineArticle’s hands. That was a huge mistake. EzineArticles is not responsible for your success, YOU are.

Of course, you can use EzineArticles to become successful; but most of you are failing now, because you simply didn’t even know how to use a tool like EzineArticles to begin with.

You put all your eggs in one basket. Most of you don’t even realize how useful EzineArticles still is, or how useful it can be; because you weren’t considering all of the options here, and you expected EzineArticles to do all of the work for you mostly.

EzineArticles is not the father of Google. They are not going to admonish Google for hurting YOUR rankings or for changing YOUR world upside down. It’s not in their power to do such. I still can’t believe how many people are expecting EzineArticles to simply UNDO the Google change, as if they believe it’s even possible.

The only thing EzineArticles can do, is what the rest of you aren’t willing to do: persevere, change, and continue regardless of how bumpy it gets.

My final note: A roadblock is not a sign that you should quit, it’s just a detour to another, route, which goes to the SAME place. So don’t turn off your engine, and get out of the car, simply because a sign on the road says you can’t take that route.

Instead, back the hell up, and see that you can take ANY route; they all go where you need to be, as long as you are willing to get there.

Quite honestly, if you stop when you get a roadblock, did you really want to get to the intended destination anyway?

P.S.
Thankyou EzineArticles for allowing some of us Authors to exceed. There’s no doubt that your directory can really bring out the true potential in everyone, as long as they are willing to reach out and grab it.

[Reply]

106
Jesse Dawson writes:

get rid of all the affiliate links in ppl’s resource boxes and cheap spammy sales page that they are linked too… its the quality of links your site are linked too that makes EzineArticles look like a content farm too google eyes…

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:48 PM

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107
Jan Chilton writes:

Susan Greene is a good friend of mine, and steered me over to this discussion, so I will put my two cents in. I doubt if many of you will appreciate it, however.

I’ve been doing SEO for a living since the early 2000′s, and I’ve seen things change, go back, tweak and change again with Google. One of the first things everybody needs to do is to NOT PANIC. When they make a major change like this, it’s always followed by much tweaking and relaxing in the weeks and even months afterwards. Right now I think they may have manually put all article conglomerate based websites in the penalty box, but as owners complain and cry, Matt Cutts and team will manually review and hand-pick the ones that shouldn’t be in the box. So Christopher, the most important thing for you to do is to respectfully contact them in some way and explain your practices so they can review and give your site the most respect it deserves.

I’ve had a years-long argument with Active Rain about re-posting content. They allow something called “re-blogging” and they also urge their people to have outside blogs that are mirrors. My number one rule to my clients, and on every site that I maintain has been NO DUPLICATION for years now. Google may not penalize it (or didn’t use to) but they do ignore it, and it’s a waste of your time and energy to do it. If you want to post an article in two different places THEN RE-WRITE it. It’s as simple as that. Change the words, change the adjectives, change the order of the paragraphs.

If you want Ezine to survive, you will probably have to enact this immediately and make it a hard and fast rule. This algorithim (I feel) is targeting that first and foremost, and then going after bad grammar, which is a hallmark of the penny-per-word foreign spammers that every lazy website owner is using now. If you aren’t into real estate, you may not know just how prolific this is. One of my clients is populating his other websites with articles written by someone in Pakistan that charges $7 per article! Is it no wonder that the web is so filled with spam right now?

As for using Nofollow, that has nothing at all to do with this Google update, and if anything, you should be screening the content for non-duplication but allowing at least one DO-follow link INSIDE the articles. If you did, then you might gain some better writers and better articles.

I don’t write out of ego or for the fun of it. I write to rank my clients’ websites. I want to post my best articles WITH GOOD LINKS to sites that offer pagerank, authority, and readers…in that order. I have about 6 blogs that I actively post in at all times. If Ezine allowed do-follow links in the content, I would be writing my best articles here. They don’t…so I don’t. I am proud of my writing, but I’ve got to put it where I get the most bang for my buck.

In conclusion, I would have to say to make exclusivity the number one priority, but add the benefit of at least one do-follow link in an article. You might want to solicit your writers to help you manually review each one if possible to do this. All you have to do is take one unusual phrase in the article and search for it. Or use Copyscape, which is even better. If the writer wants to post it to their blog afterwards, then that’s their ultimate decision…but it’s a bad one, because duplicate content can only hurt you in the long run.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM

[Reply]

Janna Chan writes:

Jan, thanks for the reply. I agree that sites that facilitate the dissemination of duplicated content are not wanted by Google even if one can find examples here and there that seem to contradict that obvious (to me) position.

I think Google turned a blind eye to MFA sites for a long time because it was financially beneficial to do so. However, now Google has decided that the benefits of getting easy Adsense revenue have been outweighed by the big con of slowly losing its position as the world’s #1 search engine.

As an SEO expert, do you think that links placed in resource boxes are valued by Google given that they’re clearly contrived and self-promotional?

Many of the posters here seem to believe that they are. I was under the impression that Google has always said it wants pure organic links and therefore has always minimized the impact of links that are clearly not organic.

As Google had several embarrassing incidents over the holidays involving big-name retailers gaming the system by creating low-quality links to their sites, I’d think Google would be even more determined to weed out inorganic links placed in article resource boxes irrespective of whether or not those links have a no-follow tag.

Thanks.

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

Jana, I have my doubts about the power behind the links in the resource boxes, but not because they are “owner driven”. Links in blogs are certainly done by the owner, but they work absolutely in SEO and are almost a requirement to make a website rank well.

What I have heard is that any link that is repeated, such as in the footer or sidebar of a page or blog is given much less weight. Recently there’s a lot of evidence for that. I’ve added links to new sites in the sidebar of a blog and it doesn’t even get indexed. That says to me that CONTENT LINKS are really the only thing that count for much with Google. This is why I stressed to Chris to let you have at least one link in your article. Instead of a “bio box”, you need a profile page that allows you to embed links with search phrases. You then should link to that profile page from all your social sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as your blogs and anything else you can find.

When you write an article, your Author Name should link to your profile page…and the more articles you do, the more link juice goes back to your profile page too. Then those links on your profile page will count for more for your website. Even if he doesn’t allow a content link, this profile page will help you enormously if you do many articles.

That is the setup that Active Rain has for its real estate members, and their pagerank and google Authority is enormous! The more the members blog, the stronger their profiles become. That benefits Active Rain, the Realtor, and also gets them active customers right from the profile page. They are brilliant, I’m telling you!

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

And after what I read on Inman News this morning (see my post and link towards the bottom of the comments) I am firmly convinced that the duplicate content issue is what has probably hurt Ezine. Chris should require any article be brand new to the internet and put here first to be indexed. Then if the author wants to put it on his blog or elsewhere a week or so later, let them do so. It won’t hurt Ezine and it probably won’t help or hurt them either.

[Reply]

108
Hardik Jogi writes:

Hi,
I agree with all the changes that you are making except the last one. I think Ezine will lose 1000s of quality writers if they require an exclusive content.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:52 PM

[Reply]

109
Ezine Author writes:

Another point to raise, which some authors may disagree with, is article publishing.

What if the issue is that your content is being spread all over, not because of the authors submitting articles elsewhere; but because you allow them to be republished in the first place?

Thus it clogs up the search engines with the same articles all over the place. I found that some of my articles from EzineArticles were taken and placed on Articlesbase by other authors. Some of the authors kept the author box, but had their own author name; and others took the article and changed the author box.

Now some of that is under my control to file DMCA’s and all that good stuff; but I still have to wonder when you openly allow republication. I wonder how that actually affects authors.

Sure it’s flattering and nice to have other places republish our content, but how often do people come in and republish it to a decent site out of appreciation for the great content?

Also, with the Google crackdown, how many other sites are going to still want to take content from EzineArticles and use it on their own site (not talking about authors here, talking about publishers)?

They may become scared to even use content from article directories, because Google may say “it’s duplicate and from a content farm”.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 12:52 PM

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

I don’t think it matters that it’s from a content farm. Your keyword here is DUPLICATE.

Just don’t do it. Period. Let the ones that do go by the wayside. They will, eventually.

[Reply]

Ezine Author writes:

Think of Ehow here. Do you easily find Ehow articles/posts on other sites? If you do, it’s probably just a link, not the entire posts.

My point here is this: it’s exclusive to Ehow. People know that if they want that information, they go to Ehow. It’s not spread around on 10 other sites.

BUT, EzineArticles has strolled along by allowing other sites to take content. At first it was probably mutually beneficial. Other sites could get content, and possibly rank better because of it, by using EzineArticles; and EzineArticles got exposure, traffic etc…

BUT, now it’s not going to work like that. Now, it’s not going to happen that the same content and articles can be found on 50 other sites. Not to mention the fact that other websites might be skeptical to even try that again anyway, out of fear of losing their ranking and other problems that arise.

I don’t think it CAN work like that. Ehow is still up there now, because it’s exclusive (also they don’t exactly allow links). EzineArticles is down, because it’s are not exclusive.

That’s my take on it.

[Reply]

Bryan Hufford writes:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Buzzle is an article directory that ONLY accepts UNIQUE content.

And guess what?

They got the hammer, too.

Interesting, isn’t it?

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

I think the practice of reprinting all these press releases and articles will end when these spam sites find out for sure that Google isn’t going to do anything with their copied content. So anyone that bases their website on getting that content or having their own content reprinted had better look at another business model.

I for one will be glad to see it. I’m tired of all my hard working efforts with PR Web being shown over hundreds of spam sites and deleting my links. The duplicates don’t usually show up in Google at all…but they are everywhere. I’m sure the articles from Ezine are too. I get Google alerts for all my main keyphrases and everyday I look at what they show me is coming up on blogs and websites.

If you notice, even when news websites republish Associated Press articles, they often change the words or add or subtract content from the original article. That’s what you should do if you really want to multi-publish.

[Reply]

110
Larry Taylor writes:

I have hundreds of articles on Ezine. After hearing all of this fear and advice I now doubt the value of having links to my articles coming from other sites who are using my content on their sites.

I thought articles on other sites meant back links.

What I am understanding is that the articles I put on Article Directoris should have been put on my website instead.

I wonder what my ranking would be if I had done just that?

How about some real direction? If article marketing is to remain of value – How should it be done?

If I put articles on any directory that does not link to my site from the resource box, why should I submit any articles?

Personally I think article marketers are being used by directories and google to line their own pockets.

Any real advice – bag the emotions?

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 1:32 PM

[Reply]

111

IT IS APPARENT THAT A FOLLOW LINK HAS MORE WEIGHT THAN A NO FOLLOW! WHO IS GETTING THE SHORT END IF THE STICK WITH THE NO FOLLOW HORSE DUMP. ME AND I SPENT A LOT OF TIME PUTTING MY KNOWLEDGE INTO THE PUBLSHED ARTICLES I HAVE NOW.

MY OPINION DON’T MATTER AND MY KNOWLEDGE OF SEO DON’T COUNT.

TO BE SUCH A SMART GUY, I MUST SAY THIS IS DUMB IDEA PERIOD. I WILL BE CHECKING MY LINKS AND MY CONTENT AND I HOPE I DON’T SEE ANY NO FOLLOWS. THEN I WILL HAVE SOME DECISION MAKING TO DO CONCERNING YOUR BUSINESS ETHICS.

FURTHERMORE TO HECK WITH GOOGLE. THEY HAVE A MONOPOLY AND SOONER OR LATER THEY WILL LOSE GROUND. BILL GATES HAS GAVE THEM A DIRECT CHALLENGE AND I AM AT SOME
POINT GOING TO JOIN HIS TEAM AFTER I GET MY BACHOLERS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE.I WILL HELP BILL GET THERE.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 2:04 PM

[Reply]

ONE MORE THING, YOU JUST GOT A GOOGLE SLAP. IT STINKS AND WHY SHOULD YOU MAKE US PAY FOR THAT WITH A NO FOLLOW?

I MADE A COUPLE OF TYPOS EARLIER, BECAUSE THIS MATTERS AND I WAS TO QUICK TO PULL THE TRIGGER.

PLEASE LEAVE OUR LINKS ALONE. THEIR MUST BE ANOTHER WAY TO SKIN THE CAT.

GREAT CONTENT DESERVES GREAT LINKS.

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

Joseph, he’s already said about 3 times that he was going to implement the No Follow. Calm down and stop the rant.

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

Oh lord…I meant was NOT going to implement it. Sorry Chris!

[Reply]

I have worked hard to be a good author.

1. Because I want to help people.

2. Because I want to help more people.

3 .Is that I want my website to do it’s job so I can really help people

I am far from perfect at writing and it takes extra effort to edit my content. I sometimes catch stuff I missed after review of my live articles.

I apologize for my rant and being so frustrated with the Algorithm change Google has implemented.

I know Ezine will come out on top if everyone sticks together.

The do follow is the reason I keep trying to write for Ezine.Thanks for Keeping the do follow and keeping me very interested.

I would love to see the adsense trimmed down. It would allow for a more focused view on the content instead of the ads all cluttered.

I appreciate the reel in Jan Chilton. I have done a lot of technical reading on my roofing articles and put my real world experience behind the tech stuff.

Keep on keeping on Chris.

[Reply]

112
Prem writes:

After reading other bloggers, here is my 2 bits worth of thoughts!
Subject: Quality of Articles as some times bad ones slip by your QC controls.
Create a Certification course for Article writers. You have a training course for 10 weeks rework it as a Cert. course required before anyone can submit articles.
After completing this Certification issue them a License no. or I.D. no. or member no.
Writers who have successfully submitted minimum number( say 100 or so ) of articles in last 12 months may be exempted and then issued a I.D. number.
Make it affordable say may be $195.00 for Certification and annual membership dues of say $50.00 ( required by all ) and continuing Ed. requirements every 2/3 years for all.
Create once a year writers camp at or near your Head quarters keeping like minded serious writers do the networking. Create this and they will come
Offer or provide service to new writers to review their articles before publishing for a very small fee of say $5.00 / article or 10 articles package for $25.00. However article is then guaranteed for publishing.
Even if you do not like what I have suggested here, it will trigger some thought in your mind in that direction. If it makes you laugh then that also would be fine as Laughter is the best medicine!
P.S. Consider including contact information of authors , in the resource box, with an email that goes to Ezine. This way readers can communicate with authors, if required to learn more about the product or service touted in the article.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Having a certificate doesn’t mean that anyone would write better articles. You can teach a monkey to type, but it will still eat bananas. All that will happen is they will be given a license to write even more crap – because they can point to that certificate and say “See, I know what I’m writing about!”.

Platinum Members have fast turn around on having their articles reviewed without having to pay for membership – which can only be earned, not bought like a membership. If you can’t earn this status with your work, having faster turn around times won’t help – it only makes it easier to post more crap.

As soon as you HAVE to pay to use the site, you will lose a vast majority of good writers who simply don’t have money. You will also encourage the bad writers to put out more spam because they are paying for the service – and thus feel it is now there RIGHT to publish whatever they want.

I like the idea of having an article review option – I had the same idea earlier thinking it was a great opportunity for people to learn what’s missing in their writing. However, as soon as you say it will be published after this review (as opposed to merely being for informational purposes) people could write crap and then essentially pay a mere $5 to have it edited and published. That’s a bad system.

As to the P.S. – they already can. There is the “Share This Article” box buried below the article itself that allows people to “suggest topics” which can easily be used to write them and talk about other things. Plus, most people direct them to their website where they have contact info anyways.

[Reply]

Tina L. Jones writes:

EzineArticles already offers a FREE writing course to new authors who join; which is also available to ANY author, actually.

EzineArticles also offers tips on their blog, twitter, and sends out tips to regular members who contribute quality content on larger levels.

My experience is that EzineArticles has done a lot to help writers improve, should the writer want to improve. Thus I doubt that the issue of poor content would be resolved with your suggestion, because the same issue could easily arise again.

The standards are quite clear, and writers who ignore them, will ignore your suggestion as well. There are some ‘writers’ who will stop at no lengths to get their ‘content’ published on article directories, and on this directory as well.

They stop at nothing, because their main concern is exposure. Thus they’d be able and willing to complete the course, and then they’d simply presume submitting their content as they desire yet again, and the same problem continues.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

Yer kidding right Prem? They’re already making a crap ton off all the ads sitting around, and they still don’t have editors that can do the job, now you want to suggest a way for them to make MORE money, and still not have decent editors to weed out the crap? Yer kidding right? Not like they already don’t have the premium upsell…..people, like you, amaze me.

What’s to deter the gamers from paying the fees then submitting the crap anyways once they pass? EDITORS, that’s the only solution here….and not just editors, QUALITY EDITORS.

[Reply]

113
Marte Cliff writes:

There are a few things I don’t understand here.

First, about the Google ads. I quit putting them on my site a long time ago, because it seemed stupid to advertise my competitors when I wanted people to stay and use my services or buy my products.

But when I did use Google ads, I believe I was restricted to 3 ad blocks per page. I just checked one of my articles on your site and I see 5 Google ad blocks plus two others. I guess they changed their rules since I quit using them.

Next, I agree that you publish a lot of really useless articles, but I’m curious about people commenting that the resource boxes are as long as the articles.

I have moderately short resource boxes, but several times have been prevented from submitting an article until I cut out all but about 3 lines.

Then, about the links in the article body. EVERY time I have tried to link out to other relevant information I’ve had to re-write the article and remove the link before you would accept the article. And no, it was NOT a link to my own site.

When I read I generally ignore the Google ads – and that is why I didn’t realize that there was more information after the article.

I remember once suggesting that the article publication date be included, because some information becomes incorrect over time – Anything dealing with government regulations, credit scoring, mortgages, etc. has to be new to be relevant in our ever changing economic climate.

You said it was already there, but I couldn’t find it until one day I scrolled past the ads at the end and found more information that I didn’t even realize was there.

I agree with whoever it was who indicated that the ad blocks at the end of an article are like a stop sign. “Information is finished, it’s all ads from here, so move on now.”

Last thing – to answer your question Christopher – No, I’ve never bought a magazine to get the ads. I’m pounded with ads all day long – don’t need to go in search of more.

OK – One more thing. I don’t think Google fixed anything. It’s still as difficult as ever to search and get good information.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Google lets you use only up to three of EACH TYPE of ad – so Text ads, and Banner Ads are different.

[Reply]

114
Erik Heyl writes:

Let’s see: exclusive content eh? iSnare tried that, and they’re nowhere. No way in hell am I spending time writing exclusive content for a site that, depending on editor’s moods that day, may or may not be published. I’ll focus on building quality content on my OWN sites first, thanks.

This just proves one thing: ANYONE that solely relies on EzineArticles as a main point of their business will be hurtin’ for certain.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 3:02 PM

[Reply]

Tina L. Jones writes:

Most certainly. I think because the results were so swell for people, they forgot that EzineArticles is just a tool to help build or increase their business. Some people were using EzineArticles to drive traffic, others were using it to build links, others were using it for rankings.

All kinds of uses here, certainly, but the only person who should be thinking about EzineArticles as their main point of business is the owner of EzineArticles himself: Chris Knight.

Not that I am suggesting that EzineArticles is the only business venture that Chris Knight has; but I am simply saying that unless this is your website, and your article directory, it’s not your main point of business.

I must say that people simply don’t know how to USE EzineArticles. Sure there are people using EzineArticles, but it tells me that they don’t know HOW to use it when they come with their pitchforks and torches complaining as a problem occurs.

It is quite clear that people are getting the wrong message and the wrong user end result from this service, when they come back whining and exploding during a problem they encounter with Google or anyone else for that matter.

Perhaps people simply haven’t been informed enough about article marketing in general or EzineArticles? Or perhaps people simply want EzineArticles to do all the work, because in the past they did by delivering so much.

People clearly took that for granted, because now that it’s gone they have no clue what to do, and are being hit the hardest.

I operate under the belief that if a person wants to have expectations, they should only expect from themselves. I am not expecting EzineArticles to literally BE my business, or main point of business.

How could a person realistically expect that? I know it can be easy to start thinking like that, as one becomes successful through EzineArticles; however it should never cloud the facts.

In this case, it isn’t, because now the real truth is coming out, and that truth is not what Google did. It’s what everyone HERE and elsewhere did: relied heavily on one resource or one method to build their business.

[Reply]

J scott writes:

Comparing ezine to isnare? Come on…

Ezine is popular because it sends targeted visitors to your site. Isnare puts your resource box so down below the page that no visitor can even see it.

If you put an original article on ezine and get targeted visitors to your site which turn into sales then it sounds like an awesome deal to me.

[Reply]

115
Eric J Smith writes:

Why not allow ONE link with a follow attribute and the second link with nofollow…

That way the core article content would reflect details in the follow link with the no follow link with secondary information…

A second article could be written which reflects the content of the nofollow link in the first article and it would become the follow link in the second article…

This would provide more articles directed at different niche groups – and theoretically should provide better quality content.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 3:14 PM

[Reply]

116
DevonK writes:

To Clarify Issues So Everyone Can Fully Understand What’s REALLY Going On.

Backlinks – links you create here on EzineArticles have no value to you because they are self-promotional content. It doesn’t hurt you, but nor does it help you.

Those same links on OTHER websites ONLY help you when they are quality websites focused on the SAME topic. Then you’re links only give you a TINY amount of help. This is because the links are IDENTICAL – and thus again self-promotional content. The difference is that someone else was willing to promote it so it has SOME value.

The only links that are of value to you are ones YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER. Meaning those created by other people simply because they wanted to share your work, website, information, etc. The reason they are so valuable is because they are UNIQUE – not used anywhere else.

To up the value of your links when used by other people – DO NOT USE THE EXACT SAME RESOURCE BOX. Ideally you should write each resource box new with each article and make sure the links you provide there have your keyword in them, but also be different from all the other articles you write. That will up the value of those links.

Backlinks to you are CONTENT LINKS to EzineArticles – meaning links that enable people to find more content on the same topic. If you don’t have content links on your website = YOU CAN’T BE VERY RELEVANT. Google and others want you to provide links to OTHER websites that make the information more usable. This is because, according to Google, NO ONE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS. If you don’t provide links to other websites, info, etc.; Google knows you’re not RELEVANT to their users and thus not RELEVANT at all.

By EzineArticles making the content links nofollow, they have undervalued their CONTENT LINKS and thus lowered their own RELEVANCY. It’s like telling Google, “We just don’t want to be relevant”.

Plus, the more quality, relevant websites links back to EzineArticels, the higher their own Relevancy. Yet, they too get to follow the same rules about backlinks everyone else does.

For writers, to make your own website relevant you must have quality, relevant, and current content. If you’re always using the same things on EzineArticles and your website, Relevant can’t happen. You can use them in both places – just make sure you add more to your website that isn’t ANYWHERE else. You then need to make sure to add NEW CONTENT all the time (not just update old stuff). That is why BLOGS are a good thing to add to a website.

The other thing you NEED to know is that Relevancy and Topics / keywords go hand in hand. Think of it like a basic math equation, “1 / topics (or keywords) = RELEVANCY”. The closer to “1″ the more Relevant. To make your website as RELEVANT as possible you need to keep it focused on ONE topic. You can add more topics by doing what is called “SILOING”. You can look that one up for yourself as it would take too long to explain here.

Hopefully that helps EVERYONE understand the situation with links, and how to actually have a RELEVANT website. For those that don’t think I know what I’m talking about because I don’t write about SEO here, go to SEOINUSE DOT COM – which is one of my websites.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 3:19 PM

[Reply]

117
Jennifer J writes:

I wrote over 1,000 articles in 2008 in EZA’s most popular category and currently have almost 5,000,000 views. Due to having a 2nd child, I became too busy to write more articles.

Here are my views and suggestions…

1. On page stuff

My most popular article has over 250,000 views.

On this article, I see 43 ad links and 45 “other” links. 88 total links out of my article.

That’s too parasitic and wrong… and makes the whole page look awful. That’s too much take.

Keep the 10 ads on right side of articles and 5 above, get rid of all the other ones (they probably don’t make you much money anyway).

Any money lost from those other ads disappearing should be minimal, but the user experience should jump a lot. Google will like this a lot and you’ll still make about the same amount of money too.

Clutter = bad.

Those other 45 links to related articles, recent articles, most published articles, and most viewed articles… get rid of ALL of those.

The most published and most viewed has been abused enough. Save EzineArticles staff the headache and give the article and the article author the proper focus instead of diluting it out to other articles.

Basically, everything EzineArticles has under each article is clutter and useless for user experience.

In the 2+ years since I’ve written an article, I noticed my average ctr for all articles has dropped from 14.5% to just 9.5%.

So that means in the past 2 years, my ctr was actually lower than 9.5% in order to drop me down to that average.

How did this happen if my articles didn’t change?

By adding way more links to each of my article pages (88 total links), EzineArticles diluted the importance of my content and distracted people away from it.

The article MUST be the star of the page.

2. article length

This is irrelevant. A good article is a good article. Most of my best articles based on ctr are 250-300 word articles.

250 word bad articles will become 400 word bad articles. Which leads me to…

3. 40% + rejection rate?

Wow, that’s absolutely horrible. With over 1,000 articles, I may have had 10 articles rejected. Less than 1%.

A lot of EZA’s costs are directly related to all these rejected articles.

Why not ban or block people who have a 20% + rejection rate?

Make THOSE BAD AUTHORS pay a price, not the good authors. This way you save yourself on staffing costs and all good articles get approved quicker.

Stop being nice and understanding to those people. Most people are NOT good writers. That’s life. They will need to figure it out fast ELSEWHERE.

By doing this, you will get rid of a lot of English 2nd 3rd world writers who make a mockery of article writing. People will stop outsourcing to them.

4. Editors

How are they being held accountable, rated, and reviewed?

Perhaps you can show them how serious you are by saying the 2 worst editors ranked each month will be fired and top 5 get bonuses. In fact, if you have to layoff people soon, hopefully their errors and lazy reviews are factored into it.

Sure it’s nice to have a family/team type environment at work, but this is business. Show them some things and bad/lazy work simply aren’t acceptable and there have to be consequences or all the rest of the team and company suffers because of them.

5. Exclusive content

Please clarify that?

Article can’t go on your own website even? If that’s the case, that isn’t acceptable and people will vote with their feet.

But definitely stop allowing other websites to publish, EzineArticles articles.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Also, Chris is ALWAYS willing to listen and take action on YOUR suggestions.

I was emailing him personally a lot in 2008 and he took and actually implemented 3 “kinda” major changes I suggested.

So speak up and give him your suggestions.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 4:12 PM

[Reply]

Tina L. Jones writes:

Where exactly are the most published and most viewed categories on the site? They are UNDERNEATH an article. They are below the fold.

In case any of you do not know what the term “below the fold” means, it refers to how much of a page a user can see on their screen, before they have to scroll down.

Now, generally, most people will have to scroll down in order to see those links. This means that they should be reading the article FIRST, technically, then scrolling down.

THUS, I disagree with your idea to get rid of those categories on EzineArticles, because it’s irrelevant. A person has to scroll past articles and the “Share This Article” box in order to get to the references you talk about.

It is irrelevant because those links ENCOURAGE users to read more articles, and to stay on EzineArticles. It encourages them to look into the subject more.

Obviously, if they are scrolling down after reading your article, the message you gave them within the article was not relevant. They got bored and scrolled down, and probably ended up finding something better or more interesting in the process, because EzineArticles gave them that option.

Perhaps you are just saying that it’s irrelevant, because now you are not submitting articles frequently, whereas other users are, and these more consistent authors are getting listed on those lists; instead of you.

Jealous, you believe the lists should be removed so that your old articles increase in CTR. The CTR has everything to do with YOUR delivery as an author, and a little to do with the presentation of a site itself.

How is it that authors still manage to get views and make sales, if that were not the case? I know you are talking about increasing CTR potential, and a few other things here; but in the end the linking to other articles at the bottom of articles on EzineArticles doesn’t affect that.

It’s UNDERNEATH your article, and if you are incapable of getting your readers to stay on YOUR article (instead of scrolling down and seeing what else there is to offer), well that has nothing to do with the lists. It has everything to do with your skills as an author then.

I simply disagree with the idea of removing those lists, as I can see it is beneficial to EzineArticles, and consistent authors, even now. More specifically: it is beneficial to authors whose work is better and relevant to the interests of visitors to the site.

Likewise, there isn’t really a site that I go to which does not suggest visitors to look at other content. Youtube suggests, that if you liked one video, you should see another. They have it on the side, right?

All kinds of websites I go to offer MORE content, more ideas to visitors, and make suggestions. I see nothing wrong with that, and the method in which EzineArticles has implemented it is still fair to authors, because it’s beneath the article, far beneath it.

It gives readers and YOU a fair chance to draw them in (if you leave out the ad argument), which in the end shows whether or not you are a good enough writer in your niche.

You talk about other authors being punished, removing this feature would be punishing good authors as well, for your current short comings; and that’s where I would draw the line and say: No way.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Research has shown people only SCROLL DOWN when they LIKED what was being presented. If the don’t they will leave, not look further down for more info. If they are scrolling down it means they liked what was presented and now want to know more about it.

[Reply]

Tina L. Jones writes:

To Devon, EXACTLY.

Which is why I would still disagree with Jennifer’s stance. I do not think it is wrong to suggest more to a visitor.

If Jennifer wants the person to only have one option: their article, then they should place ONE article on their own site, where it can simply just be the article itself.

But, here’s another key: if people want to know MORE about something, shouldn’t you use that to your advantage and show them that they can know more in your author box?

It still means that the sales pitch was weak, according to me. The sales pitch doesn’t have to scream at a person, it just has to WORK.

If someone is scrolling down to learn more elsewhere than from your author box, well that tells me that your sales pitch does not deliver.

I have seen articles have extremely high CTR’s even with all of the ads and article suggestions around an article.

In the end, if someone is scrolling down, and there are potential authors who can meet that persons needs for content or information, then it’s fine according to me even still.

May the best author win then, and that is up to the visitor.

[Reply]

Tina L. Jones writes:

Touching upon your third point:

I agree with the suggestion that authors who consistently do not meet the standards should be banned, or face a penalty. That method, though harsh, would control the issues of writers who IGNORE the standards, and writers who REFUSE to improve.

It could create more awareness to instill a more prominent penalty, ban, or complete block/removal from the site. The awareness would let authors know that they need to keep themselves up to date with the standards EzineArticles requires, which they inform us of on their blog, twitter account, and site itself.

But how many authors actually look at this? There are tons and tons of authors, but I only see a handful of authors actually taking note of the new information and guidelines that EzineArticles releases.

I am all for creating a limit or a window for failure or error, which is tight; that way it will no longer be so easy for authors to spam or seemingly ignore the guidelines and standards.

I am all for creating such a limit, which would completely block certain authors after a point. But I agree with this only if it is unilateral and across the board.

This could get tricky, however, since articles can go into a problem status for natural errors, or based on other issues that CAN be resolved; thus those authors are improving or have simple mistakes, and I do not believe they should be penalized.

BUT, there are authors whose content, as we know, may not be up to par. They just squeak by, or fall through the cracks with weak content, minimal word count, and we all know the rest.

For those authors, EzineArticles has penalized them by taking away their author ranking, and by limiting their submissions until they are in good a good standing again. But clearly that is not good enough, and is not working.

Limiting what they submit, can put them on a watch for a period of time; but it still means they are allowed to submit. It’s still a problem, a very touchy issue, at that.

But perhaps the ban on those who have a 20% or higher rejection rate would be adequate in the end. It’s not a matter or penalizing poor authors, because ALL authors are being given an equal opportunity to improve and write according to the standards.

Thus, it’s more of a matter of weeding out the problematic authors, who ignore the quality standards, who ignore the rules, and who even consistently ignore the advice of the editors themselves with their articles.

This may, of course, have to admit authors who make minimal errors; such as title errors or spelling or grammar mistakes. I know we are supposed to be English perfectionists as authors, but I have made errors myself on occasion, and wouldn’t want to be banned for making a mistake that can be corrected.

But, there are clearly other mistakes and issues that go beyond simple and unintended errors; and those should be dealt with.

Thus I agree with the third point in the post above.

[Reply]

Jennifer J writes:

Tina says people scrolling down past the article means people DIDN’T like the article and Devon says it means they DID like the article.

LOL, here is why you are both wrong :) …

If people liked my article, why should I be happy about them scrolling down below it and looking for other peoples’ articles when I’m the one that satisfied their wants/needs?

Naturally if they liked my article, they’d click my link or want to see my other articles.

SO THEREFORE, if EzineArticles puts any links below my articles, they should be links to my OTHER RELEVANT articles. Reward ME, not others.

If people didn’t like my article, then they most likely won’t be scrolling down (it’s been proven most people hate scrolling)… so instead, they will simply bounce from the website, not scroll to look for more stuff they associate with “crap.”

So you’re both wrong.

By the fury of Tina’s response, it seems she has personal motive for keeping those unnecessary links below the articles. Maybe you MAGICALLY have a lot of articles on the most viewed and published list and YOU are JEALOUSLY guarding your territory. lol.

Sorry, but MY article should be the STAR of the article page. Once EzineArticles makes that happen, google will reward them.

Everything else on the page is clutter, regardless of if it’s below the fold and below the article.

I knew someone would bring up the argument of saying those other article links encourage people to look around EzineArticles. Sure, kinda.

But who says that’s in the best interest of EzineArticles… and it’s definitely NOT in the best interest of the author of the articles.

Those 45 article links may be in the best SHORT TERM interest of EzineArticles, but if they’re smart, they get rid of all or most of them because they aren’t what’s best for the long term… and I do understand the value of internal linking.

Excessive internal linking is UNNATURAL and I bet google doesn’t like that.

45 links to OTHER ARTICLES… that’s crazy. 43 ad links out, that’s crazy.

If EzineArticles wants authors to love them and go forward with them in the future, show love for the article and not let it be used and abused with those parasitic links away from it.

Authors would love EzineArticles and write even MORE articles if EzineArticles put article links to “more articles from this author” below their own articles.

[Reply]

Jennifer J writes:

Tina, in your response to Devon, you contradict what you said earlier.

You said if people scroll below article, they didn’t like it. Not you agree with Devon that it means they did like it.

You’re jumping around and seem to grasp for any reason to keep those links.

And your comment “may the best author win” says a lot about your motivation in regards to SATURATING other links on article pages.

It’s a contest? You mean I need to compete with others on MY OWN article’s page. Lovely. What made these other articles so deserving of this honor?

Why aren’t my other articles deserving?

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

And in a nut shell that is why there are so many BAD articles being published here. People don’t care about you or your website (general you, not Jennifer J). All they care about is how you can help them solve their problem. If your article fixes their problem, they will love you and come to your website and/or share it with others. If you tell them that they need to come to your website to solve their problem, most will leave in disgust.

You will also loose standing in Google if you only provide internal links on your website. As Google has said many times, “NO ONE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS”. Anyone who claims to do so, will get dropped in the search engines – not propelled to the top. Again, for the same reason – if you’re trying to help people solve their problem your info is useful. Making them stay on your website or buy your stuff before you’ll help them makes your info useless to most people and thus NOT RELEVANT.

Plus, research has shown that people will look at three or four different websites before making a decision which one to deal with. If your website doesn’t offer them the help they are looking for one of the others likely will. Again, they don’t care about YOU so if you deny them the opportunity to get MORE INFO on the same topic, in favor of slamming more of your own info in their face, they will again continue to your competition and use their stuff.

It’s easy to know if your things are working – how many CONVERSIONS are you getting (people who go from visitor to buyer, user, client, etc.)? If you’re not getting many, your stuff doesn’t work – PERIOD! – NO MATTER HOW MANY VISITORS YOU HAVE – which doesn’t really mean anything if they are not turning into conversions.

When it comes to EzineArticles, we have one additional measure of success – how many people are publishing and sharing your work. If there are not many people doing either, your work is again non-useful to the people who look at it. So look at the “EzinePublisher” element and see how many there are? That will tell you how useful your work really is.

[Reply]

Jennifer J writes:

Devon, by your very own logic you said if people scroll past the article, that means they liked it.

How is “slamming more of your own info in their faces” bad for them then? By your logic, that would mean they’d most likely want to see MORE of your articles and probably not be as happy seeing articles by other authors under the article they just happily read.

Sounds like the EzinePublisher is halfway out the door already… as it should be.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

First off, I didn’t say “Scroll Past” that was your discussion – I said “Scroll Down” – something people only do when they see something they like “above the fold”. That does impact scroll past because if they don’t like the article, they won’t scroll past – they’ll leave (which someone else already said).

As to the rest – as I have said, people don’t care about you, your website, or your article (general you again). All they care about is how well you address and solve their problem. If your not doing that, you are of no use to them. If your work is of no use to them, why would they not scroll down beyond your work where they know other works of the same topic await them? It has nothing to do with you or your work – only your ability to deal with and solve their problem. If you’re only goal is to get them to use your work or come to your website – then how can you be of use to them? You haven’t done anything to address or solve their problem. All you’re doing is working to try and trick them into coming to your website!

On your last note – Ezine needs to do better, like stop the kinds of articles being talked about here. That is why they got slapped – because they let that work through when it doesn’t provide anything relevant or usable to anyone but the writer.

[Reply]

Tina L. Jones writes:

You are already competing with others on your OWN article page. There are ads on the page, and you said yourself in your magical plan that ads could still be on the page, just reduced. So you don’t mind ads, but you mind real competition, such as OTHER authors? Who is to say that your other articles are relevant to the interest of the reader?

Perhaps your “other” articles are in other topics that don’t relate in the same vertical, or your ‘other’ articles are in different niches that don’t interest the reader. Then what?

I don’t see anything wrong with the links, so you are right in saying I would agree with Devon. It’s not about whether or not you think I am contradicting myself, as I am free to change my opinions should they need correcting or if there is a better argument presented.

That is how a person grows, but that is besides this entire discussion of EzineArticles. As it goes, you believe that your articles should be listed all over the place, although they may not even be recent.

So are you wanting the same OLD content to be swirled around over and over again on EzineArticles?

At least with their current list settings, new articles and recent articles can be listed. There is a limit of 60 days, or less depending on the category. But what you are suggesting would remove the limit and would impose the same content to be recycled over and over on your articles, and my articles, and everyone’s articles.

What if MY readers already read my other articles, and don’t want to be reminded or suggested to read the same article again? I guess you like your readers to only have the same thing offered.

People like variety, and if you want them to simply choose your articles, put them on your website, where you drive traffic to; because that’s the only place where people can see your content EXCLUSIVELY.

I simply disagree with your argument that those specific links should be removed. Perhaps they can be altered or worked with; but they have been around for quite some time, and as long as you are submitting regular content and know how to work with EzineArticles, you can effectively link to your articles from those links anyway.

But I don’t get the impression that your articles are being linked to, because you suggested that you may not be able to write regularly anymore.

Keep in mind that I have competition too, and my competition trumps me most of the time in those categories. So it’s not exactly a matter of my own personal gain either here; but simply a matter of a tool that I find to be useful, because I am a regular writer.

You are not regular, thus you don’t find it to be useful to see everyone else’s articles up there instead of yours, BUT it helps more of the relevant content get distributed.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

And the other thing those articles do is pass around link juice INTERNALLY, which is a good thing. Not to mention that search engines give us 100% authority on our own internal links, so keywords in them if people titled their articles properly is a huge boost.

Jennifer is obviously one of the ones writing with the self centered mentality. Clueless on the importance of internal linking to other pages, and hell bent on me me me me because she wants to be the star. There ya go, just a prime example of why places like this got hit so hard. Most of the content was self centered, it wasn’t about the reader. I rest my case in just about everything I’ve said on this page so far.

[Reply]

Jennifer J writes:

Tina,

I don’t know what you’re reading, but if it was my post, please reread it for better clarity because your reply doesn’t make much sense in regards to what I wrote.

Jim,

As I mentioned, I already know the importance of internal linking.

But your knowledge of SEO is quite “self-centered” and basic :) so I will clear this up for you.

There are 45, yes 45 internal links on the pages of 250-500 word articles. That’s ridiculous LINK SPAM. That’s a link for every 6-12 words. Unnatural = BAD = Google hates! “I rest my case.”

You seem to have a strong opinion of me and know a lot about me and my writings without even reading any of my articles.

This type of judgemental “hell bent” ignorance with a “me me me” I know it all and need to try and talk down to everyone is why EzineArticles got “hit so hard”… because people like you probably write articles in 10′s of different categories pretending to be an expert on everything.

I’m sure some authors like you depend on piggybacking off superior writers’ articles, but unfortunately for you, the STAR of the page IS the ARTICLE… and if EzineArticles doesn’t make that happen, it doesn’t have a bright future.

You and Tina should stay on topic. I don’t like having to go off topic to defend myself from immature subtle (Tina) and overt (Jim) attacks.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

Nice try Jen, the self centered shows in your own words how it’s all about you and your article. Again, nice try on the so many niches I write for here. Pull at your own nose, I have 2 articles here that have been waiting on review for a while now. So much for that idea. You suggest ignorance when your own reflects so much in what you’ve wrote, going on and on about your article and being the star. Do have a nice day though.

[Reply]

118

“Our Expert Authors DELIVERED great content” – I really wish you’d stop calling everyone an “Expert Author”. It gives many people cause to think they’re special when their writing or content reveal very much that they’re not. And some use the “Expert Author” moniker in their resumes, which does nobody any good, since it misleads, and also devalues the position of those who truly are expert.

And to think that your authors all delivered great content is laughable Chris. I think that this, combined with the obviously dreadful quality of many articles, does you no credit.

I look forward to seeing the new, tightened-up EzineArticles.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 4:26 PM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

I totally agree with you. There really should be three levels: writer, author, and expert author – with expert author replacing Platinum Expert Author. The problem in changing it is that you would have to go through 377,362 accounts and review each one. I think that it would be worth the work as it would let everyone know that QUALITY is again number one on the site. Then as long as they continue to maintain quality, it would propel them well beyond the others.

[Reply]

Scott Broadbent writes:

While it may take a while to go through all accounts to review each one, it’d be a simple matter to set everyone to a basic “writer” status, and then prioritize account reviews in order of how long ago the user last submitted an article, so the author who submitted one yesterday gets priority over someone whose last submission was 3 years ago.

I definitely agree though that the Expert title should only go to those who earned it.

[Reply]

119
DevonK writes:

On point 4 – I always felt it would be best to create a defined list of criteria (both essential and non-essential). You can then have the editors check off which criteria are met in any given article. Some could be “proper spelling”, “proper grammar”, “no promotional hype” etc. Then only those that meet all the essential criteria and a set number of the non-essential ones get published. That way it takes away a massive amount of the subjectivity about what is and isn’t a good article. It will never eliminate it all, but at least it ensures 100% uniformity on what is and isn’t acceptable. It will also make it a lot easier on the editors because they know what it expected of them.

It also makes it a lot easier to tell those people who get rejected what’s missing from their work – “The article is only about getting people to your website – it needs to contain useful information that people can still use even if they don’t come to your website” as an example.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 4:32 PM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

This was supposed to be a reply to #117 – OPPS!

[Reply]

120
Leeanne writes:

Although I applaud your efforts to maintain the quality of EzineArticles, I don’t want to see that our author boxes are No Follow links and that we cannot submit our articles anywhere else. Many of us write quality articles for EzineArticles to get those backlinks, but need to maximize our time by having the option to publish elsewhere (under the same pen name). I believe that you would lose a lot of quality writers if you removed DoFollow links and limited us to only submitting our article to Ezine.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 4:46 PM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

The problem with your argument is that the more duplicate content you have the LESS value your backlinks have (which isn’t much to begin with as the search engines know YOU created the links in the first place and the undervalue them accordingly). However, once you have duplicate content the search engines will only list what they feel is the “original” (meaning most relevant site). Everything else will simply not exist as far as they are concerned. You’re far better to write something new along the same lines for each of the other sites. Then it’s always new content – not duplicate.

It would be better on that front if EzineArticles added an “Canonical” box when you submit the work so you can specify that the content is duplicate and that the original is located “WHEREVER”. Then it would free EzineArticles from worrying about duplicate content in the first place. The downside is that the Canonical reference must be in the HEAD section of the website and not in the content. It sadly also means that article will likely NEVER appear in the search engines anyway. So there is a trade-off in doing so. Either way, duplicate content isn’t good content.

[Reply]

Kathy writes:

I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that canonical is domain specific. Therefore you would only use it if there was additional identical content on the same domain. It does not apply across every domain on the web.

So telling Google that a page’s content is canonical would be a lie that would confuse it as it would not find another identical article on the EzineArticles.com domain itself.

Until now Google didn’t appear to really devalue duplicate content across domains. It was more about duplicate content fully within your own domain. My understanding of the whole gist of the duplicate content part of this algorithm change is that now they are identifying it across all domains in their index and devaluing a the (non-original sources) as well as the domain that houses a substantial percentage of it.

I think that this is why the penalty affected sites like this one more than sites like Ehow.com. Even though Ehow.com has a tremendous amount of low quality content, the vast majority of that content is original to their website. They force writers to create articles in a certain format which makes it harder for a writer to copy someone else’s content verbatim.

[Reply]

121
Dave Evans writes:

It all comes down to subject and quality . Anything that tries to maintain a level of stardards is agood thing.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 5:08 PM

[Reply]

122
Eren Mckay writes:

If you add the nofollow attribute to the author bio box, I will remove all of my articles from your directory and will be very sad that you did so. No follow was created for spam reasons and even though I see you haven`t yet made this move.. I am just saying that I will personally not put my articles here anymore if you make this move.
As a writer who only submits quality content, ( and by the way – I always publish my article directory articles on your directory first) I will simply go elsewhere.
I know you have not yet made this move I am just saying that as writers we deserve respect and I hope you will act accordingly.
I do not take less that 3 hours to write and format a good article.. that deserves some kind of benefit and credit. It is not against Google`s terms of service to give credit where credit is due.
I could go on and on about this… but I won`t. I just wanted to voice my opinion on this matter so that you may see this from a writer`s perspective.
All the best,
Eren Mckay

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 5:48 PM

[Reply]

123
Carol writes:

Hi Chris,

I had read some of the comments on this post with interest and am grateful that the no follow issue has been removed from the table for now.

Personally, I feel that adding no follow would mean the death of EzineArticles. However, the steps you are taking to improve the quality and relevancy of articles can only be of benefit to both Google, Ezine Authors and Members (even with your already high standards).

This is obviously a serious issue for EzineArticles as I imagine that traffic declines would impact your adsense revenue. Perhaps a user pays model on a pay per article basis (think eBay) would both reduce reliance on adsense and keep the article quality high as well as improve the end user experience. Might even remove some of the small number of authors who provide poor quality, low value information.

I don’t have a lot of articles published in EzineArticles as yet but do appreciate the stance that EzineArticles takes in ensuring quality information versus some other article directories.

Comment provided February 27, 2011 at 6:57 PM

[Reply]

124
Jeff writes:

Hi,

As someone that’s actually aware of the algorithm change and what it’s affecting, I’ll give you a little hint… you have WAY too many adsense ads on your article pages.

If you’d like traffic to return to the levels you previously had, you better think about removing 90% of the ads on your pages. It’s clear to Google that your purely trying to collect adsense earnings and that is low quality.

Use no more than 1 adsense block per article page and you will see much better results.

Best,

Jeff

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 12:01 AM

[Reply]

125
Jim Sanders writes:

Just a word of caution and advice to you. If you want people to deliver quality, so you can paste dozens of ads all over the place to make millions, and you decide you’re going to go a paid route, be different than most the other sites doing the same and don’t offer $15-$25 for it. Then again, if the cheap labor and poor quality is all you’re interested in, then have at it, but realize, I won’t be one of those members.

On the rest, it’s simple, bump up your algorithms to better catch the ones submitting fluff with the sole intentions of getting backlinks and nothing more.

The internet get rich quick phenomenon drives your issues. As others in this thread already pointed out, most the articles on this site are self serving, in the fact that, people did them with the expectations of getting something from their work. Things done in that mind frame tend to be lower quality than things done with the intention of providing reader information as a means to solve their problems and issues.

If you find a method that rewards those writing for the reader and not their own self centered intent, you’ll do well. If your model serves to perpetuate self ego, then EzineArticles will continue to fail.

It all boils down to greed and intent. When is enough, well, enough? How much is too much? Providing articles written in desperation to make money online is not the way to go.

People read things that help them, they become vested and act, they share, they link, and a variety of other things. Find ways to encourage your writers to foster that instead of their own self centered gains, and you’ll realize a level of success unlike any before.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 12:01 AM

[Reply]

126

I am quite happy that the plan to go to “no follow” has been scrapped (at least for now). I write ALL of my own content and it serves dual purposes, to not only educate, but for business as well.

As for Mako, I applaud your purist ideology and the fact that you are shocked by all of those who are backing Susan’s point of view. You are entitled to your own viewpoint.

But, as can be plainly seen, the majority of the writers here do NOT agree with you.

Tell my why a writer who publishers original content should NOT be rewarded with a “follow” link in their bio box?

It is sad that Google or any other SE can dictate how a solvent company sees fit to conduct their business, quite troubling, if you ask me.

Google’s job should be to ferret out the sites that they find “offensive”, not dictate policy at or more accurately threaten the livelihood of a business that is conducting itself in a manner that it sees fit.

EzineArticles is a business. Google is a business. Making ALL links at EzineArticles no follow is a losing proposition for all parties involved.

It would be a devastating business decision for EzineArticles to follow.

I sure hope this never happens.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 12:30 AM

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

“It is sad that Google or any other SE can dictate how a solvent company sees fit to conduct their business, quite troubling, if you ask me.”

And the problem is your understanding of the issue. Bottom line simple fact, the ones hit, like Ezine, got hit because of their FAILURE to weed out the garbage, plain and simple. The search engines, in their best interest, have an obligation to make their search results useful. If a company refuses to moderate their content, it leaves the search engine with little other choice.

Evidently, in this situation, certain search engines, because Google is NOT the only one that targeted article mills, deemed said mills were NOT policing their ranks adequately enough. Since the content producers, the companies built on those like EzineArticles business model, continued to fail, or refused to change the way their content was produced, allowing utter and complete garbage within it, those search engines took the next step to ensure their search results. Bottom line.

As a person that also searches, not only writes, I was continually frustrated with the results of MANY search engines lately because of the utter garbage at the top. MOST of that garbage resulted from people gaming the system.

If you are one that writes articles that HELP people solve their problems, and it’s not the normal common sense BS that people already know with the hopes that it’ll get you plenty of traffic in return, then you will do well. If you are one that uses places like this site to game the system, offering garbage, then you might wish to rethink your present business model.

[Reply]

Jim, I DO understand the issue, and quite clearly.

Google has become a monopoly. That was what I was trying to point out.

I hear you about the SE results for many of the SE’s out there. It can be quite frustrating to see sites ranking well with little to no value to the searcher.

I have and will continue to write well-researched and technically correct content. I am a RN, and an expert in my field.

By re-reading your post several times, I get the sense that you are quite aggravated with a lot of the trash out there, as far as article content goes. And, I am with you on that one.

The only problem that I see with your viewpoint is that at some point, the value of the content presented here or on the SE results is a subjective thing.

Well-written content that is common-sense or not, is NOT a form of gaming the system. In fact, much of what you find in many published hard cover books is freely available, if one is so inclined to do the research.

Do you see where I am going?

Original content should reward the reader with great information and the writer with well-earned traffic.

So how does one determine original and well-written content? Therein, lies the rub.

The quandary is that those who write excellent content could and may be affected adversely by the very changes that are supposed to affect the “garbage” content producers.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

I can agree that quality is quite subjective in nature. However, on search, the object is providing the content the searcher looks for. I’d suspect, most times, that’s not content in the most basic forms of explanation, depending on subject.

I speak of things like car buying, as referenced in a quoted example I use later down on the page. Most common sense things like that, and an author pointing out the most base, usually already known points, does little to help a reader with solution for their needs. Again, that is subjective depending on the niche as well, and how technical something is.

[Reply]

127
elizabeth (bet) writes:

My eyes are about to fall out after reading all this. How does this affect our rushing to get 100-200 articles written in 100 days? I haven’t the brains to follow SEO. I am just plodding along trying to write quality articles. That is not easy. I am still just a basic. My topic is more difficult that acia berries or relationships, but that does not seem to matter. I appreciate the platform that Ezine provides, but I do not think we should work so hard for no benefit. Put our articles on our own sites.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 3:05 AM

[Reply]

128
Stuseo writes:

I’ve been reading this with interested and I just wanted to say, I’m sure on behalf of everyone here, that you’re doing a great job and it’s fantastic to see the way you’ve been interacting with all of the members .

I write my articles because I need links, I won’t lie, however that isn’t to say I don’t carefully research and plan out the content I put up here, and my ambition is usually to write a 600 quality article (unless I’m pushed for time). As with the others, adding a nofollow attribute would cause me not to submit articles here, so I’m glad you’ve decided against doing this for the time being.

So thanks for listening to us and it’s appreciated that you’ve let us know what’s going on.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 3:46 AM

[Reply]

129
Nauman writes:

From my initial research:

fact 1: ezine results are down. i checked 15 to 20 articles/keywords that were glued to number 1 result or were in 1st page of google for a long time.

fact 2: google is preferring results from authority web sites and community driven web sites such as forums, etc.

What Can Ezine Do Now:

1 > Allow community to participate in articles through more powerful comments system and obviously with zero tolerance for comment spam.

2 > Introduce more powerful ways to share articles through social media.

3 > Put a forum box under the articles to let community participate in discussion about a particular article (i am not sure if it is technically possible, just giving an idea). Its also true it will reduce the click through rates but something is better than nothing.

4 > Start optimizing content for bing/yahoo and let us all stop Google to establish its monopoly.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 4:18 AM

[Reply]

David Lenef writes:

Nauman, that is great advice!

[Reply]

130
Colin writes:

Ezine has always been the highest quality article directory IMO.

I think you guys should carry on as you are.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 4:51 AM

[Reply]

131
Simon writes:

Perhaps the simple truth is that Ezine has now had it’s day and all the head scratching in the world wont change this simple fact.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 5:05 AM

[Reply]

132
Alan Bumstead writes:

I’m simply amazed at some of the comments here. I do agree very strongly with Susan’s solid comments above (way-to-go Susan). There’s no reason why an online business owner cannot have two hats on 1) to create good useful authority content for their readership, and 2) monitise that content to improve the quality of the information by using suitable advertising. What do you think advertising is all about?

I don’t (IMO) however understand the nonsense added by ezine author!!!
____________________________________
Ezine Author writes:
This guy above is spot on. Your site is so PLAIN, aside from the ugly ads thrown everywhere. The only visual support visitors get are your ugly ads, and links all over the place.

Most of the time EzineArticles is hard on the eyes, because of how crammed it looks, and how much is thrown into one page surrounding an article. I was happy when I had an ad-blocking Firefox extension, because the pages actually looked clean for a change.

It would be nice to see customizable interfaces that Authors could use to make their pages/articles more relevant to people in 2011.

The way you have your site right now, reminds me of books from the 1940?s. No pictures, just text, text, text. It’s 2011. Get with the times, people are all about visual stimulation.

It’s nearly impossible to even open up a text book or even novel in the library without some form of Imagery, Photographs, Illustrations etc… used.

People like to SEE what they are reading, and like visual stimulation. It helps get the message across better. It’s probably why you have VIDEOS and PICTURES on your blog here, because text alone can be cumbersome and dull.

You know that, I know it; so why are your article pages still so dull and lacking a relevant 2011 upgrade?

Honestly the only images I can find on a page, are the tiny squares from ads; or the tiny squares for author pictures. OH, and that little yellow star beside some authors’ names. How intriguing and stimulating (mind my sarcasm)!

P.S.
Just because you rank well for an article directory, it does not mean that you are the best. Look at the websites ranking now in Google, are they the best? Most people here would say the websites ranking at the moment are not the best.

As an example:
Myspace used to be the best at it’s peak. It’s not peaking anymore. Why is that? Myspace didn’t change. Facebook came along, and Facebook revolutionized the social industry, because Facebook changes their INTERFACE.

They upgrade, and change, and adapt new ideas. The only upgrades your external site has had is the addition of ads. Unsightly ads.

Does that make you the best then? I highly doubt it.
February 26, 2011 at 9:48 PM
____________________________________

I have been a college lecturer for 23 years working with 16 to 18 year old (notoriously difficult to please) and I understand there are different catagories of ‘learner’ amongst us and we must cater for all of them to be any good at our craft. I for one class myself as a visual learner, preffering images to explain stuff and understand content.

That said I have always been a seriously avid reader of books with no pictures in them, not one, that’s why I buy them – to read, not look at pictures. If I want that style of info I can find it more easliy now than at any other time in history.

Because there are Ads and links everywhere on the net does not deter me from reading great content where ever I find it. I for one think that eZine should NOT go the ‘visual’ route. I accept the level of pure text… that’s why I came here. I can go to YouTube or any other visual site if I want visual info and stimulation.

Also, please eZine do not go the NoFollow route because that is why I write good content and send it here. Solid info which is rewarded with decent link juice.
Regards Alan B.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 6:29 AM

[Reply]

133
Devan Persaud writes:

Google is at-least 50% responsible for this situation because of the algorithms they use. Now they are trying to correct the situation which they have created and to a certain extend I agree. However, as usual with large corporations they end -up crushing the little guys and allowing the real culprits to carry-on. I have written about 25 articles. All of which I have researched and are unique to Ezines. My traffic has stopped almost completely. Now the intelligent unethical folk will always find ways around Google’s rules. Why not target them? The black -hat communities? The people actually making the automated article writing tools? Why did they choose Ezines? Ezines has some of the strictest,most ethical rules for article publishing. There are so many others of lesser quality. Google is hurting many of the ethical affiliate marketers that are trying to make an honest living. Maybe Google should ban affiliate marketing all together … but then I suppose they would lose too much money from the big “guys”. Why should only the most successful marketers and gurus continue to flourish while the little guys take a beating. There is no legitimate reason for my articles to have lost so much traffic overnight. I wasn’t spamming. I didn’t re-publish. I abide by the keyword quota and there is good information to help others. Google has really penalized me and all the hard work I have done for no reason at all. It is hard not to have hard feelings towards them.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 6:31 AM

[Reply]

Edward Weiss writes:

You said it friend. Google blows!

[Reply]

134
ashraf writes:

The real question to answer right now – what is a high quality content in Google’s eyes ?

You see, if you have a 400 words high quality article and another person has also 400 words low quality article and you give these 2 articles to Google, they’ll never know which one is a high quality content.

Why ? Because they are “bot” This is the main reason why those sites with even lower quality contents in our eyes replace those high quality EzineArticles.

So, the trick here is to find aspects that are most likely checked by bots :

1- Length of articles – keep it above 500 words. Low quality article is always shorter than high quality.

2- Include image – Image increases quality of your content. And also it’s a common sense, people like pictures.

3- Links in the article – not just reference to your site but reference to other authority and notable sites.

4- How you structure your content – number of paragraphs,etc. This is also a common sense because it’s related to user experience. Have you ever seen how spammer puts their content ? One big block of words ! You feel reluctant to read it when you see it in the first place.

These are few things that I can think of right now. Feel free to add.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 6:32 AM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

You made the mistake of thinking that Google only crawls the pages. They also focus on how many links direct back to that work and are CLICKED. How many times it’s appeared in the search results and gets clicked or ignored. They look at where they see links to that work. There are countless other tools they use to determine RELEVANCE than the work itself. Exactly because it is subjective what is important and what isn’t.

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

Very true. If every author would find some place to link to each of their articles, it would also help. That’s where Ping.fm comes in handy. You can post the article on Facebook, Twitter, and a dozen other social media sites. They may be no-follow links, but they are still digested by the search engines as positive points for the article.

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135
Jim Sanders writes:

Ashraf points out some good points. The problem is, many forget that all things internet have bases in other real world places. Example in point, this very page you’re reading, it’s a book page. Book pages have titles, they have chapter headings, they have section headings, paragraphs, pictures, etc.

The more we understand about the print counterpart, in reality yet most people online don’t realize this, the structure and format gives natural SEO boosts. This is one part to pay particular attention to when crafting our content, not only here at Ezine, but anywhere else.

One other point mentioned is article length. The rub with that one, we expand article length, and the ones still trying to game the system just find all kinds of crap to stuff a submission with, which will more than likely leave the same longer article just as crappy as what they normally submitted in past. Article length, to me, will do nothing. It’s not a deterrent. To adhere to that, all Google does later is bump it up. Next time things fall, what do we do? Goto 1000 words minimum? Do you understand what I’m getting at with that one? Length is not the answer. The only ones who’ll abide the way we want them to are the people already writing quality content, not the gamers trying to manipulate rank, they’ll just stuff more fluff into it to hit the mark.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 7:07 AM

[Reply]

Jim,

Great points about the article length idea. More verbosity in of itself, does not guarantee quality content.

I sure hope that increased article length requirements do NOT go in to effect.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

Too late, it’s what they already intend to do, and again, those causing the problems will game it just like they did the others, so, once again, no real solution or help for the issue.

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136

All,

I’m going to do my best to comment where possible, but I wanted everyone to know that our management team, our Developers, many of our key behind-the-scenes team members and I have read or will be reading every single comment today. Your input matters and is appreciated!

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 7:20 AM

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137
Shannon writes:

I’m certainly no expert and I’m enjoying reading all of this. But I’m not sure that every one commenting is actually googling their acticles to see what’s actually happening. I agree that quality SHOULD be favored in google’s eyes. And I believe that I write high quality articles. In fact, when I google my top performing articles, they still rank very high. The problem is, they are ranking on web sites that have stripped my resource box and were posted long after the original article was posted on EzineArticles.

So google still likes my articles, but it doesn’t like my articles on EzineArticles nearly as much (because those have dropped well below the fold in many cases – while the scraped sites (where I’m not getting credit) are now in the top spots.)

For the record, those now high ranking sites seem to be including ALL TYPES of articles. So, you have the low quality 300 word article vomit on them as well. They don’t seem picky about what they publish. In fact, they appear to me to be RSS feeds and nothing more.

What is the difference between EzineArticles and the article directories that got hit and these scraper sites? I don’t know but I think that’s the million dollar question. They do appear to have less ads but they certainly have their fair share also.

I will say that in googling the same terms this moring, my EzineArticles articles are climbing, but the scrape sites still hold the top spots in most cases, and my EzineArticles articles (which is where I publish first so this is where the article was “original”) are still below the fold.

Who knows why this is. It does appear to be changing a little. I hope this means google is actually ironing out the kinks. Because as far as I can tell, the whole idea was to devalue the content farms. And yet, scraper sites that are exactly that and very rarely keep the resource box intact are what are at the top of google (with the same articles), at least as of now.

So the whole argument of high quality, exclusive articles doesn’t appear to be what google is rewarding, at least as far as I’m seeing. Please understand that I’m certainly not saying these things aren’t important. I know google seems to imply that they are and I also believe they are. But the sites that hold the top spots as of right now (at least in my niches) are certainly not the sites that demand this.

It’s just so confusing. I will still do the only thing I know to do – to continue to focus on quality. But it sure is frustrating to see google still rewarding my articles but not on sites I want to be associated with. And trying to have all of these removed would be a job in itself. If I placed all my focus on that, there would be no time for anything else.

I’ve not been around long enough to see how and if and when google will correct this. I do believe EzineArticles will weather this and I also notice that EzineArticles is STILL the top ranking article directory in the rankings. It’s just that ALL the article directories (except those scraper sites) have gotten hit.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 7:43 AM

[Reply]

ashraf writes:

From what you are saying, it looks like Google is targeting the “sites” instead of “content” itself.

Is this just a “smoke screen” by Google to get people to focus on “higher” quality ?

Hmm now this is becoming more confusing. Let’s wait and see how this thing goes.

At the same time, just do what we normally do – write good content :)

[Reply]

Shannon writes:

That’s what it looks like to me. I’ve run countless articles over the last three days and that’s what I’m seeing across the board. You’re right. All we can control is ourselves. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve always done and hope google comes around. I can’t worry about anything else but putting out the quality that has always been rewarded. Honestly, that’s really all I know how to do. I don’t know enough about SEO and I’m seeing and hearing so many conflicting things I’m just going to do what has always seemed to work in the end and hope it all works out. Surely, google doesn’t want it’s users going to sites that in some cases don’t even show the whole article. I’d think they’d want to fix this eventually.

[Reply]

Dave writes:

Supposedly, this lastest Farmers update was algorithmic. Unlike the slap that happened to Squidoo a few years back this wasn’t targeting specific sites.

And there have been some changes in the rankings it seems today (although this can just be data center variations).

Last night the EzineArticles article of this name didn’t make it into the top 50 yet it is on the most popular list and would be getting a large internal link bump normally.

http://www.google.com/search?q=How+To+Stop+Panic+Attacks+In+3+Simple+Steps&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=xhl&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=ivns&ei=0cZrTYyrFIGKlwed3PyBAg&start=10&sa=N

today it’s on page 2 in Google.

Again, people are painting a broad brush here saying that ‘article directories’ are specifically targeted. Maybe. But they are far from dead and non-existent.

Ultimately, the question for Chris is what are the underlying issues Google had with the trust of EZA? Is this related to content, amount of ads, publishing rate, internal linking, etc.?

Some of the issues people brought up like scraping, republishing of crap spun content, etc. cannot really be addressed when it’s done using EzineArticles as a source and not a destination point. Making EzineArticles articles exclusive doesn’t deter any of this and it isn’t clear whether exclusivity is a strong enough trust factor.

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138
Carl Liver writes:

I have been in SEO for 12 years and seen dozens of these algo changes. The thing is not to make any changes till things settle down. Many sites get caught up in a algo change then return to normal. The one thing i do know is EzineArticles is the best at what it does and Google will come round to the same way of thinking.

PS. Don’t do the nofollow link, everybody will just go somewhere else to submit their articles and that would be a shame because you are the best site in the sector.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 8:28 AM

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139
Jason writes:

Here’s a place you can start cleearing the stuff you don’t class as content farming.

http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Frank_Hagan

This author has the same article written in a different way about 80 times which I’ve already reported before and nothing has been done about it.

How does he get awat with it?

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 8:52 AM

[Reply]

Nick Kellingley writes:

Agreed that’s apalling content – but Jason where’s the link to your own content for a compare and contrast?

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140
Steve writes:

This is not surprising considering how many junk articles are posted there.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 9:26 AM

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141
Herman writes:

“Don’t place all your eggs in one basket”

Here are my Top 7 Alternatives to Article Directory Submissions (see URL)

Feel free to add your own.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 9:31 AM

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142
Simon writes:

Live by Google, Die by Google. Basing any online business model on Google has never been a particularly wise thing to do.. Google does not care about anyone’s biz but their own.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 9:43 AM

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143
daniel writes:

I think that the discussion here is a little “FAKE”.

one post below this post, you published the “Think Big” post. And basically it says – write 100, 500 or even 1000!! articles to promote yourself.

Now, you must agree with me, that NOBODY can write 1000 real, unique, valuable articles on any niche subject. Basically what this post is doing, and ezine did all the time – encouraged people to write as many articles as they can – and literally making them write a lot of “vomit-articles”.

after 10, 15 really good articles, you see you get no value – so you start recycling the same material, you start pumping the article with empty words…

This is the real picture, this is what happened on Ezine.

The solution is very simple: you need 1 million authors with 10-50 articles each and not 10,000 with 1000 articles each (like Susan Greene and others)

Don’t be naive.

Good Luck.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

[Reply]

Susan Greene writes:

Daniel wrote: “The solution is very simple: you need 1 million authors with 10-50 articles each and not 10,000 with 1000 articles each (like Susan Greene and others)”

Hey, Daniel, what’s with the personal attack? I don’t have 1,000 articles posted on this site. Not even close. I have fewer than 10 in my name and about another 10 that I’ve ghostwritten for clients on a wide variety of subjects. I assure you they’re all excellent quality.

Writing is how I make my living and have for 20+ years. That hands-on experience combined with a BS in journalism and an MBA means I know what I’m doing. Read some of my work. You’ll see I don’t turn out junk.

Before you make a disparaging comment in which you single out an individual, you should do your research.

[Reply]

daniel writes:

Hi Susan,

I didn’t meant to attack you personally.
If i can edit the post, i will remove your name.

I talked about the 100+ or the 500+ authors.

Sorry again.

Daniel.

[Reply]

Steve Johnson writes:

Daniel is off base here and owes Susan Greene an apology. Her writing is first-rate, the advice she offers readers is excellent, and EzineArticles should be proud to have her as an expert author.

[Reply]

Nick Kellingley writes:

Agree Susan has written 5 decent articles, hardly content spam in anyway.

Better off looking at guys like this;

http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Omar_Negron

Over a thousand articles, nearly all identical, full of abysmal grammar and plugging MLM as a get rich quick scheme. I can’t even start with what’s wrong with allowing this kind of content…

[Reply]

144
Dave writes:

While the issues around the number of ads that appear on an article page has some value (perhaps) as a trust factor I think the elephant in the room is that it’s just been too easy to game EzineArticles.

Ignore the content issue for a minute. The “value” of EzineArticles to a certain group of internet marketers for years has been the trust of the domain and the backlink power of the link.

This is made more strong by the fact that you can manipulate EZAs internal linking through the purchasing of views, republishing of articles, etc. Getting an article into the ‘most published’ and ‘most popular’ lists has had a strong off page seo benefit. And despite attempts to tighten this up it’s still simple to game.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

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145
Jim Sanders writes:

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Mac-App-Store-And-Your-Program&id=5998282 you call this quality? Clearly a short article written with the intentions to get that guy a click to his business, to test their software for them. It’s that short crap like that that’s killing you. That was linked from the front page around 11:14AM EST 2-28-11

That right there is a prime example of what’s getting EZ slapped, and all the others. Maybe looking at all of those and scrubbing them out might help matters some?

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 10:16 AM

[Reply]

Edward Weiss writes:

Wow … I just looked at the article you referenced and noticed that the Google ads on the right hand side are now BIGGER than before.

Looks like the type size has increased. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. That’s great! More attention drawn towards ads. Yippee!!

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

Yeah, sad part of it is, THAT guy has a CRAPLOAD of articles in EzineArticles JUST like what I posted, pertaining probably to every mini site he owns online. Good job editors.

http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Lyndon_Ogden

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

Oh, and he’s an SEO gamer as well, missed that initially. Yeah, he’s an expert all right, at playing the game to rank clients with as little wording possible and general BS content that about everyone already knows if they aren’t dead.

[Reply]

Nick Kellingley writes:

I particularly like the fact that he’s misspelled flirty in the 4th article title on his list and it hasn’t been picked up by the editors…

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

And he still sits there today :) I’ve seen ONE result removed from the suggestions on this page, and that’s it. Unfortunately, his are not one of them.

[Reply]

146
Jim Sanders writes:

How bout some more examples maybe? Here’s another, around the same time, and how it didn’t trip your density filters is beyond me. This one basically gives the same common sense that any rock should know, or already know, when searching for this content. That’s value how? Telling them something they already know?

http://ezinearticles.com/?Patio-Doors-and-Windows&id=5959171

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 10:25 AM

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147
Bonnie Jo Davis writes:

People, please read the follow-up comments posted by Chris Knight. He is saying that the no follow has been taken off the table. That means our resource box links will continue to be do follow. Stop arguing about it.

My real concern is the results Google is now showing to searchers. I spent the day yesterday doing research for a client report and nothing from EzineArticles showed up for the search although it should have. Instead, I got scientific sites with studies that were no use to me and sites that were on free hosts that had no real content, had not been updated since 1996 or so and looked as though they were designed by three year olds. I had to leave Google to get the information I needed. I’m hoping Google will realize this change made things worse and I, for one, will be using another search engine until this is fixed.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

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148
Jim Sanders writes:

“Knowing that you need to replace your car requires a handful of tasks. A couple of these would be acquiring the money to make a purchase, and finding the best car dealers to get better offers. Most of us won’t even have the time to think about what is going on inside every Chicago car sales department.”

Duh, ya think? Front page again, approved, sitting in the back. Yeah, your editorial department, or whoever read the ones I’ve posted so far need a serious slap up aside their head.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 10:46 AM

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149

Bonnie,

good point. Google often favors old and very established sites, and the more you look at it, the more it is clear that Google has a problem to recognize or even care about ACTUAL CONTENT.

Labeling a site as “good” or “bad” simply based on its URL and then (in addition) labeling ALL content on that site as “good” or “bad” is incredibly silly.

A content is NOT automatically useful and good because it is on a 10 year old .gov Wiki site – in turn it is also NOT automatically bad simply because its on an article site.

Google demonstrates with this change they rather apply labels instead of looking at individual pages and individual pieces of content.

I am all for the “little” site having decent chances now to rank (which is good!)…but don’t like “domain branding”, that is Google favoring some sites over others.
The irony is that the sites which got stronger now are sites which are already incredible strong, amazon, ebay, wikipedia, sears etc. THOSE site do not need more exposure than what they already had. Its silly.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

“Google demonstrates with this change they rather apply labels instead of looking at individual pages and individual pieces of content.”

What would you expect when your livelihood was endangered? Wouldn’t you find quick ways to fix the situation? That’s exactly what Google did, they looked and asked the question, where is the BULK of some of this trash coming from? Article sites with crapy content, who continue to choose NOT to weed it out, was the result of that question.

It has nothing to do with labels, it has to do with, where is the bulk of my problem coming from?

[Reply]

Bonnie Jo Davis writes:

Was their livelihood endangered? EzineArticles isn’t the only one who makes a profit off Adwords on their article pages. Google takes a bigger piece of the pie and profits when someone visits EzineArticles, reads an article and clicks on an ad. By devaluing EzineArticles they have significantly reduced their own income from the site.

Bonnie

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

And I’ll point you to one of my posts lower on this page. There are OTHERS, even within this thread, saying their pages remained where they were. If Google LABELED the domain, then that wouldn’t happen, because, THOSE pages would be dumped as well. So again, it’s NOT domain labeling.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

And your above post should tell you something, when a company like Google is ready to CANNIBALIZE it’s own revenue from ads, there MUST be something wrong. If that doesn’t speak volumes, nothing will, and again, they did it because of the garbage the editors here left in.

[Reply]

Edward Weiss writes:

Brilliant reply Jim. But then again, most EzineArticles editors are twenty somethings. You get what you pay for.

[Reply]

150

Jim,

Google could without a doubt have implemented a better change instead of “domain favoring” and label applying.

For starters, they could de-value all content if it is not a certain length, things like that.

Come on, their algorithms are smart enough to determine usefulness of a single piece of content.

There is no reason to devalue a whole site, except to send a message. And i think this is what they did.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 11:38 AM

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

And what’s to say they didn’t include some of that in the latest algorithm? Boiling it down to assume they only labeled places like this is absurd when you, nor I, know exactly WHAT they did, and the ONLY places anyone is saying anything about it the content farms like this. I have YET to see ANYONE report anything on how it affected the other sites….so….based on that, I’d say, if Google was smart, in reality, they didn’t just “label” this site and the ones similar. What they included in the algorithm more than likely included OTHER sites as well. We’re just not hearing about them yet.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

Also, if they’d labeled and hit the ENTIRE domain, ALL the pages would suffer, but from what I’m hearing, even in this thread, NOT ALL did. Some report that they are still OK, and they are OK for OBVIOUS reasons. I know, there’s allot to read here, but I have, and that is proof it has nothing to do necessarily with labeling anything.

[Reply]

Gregory Wight writes:

I had a site hit. It went from PageRank 4 to 3 in a matter of one day.

The traffic fell off a little. So I am dumping one author that was spinning his content and publishing it on over 30 other sites.

This had to be the reason for the change, because there were no other changes made to the site in question.

I also publish on several different directories other than Ezine.com, and will continue with Ezine but never put all of your eggs in one basket, continues to be excellent advice even today.

There will always be other sources for SEO or linking if that is your desire, but quality links and content will, or should, prevail in the long term.

MSN has provided me with a lot of traffic as well as other smaller Search Engines.

I do not like being penalized for publishing work that is very similar to the content of other sites since Google kept saying that they do not punish sites for duplicate content unless it is on the same site.

[Reply]

Gregory Wight writes:

I meant EzineArticles.com, not Ezine.com.

Sorry, I tend to over-shorten everything when I write. It is a habit that I need to break that stems from note taking.

[Reply]

151
Erik Heyl writes:

Does anyone know if electronic or smokeless cigs are allowed? I didn’t see anything in the guidelines, but as I’m on a deadline I thought I’d ask here as well as send an email.

Thanks

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 11:40 AM

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152
David Lenef writes:

As a professional SEO, I can tell you that we here view EzineArticles as primarily a link building opportunity to build ranking for specific keywords, and secondarily as a supplementary traffic source.

We don’t intend to add more crap to the web, but our article writing is driven in large part by the primarily SEO goal, which means that the sweet spot is to spend just enough effort to achieve quality and usefulness that will pass editorial review and compel readers to click through to our clients’ websites.

In this framework, many (most?) articles are essentially fullfilling two purposes: ranking boosting and advertising. To that point, as I spot check EzineArticles articles, The articles tend to be grammatically correct and coherently structured, but thin on original ideas and weak on semantic structuring and other clues that help visually organize the article. And there’s an obvious SEO-based keyword link in the author block.

Compare to eHow, which survived and actually benefited from the Google update. I’m not sure about the content value per se, as in original ideas and writing quality, but eHow’s articles are richer and more organized visually, and have less obvious keyword-based links. They also tend to have links presented as citations, and rarely have just one leading to the author’s website.

Personally, most times I’ve clicked eHow links in Google results I’ve been disappointed, but sometimes I’ve received some kind of value from the page. That has happened less often to me with EzineArticles — although granted, this is highly subjective anecdotal evidence.

While the visual impression of EzineArticles pages isn’t something that the Google crawler interprets, a less-than-optimal visual presentation can have the consequence of higher bounce rates, which Google can measure. This may be more important than we realize.

I don’t like the idea of generating content strictly to score higher in the search engine game. But I believe that is in large part what’s going on with EzineArticles, and I submit to a lesser degree with eHow. And I suspect that this is what the Google update is attempting to sort out algorithmically.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 1:03 PM

[Reply]

Jan Chilton writes:

I agree almost totally with this. The only way I can think of to fix it is to have each article manually reviewed. Increase the word count to at least 400 words. Mandate correct spelling and grammar. Must be exclusive to the site when submitted, but can be re-blogged if the author wants to…which is to his own detriment in my view.

[Reply]

153
Emmitt Hollin writes:

I think Google has created a mess on the internet – rewarding a lot of crap and now are trying to clean up their mess. In the wake a lot of good people and sites will be hurt. Each of us can only cross our fingers as to how much it will affect us. I find this very frustrating. They set the rules and we have to play their game, for better or worse.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 2:40 PM

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154
Ken Evoy writes:

Chris, you and I go way, way back.

I’ve always known you to be one of the few “good guys” in the IM world, the guy who’ll take the road that’s 10x harder because it’s the RIGHT road, the guy who aligns the interests of Google, author and EzineArticles pointing in the same direction because WIN-WIN-WIN is the only stable business model.

So it’s staggering to see EzineArticles get hit so hard compared to lesser entities (to be gentle). Your open and honest reaction, your active conversation with your contributors, is something that Google should strive to duplicate (if it’s still OK to use that word around here ;-) ).

Instead of wondering about the depth and accuracy of an algorithm that KO’s one of the best of the bunch, you jump straight into action mode to fix whatever needs to be fixed, even though Google has given no good direction (wouldn’t that be nice!).

Well done, man! And good luck.

All the best,
Ken

P.S. Since you aren’t sulking or wondering about it, I’ll do it for you. It’s amazing how new algorithms pop out of the woodwork whenever Google’s image is threatened publicly. Later, it turn out that the definitive fix wasn’t really so. But, by that time, the PR nightmare is over.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 2:49 PM

[Reply]

Thanks Ken!

Old friend… Glad to see SiteSell is still going strong. :)

Yeah, the high road is definitely not the easy road, but we’ve never been in this for the short-quick-buck.

There isn’t a day that I don’t think about the size and scale of our responsibility to our hundreds of thousands of really amazing authors who have genuine industry/market experience to share and want to do that with short informative high-quality original articles… not to mention the million+ daily visitors we’re still grateful to serve!

We’ll be making a first round of specific strategies and changes within the hour that will impact our members. Some won’t like it but I hope the majority will know it’s our best effort to find a WIN-WIN-WIN here for Authors/Google/EzineArticles!

We’re going to find the right balance if we have to turn this business upside down and work non-stop to get it done!

[Reply]

155
Alan Bumstead writes:

Please, please, please…

Jim Saunders… for goodness sake we get it -You don’t like EzineArticles and you personally hate Chris Knight. Now please stop with the soap box.

If you hate it all so much please go write something that fulfills your own criteria of ‘Quality, unique content’ and stop banging on and on about how crap eZine Article site is. Let the sensible debate and comments continue, only without the constant bitching.

Okay I’ll put my own soap box away now :o)

Alan B.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 2:52 PM

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

Obviously, you didn’t read very well, but anyways, if I HATED anyone, I wouldn’t be trying to let people know what some of the issues were. But, you are more than welcome to your opinion, but I will address your assumption. If I HATE EzineArticles, then why would I even have articles WAITING for publishing here? Yeah, that’s right, I’m a member, trying to point out from experience and almost 20 years online why this happened. But, again, good day to you and have fun with your opinion.

[Reply]

156
Ken Evoy writes:

Thanks for the kind words, Chris. Yup, we tortoise ahead. :-)

You really do amaze me. Google’s put you between a rock and hard place, at night, without a flashlight. Instead of slumping back, you’re straight into determined action based on some very intensive thinking that caps off years of thinking about this subject.

Knowing you, you’re going to take this opportunity to polish your jewel of a business into THE quality repository of high-value-add articles across an infinite number of niches

I do hopes folks slow down and study you in the coming days. There’s much to be learned, merely watching how you conduct yourself, how you think, how you react to adversity, so that in the end, you do indeed “find the right balance” for all.

Your determination to achieve that is obvious. There’s going to be a lot of late nights and lost weekends, but you’ll emerge with something stronger and more competitive than you’ve ever had.

We’ll be suggesting SBIers to stick with EzineArticles, Chris. I doubt that there are many competitors with your mindset and determination to make it happen.

Take care,
Ken

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 3:45 PM

[Reply]

Edward Weiss writes:

Wow Ken. Your lips must be really chapped by now.

[Reply]

Janna Chan writes:

Dear Ken,

I find your comments interesting. If people at Sitesell accepted criticism 10% as graciously as Mr. Knight does, I might still be a member.

Just a thought.

Best,

Janna

[Reply]

157
ArticleRanks writes:

I really hope that the changes will benefit us all, and satisfy the “mighty” Google too. I hate seeing ezine going down. If it demands ultra-high quality content, so be it, i like writing :) We also don’t need 250 words “acai berry” articles, they can go and no one i think would cry about it. Make EzineArticles very high quality..and also let Google overthink what they did. Punishing GOOD writers in the wake of the recent change cannot be the ultimate goal either.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 4:03 PM

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158
Joe shaw writes:

Chris,

I just wanted to tell you what a great job you and the team are doing.

Don’t forget that Google changed the rules… as they do from time to time.

Your team has done a great job adapting. Thanks for your open and honest leadership through a difficult change.

Best wishes to you,
Joe

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 4:32 PM

[Reply]

159
Darby Higgs writes:

Christopher you say that you are being unfairly targeted by google because you have quality articles and a system to weed out rubbish.

I just looked at an article in may area of expertise and found this appalling example http://ezinearticles.com/?Getting-to-Know-Your-Australian-Wines&id=2039203 Did this pass your quality control. Was your human reader a native speaker of english?

Google is under immense pressure form Facebook to maintain its share of the online marketing dollar. Getting rid of rubbish in SERPs involves using AI to identify rubbish if EzineArticles continues to harbour rubbish it will find its good articles hit bybthe collarteral damage.

Google has made the use of Internet so much better in many ways. This latest cleanup will help improve The experience of webmasters and users will be much better. People who rely on the nonsense peddled under the name SEO will be the only losers.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 4:52 PM

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Darby,

Articles such as the one you provided will get more editorial focus. Our editors are already in full swing in making the necessary changes and spending more time per article review.

More changes will follow as the focus continues. We do appreciate your comments.

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Nick Kellingley writes:

Amusingly this article has gone and now leads me to this lovely piece of keyword spam…

http://ezinearticles.com/?Develop-Your-Palate-through-Wine-Tasting&id=1001397

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160
John Armstrong writes:

Duplicate Content – How’s Google’s Algorithm going to distinguish between the original article and one that was copied and spun? Some will say write quality articles and there’s nothing to worry about. That’s what I use to say until I found original articles and materials from my web site on other sites in foreign lands. Of course there is little recourse when there’s an article on a server in another country, yet I get hammered for duplicate content the new algorithm seems to love to find. To me Google has created one hell of a mess and we’re all paying for it in one way or the other.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 4:59 PM

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161

All,

The first 5 changes we’re rolling out have been announced by our Managing Editor an hour ago:
http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2011/02/quality-matters.html

Sorry, article review times may double now that our Editors are being asked to double the amount of time per article reviewed.

Watch for another round of changes on Tuesday.

Your public & private comments have been appreciated and instrumental as we navigate & improve.

For those who want to send private comments or suggestions, you can reach me here: http://askchristopherknight.com/ (Our small leadership team also reads these emails).

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 5:09 PM

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162
Scott Broadbent writes:

I have noticed a general trend on a lot of articles that quality seems to be sacrificed in a pursuit of quantity. Every article I’ve written, I’ve made an effort to write it from a personal view or perspective. I make every effort to ensure that I’m not just churning out garbage.

I certainly hope these changes do thin out some of the articles that don’t offer anything useful, so that those quality authors who do produce quality content can rise to the top.

The rise in the minimum word count will hurt. I’ve always aimed for between 3-350 words per article (and I recently did a quick average word count calculation on all my articles and I’m around 333 words per article), though there are times where I end up being too concise and effective with my wording that I hit between 250-300 words and I feel that writing more will dilute the overall value of the article.

It was a concern of mine that this rise to the minimum word count will be a hurdle for new authors to improve their ranking, as existing established authors built up quantity on a lower word count standard. It therefore requires more words per article in a niche to become a top author, but I suppose if existing articles are being re-reviewed and removed, perhaps the benefit established authors had working under the lower word count may disappear if many of their articles start to be removed.

Perhaps EzineArticles requires a user rating system similar to what Slashdot has for user comments. Comments can be rated and given tags like informative, insightful, boring, funny, etc. With a system like that in place for articles, you can give more priority to those articles that rate higher, and gives the users more ability to reward those authors who do offer quality content.

It also allows the site to have direct feedback over the quality of an author. If an author gets a string of low ratings, perhaps it’s time to review the author and be more stringent on articles submitted.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 7:17 PM

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163
Don Currie writes:

Most of your ideas make sense. One of them confuses me. One of them causes me concern.

My confusion — How does eliminating the WP Plugin improve quality?

Exclusivity is a concern. I don’t have anything new to say about this beyond what others have said.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 7:24 PM

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164
Mark Andrews writes:

While I agree that the other changes are needed, I’m not exactly sure how not allowing the use of the WordPress plugin will improve quality of articles.

The only thing I see that doing is to force those of us who submit our high quality blog articles to use cut and paste instead of the convenience of the plugin.

If all the other changes are implemented, then the quality you are attempting to acheive, it shouldn’t matter if a plugin submits them or if they are submitted through the Ezine website.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 7:30 PM

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165
Dan Elder writes:

I won’t repeat the many well-worded reasonings already posted on this blog, I’ll just share my opinion for the what-it’s-worth file.

For what it’s worth, I’m a platinum rated author, rated by Ezines. Here’s my 2 cents:
I write for Ezines for credibility and click throughs. I depend on my articles being found by the search engines and then those viewers moving on to my website. If Ezines stops being credible, then my articles will stop being (easily) found by the search engines; ergo no further reason to write for Ezines. If I don’t get click throughs to my website, no further reason to write for Ezines.

I also depend on Ezine credibility for the “link juice” boost it gives my website in the search engine rankings. If I don’t get link juice, then no further reason to write for Ezines.

Finally, the presentation of all articles on the Ezine site looks like something out of a Lillian Vernon catalog. I fully understand that you depend on Adsense link clicks for your revenue. However, the authors benefit from a professional presentation of their material and Ezine doesn’t deliver it. The ad crammed pages making the content difficult to read, the ridiculous little star that somehow signifies a platinum rate author (how is the reader supposed to know that?), and the difficult to find publishing directions buried at the bottom of the page, do not give a professional presentation of the author.

The article presentation is clearly all about Ezines and the ads, and the author is presented as second fiddle.

When you redesign your article pages, present the author as a valued resource, clearly state their status with you, and showcase each article with pride. (Note to editor: my recent article series on How to Get Great Reviews from Unhappy Customers may give you some ideas. It’s found on EzineArticles.com) :-)

Best,
Dan

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 7:51 PM

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166
Erik Heyl writes:

There are alternatives to EzineArticles as I’ve discovered. I use both, but one you may want to check out (hey, always good to have multiple places to post right?) is: http://www.articleproductions.com

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 7:59 PM

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Jim Sanders writes:

You, sir, are an example of someone self centered that should be smacked. Maybe the above poster accusing me of hate will make it down here to your post, so maybe they can see what hate really is. They’ve opened this thread for suggestions, and you want to encourage people to jump ship WITHOUT offering any suggestions? To me, that’s rude, for the record.

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Jim Sanders writes:

I’d encourage Mr Knight and the editors to SLAP this idiot for an affiliate link post to boot. They want you to pay $37.97 a month for the “privilege” to post to their article site.

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167
Kathy writes:

1) Why not add in some kind of trust metric where authors can report other others for spamming or for low quality content.

2) Adding rel=”nofollow” would be an incredibly bad idea unless you were only doing it to new authors under a probationary period or on people who have published less than 5 articles.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 8:07 PM

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KatherineJ writes:

Totally agree with this post from Kathy!

I can find rubbishy articles very quickly on EzineArticles -but what to do about it?

Probationary periods would be good, it would test new authors out.

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168
Jan Chilton writes:

Just a tip to help if you find it hard to get the 400 word count. You might try using the format that PRWeb uses for their press releases…

Do an introductory “teaser” sentence or two at the beginning, and an “in conclusion” paragraph at the end, summing up your major points….possibly using a keyword phrase or two?

Anyway, that might make up the word count, and will only help the article read better, in my opinion.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 8:36 PM

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169
Rich Martin writes:

I’ve struggled with EzineArticles in the past, and gave up submitting them. I write high quality articles on house buying and selling. I am a realtor living in a historical area of the heights, so I write on that too. I had just adding the ezine plug-in, thinking I would try again. Now, you take it back.
This reinforced my belief that your algorithms or whatever, are a total mess, and you have no idea what you are doing.
Good luck, but if you go downhill, it’s because you blew off good content in search of some magic formula…Rich Martin, Houston Heights Realtor

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 8:41 PM

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170
Wendy Owen writes:

Google is far to big – but ever wondered why? Because everyone bows and scrapes to Google, therefore the situation won’t change any time soon.

Concerning EzineArticles, one thing no-one has yet mentioned is the plethora of ghastly IM Clickbank products that tell people to “Find a highly converting niche, create a squeeze page, then write 100 articles and submit to EzineArticles”.

I’ve seen it time and time again and no, it doesn’t work!

Another thing, article spinning is ok when done with someone who has a good command of the English language, mixing article spinning and non English speaking authors is where the trouble begins.

One of my sites has been online since 2004 and the home page has been plagiarised so many times that I’ve given up re-writing it. I’ve become a bit cynical with it all after seven years online, it’s time to move on to other pursuits I think!

Cheers, Wendy

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 9:27 PM

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171
Nick Kellingley writes:

My two cents, for what it’s worth.

Love most of the changes – there is a large amount of spammy crap on e-zine the more of it that gets killed the better. I don’t care how much effort people put into these “non-information” pieces, the sooner they’re gone, the better.

It’s also depressing to see badly written articles riddled with spelling and grammatical problems – if people seriously can’t use the spell check function freely available in a million formats, then they shouldn’t be here.

I value e-zine because it’s brought me and my clients real business and real CTR. Not always as high as I’d like but definitely focused business.

I really don’t like the low quality abject crap being associated with the work I do here – which may not always be brilliant, but is always original, and is never a sales pitch.

As for the “No Follow” argument, I’m not sure this would make a massive difference to my business or my clients, I’m not playing the SEO game anyway.

One last thing; I’d fully support e-zine only using original content not published elsewhere IF you make the widgets more customisable. I already use a widget on my site, and on one of my other client’s sites but to make this practical on other client’s sites I’d need to be able to add multiple different categories to the widget, rather than the single category option of the moment.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 9:35 PM

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172
Erik Heyl writes:

Jim. I never personally attacked you and would appreciate an apology. EzineArticles is excellent, been using them for years, but they are not the only game in town. That’s all. Vary your sources. Besides, how is paying 37$/mo. a bad thing when EzineArticles wants $97 to get your articles published faster? I fail to see the problem. We’re all in this to make some cash and help people. My feeling is if you rely purely on one source, no matter AP, EzineArticles or yes even Google, then you miss out on other things.

AM all for the increased word count. HATE the ads though. They get in the way of the content.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 10:33 PM

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Scott Broadbent writes:

If you hate ads that much, look for something called Privoxy. Ever since I installed it, I’ve literally forgotten that some sites are plagued with ads.

With EzineArticles in particular, I haven’t seen a single ad. It definitely cleans up the site a lot.

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Erik Heyl writes:

I in fact do use ad block plus. But I have had clients that get quite upset when they see ads in the way of content that they pay for.

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Jim Sanders writes:

You removed the affiliate program link from your name, and want an apology? Seriously? You used the suffering of EzineArticles to profit, and you feel my words about your actions unwarranted? If you’re looking for an apology, keep looking, but don’t hold your breath. Anyone in question, feel free to scroll up the page where I initially commented on Mr. Heyl. Click the link in his name and you’ll see what I spoke of.

Now, Mr. Heyl, had you offered said information WITHOUT the self gratification link, different story. Your methods clearly show your intentions. Your methods clearly show, if you do write here, that you are part of the problem.

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Erik Heyl writes:

I did because obviously being an affiliate for something one actually believes in offends you. I see no need for name calling. As I said, AP is much more than “post this article.” If you had taken the time to read the page, you’d see that. And I honestly and truly believe that EzineArticles is NOT the only place to post articles.

I never said I hated/was hurt by/disliked them. Only pointed out an alternative. And I also see nothing wrong with making a bit of cash. I AM helping those that perhaps want an alternative. Whether thy buy from me or the main site is immaterial.

Yes there are free alternatives, again with ads. One that comes to mind is IdeaMarketers. Another one that has no ads is Self-Growth.

I guess my point is, just because something is the biggest doesn’t make it the best. It may be FOR YOUR USES, but then it may not be for someone elses. The day that there is no choice on the Internet, is a sad day indeed. As is the day that we can’t recommend something based on personal use.

I also reject the implied notion that affiliate marketing is not good. The key is I only will recommend those tools and services that I use consistently, that’s what I’ve done here.

As far as profiting from EzineArticles suffering? Really? no schadenfreude here, I assure you.

And I stand by my assertion that you do owe me an apology. Just because you disagree with my suggestions does NOT give you the right to resort to name calling. I certainly didn’t. Just because you’re behind a keyboard doesn’t automatically absolve you of the expectation of civil and courteous discourse.

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Jim Sanders writes:

Firstly, I said nothing about being an affiliate being bad or otherwise, I said nothing about promoting something you believed in either, as being bad or otherwise, maybe you need to re read what I said. It’s about your METHOD. And I assure you, I’ve more than “taken the time to read the page” as I’ve posted DIFFERENT things throughout it.

Your method was underhanded, hitting someone when they were down, period. That attests to your morale character. Again, keep waiting on that apology. I feel people like you, self centered, should be smacked. It shows allot of the problem with today’s society, people, like you, without compassion, taking advantage of ANY situation that might make you some money.

This thread opened as a means for Mr Knight and staff to obtain feedback, help with their issue. You chose to smack them in the face for that while trying to make a profit from it.

[Reply]

Erik Heyl writes:

Tell me, have you ever taken someone on the street who was asking you for money and bought them a coffee and a meal? Have you gotten someone who has just lost everything a job and taught them how to start earning income online? I have. So, my moral character is fine thanks. You don’t like what I did? Fair enough. But wishing harm just isn’t right. EzineArticles will be fine. I’ve given my feedback. In point of fact:

I also think that the guidelines need to be FAR more specific as to what is and is not allowed. Just this week I had a client wanting me to do electronic cigarettes as a series of articles. I did find some on EzineArticles from 08-09, but asked just in case as I didn’t see them listed specifically. I was told that they were not allowed, even though there were articles already published.

In short I find the editorial process inconsistent as well as what is allowed versus not allowed.

[Reply]

Jim Sanders writes:

So now, you wish to what, flip it back to me with what you did? OK. I’ll play your game. Have I bought someone a coffee or a meal when they lacked the ability to do so themselves, a complete stranger as you imply? Sure, as matter of fact I have. Have I tried to get someone their own stable work? I’ve offered my time in helping others do that, a great amount of what I write about does that, and much of that writing is FREE writing.

So, basically, what you wish me to think about you is different from your first impression, and what you just pointed out is to erase the choice you made? Or maybe you wish to mitigate damage because of what I pointed out about your choice? You did what you did, the facts stand.

Although your suggestions, about so much compassion for others, you failed SHOWING that compassion to EzineArticles with what I pointed out. At this point, feel free to continue with your excuses and abundant reasons why you are not what I suggested. You’ll get no further replies from me, nor an apology for my pointing out your actions either.

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173
Dave writes:

Remember Dmoz….

Well in a few years people are going to be saying the same thing about EzineArticles.com

I really do not understand how anyone can say the articles on here were of such a superior quality that they should have somehow escaped the wrath of Google. Better then 80% of the content on here was created to get backlinks to game the Google algorithm so do not acted shocked that they finally caught on to the scam. I am just surprised it took this long. The real truth is very few people are truly gifted writers so most of us have no right publishing articles as if we are somehow expert writers. I would bet most of you are just like me and got average grades in English. Look at it like this if a real publisher is not interested in your writing then you should just move on.

EzineArticles.com is for all intent now a dead duck just waiting to be buried.

The fat lady has sung so the party is over…

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 12:08 AM

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174
James Wehner writes:

EzineArticles is the best site out there for Authors. Being a member has made me a better author/writer and I continue to grow from the great tips they share. The Googlemites will eventually recognize this site is head over the rest of what is out there. The tough in-house decisions are made for the best interest of all of us and I welcome these changes knowing that.

Good, original, informative, relevant content will NEVER go out of style…..ever!

Loyally,

James Wehner
Expert Author

PS- 400 word….no problem! :-)

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 12:46 AM

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175
Paul Counts writes:

Thanks Chris for keeping us all informed on this. I am sure Google will figure this new algorithm out soon and reward you for the high quality and high standards you have grown your site with. I have been an avid support of your services, and know you will do what is best for your users moving forward.

It is very interesting and unfortunate how this new change has negatively impacted what you have.

I would personally love to see the Do-Follow attribute stay in effect on resource box links. Thanks for allowing us to give feedback.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 1:07 AM

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176
Paul Scott writes:

The reason I have chosen to post articles with EzineArticles is because of the potential links back and a hope the articles will be picked up by other websites. With this in mind I have always tried to produce informative unique articles and for uniqueness have never placed them on my own sites. On top of this I have seen some of the articles in my opinion rightly highly ranked on google search and bringing new visitors to my sites.
Seems a pity that google has penalised you when I am finding more and more one page keyword domain websites ranking highly in the search results even though the information they offer is very limited.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 7:32 AM

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177
Janna Chan writes:

Dear Chris:

I really hope you succeed but I’m afraid you won’t if your action plan consists of appeasing Google rather than taking this chance to evaluate your entire business model.

The poor content on EzineArticles is not a result of poor editing on your end. It reflects the fact that EzineArticles no longer offers good writers enough incentives to post here for free. That’s been true for a while but it’s really true now that you’ve been Google-slapped.

Find ways to reward good authors that are more substantive than offering them free promotional items for writing 100 articles EzineArticles then uses as Ad-Sense fodder.

Google doesn’t love you or any other stark article directory site anymore. Build a more sophisticated business model that isn’t 100% reliant on search engine traffic and incorporates things like forums, social media, etc. into a site. An EzineArticles+ site, more or less. That’s what everyone else is/has been doing for some time.

All the best – Janna

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 9:23 AM

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178
Howeler writes:

Platinum Author since 2005.

Google is a money generating machine, not a search engine; it just looks like one. Google doesn’t owe you or any website anything.

Ezine isn’t the only article submission site devalued; Articlebase, Associatedcontent, and Findarticles got hit too, just to name a few.

Simply increasing the word count and making sure the content is quality, or handing out coffee mugs, isn’t going to do much if anything at this point. (Google can’t tell what good content is from bad content, but can find and penalize duplicate content)

The algo has changed and no effort on your part will change that – nor can you truly adapt to this change because NO ONE except Google know what data points they increased or decreased.

The good news is that some sites affected by this update are in fact starting to gain traffic back today – so the dust hasn’t cleared yet. (Also as of this morning one of my articles is back in the #2 position, yet in a fairly low SERP count, and another one sitting 11th out of 3 million SERPS )

What does Google like? “Content is King” yes, but also highly important is a well structured document, I’m not talking page markup here, but a well “themed” document.

As it stands a well themed document can’t be produced in Ezine based on the site builds the end user page. Part of this is the placements of the ads. Many have commented on this.

When I view one of my articles, I disable the CSS in order to see how a Google Spider sees the document. (Do this and see for yourself)

Here’s what I see (and what a Googlebot sees)

4 ads (outbound links) at the very top before any content.

Browser Title tag displays the content’s H1 tag.

4 Internal Navigation links.

H1 tag =article title.

1 Link to my Author profile page.

Author snippet.

21 ads (outbound links) with 171 word count.

My article with 375 word count.

My Resource box with 1 outbound link to my site(s)

2 more ads (outbound links)

Suggest a topic box.

Style Citations. 3 redundant links to same article.

Recommend this Article email delivery system.

45 internal links to related articles.

16 ads (Outbound links) with approx 676 words not associated with the article.

97 links total (typical amount of links a Googlebot eats before leaving the page, approx 50)

So we have a bunch of links, a little bit of content, a whole lot more internal and external links. High ad unit to content [text] ratio. Content is diluted and not worth being in the Google index.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 10:40 AM

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Jan Chilton writes:

This is the best post I’ve seen in 2 days. You really did your homework and made it pretty plain to see the problem. Congratulations on a job well done.

[Reply]

179
Don Currie writes:

Apparently, you are done considering the limit on article size (400 word minimum). I just tried to submit an article that is 356 words and your system blocked submission.

Here is a quality dilemma. The new quality standard requires 400+ words. If I add 45 words to the article for the “sake of quality”, there will be less quality in the content by my standards.

I try to write short crisp articles that are easily digested and have 3 – 5 action steps for the reader based upon the information provided in the article. Keeping it short, seem to fit the needs of the busy people I try to serve. Making the information actionable seems to help them extract value from the article. How will more words make it more valuable?

The threshold of 400 words is arbitrary. All thresholds must be. Therefore, all thresholds break down at some point. When the breakdown occurs, there must be a way to keep something arbitrary from doing the damage it is designed to prevent.

There needs to be a compromise.

My suggestion for a compromise is the following:

Since you manually review each article let your editors decide the quality issue. If the article is complete and informative but under 400 words, they use their judgment and let it pass.

If they think, it lacks sufficient information to be valuable or feel it is in some way incomplete, they reject it but with specific, substantive comments to help the author beyond “it fails to meet the 400 word threshold.”

I am willing to trust your editors if they are willing to be specific about their decision.

The compromise is a more work on your side. It is an investment with dividends. Your authors become better in ways you value. Your willingness to help them as individuals will increase their loyalty. Exclusivity becomes less of an issue for you.

Your periodic emails provide helpful insights to the herd and we thank you for that. This compromise will polish the individual diamonds so that we each shine brighter. Everyone wins.

Don

PS — I have read some but not all of the other comments. If this is a duplication of someone else’s thoughts please forgive me.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 11:50 AM

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180
David Dingman writes:

It sounds like good news to me. Because of my knowledge and personal, real world, experiences in “going green” I was recently convinced to enter the world of article marketing. The most difficult thing for me to do is “dumb down” my articles to meet keyword density goals. Because people are looking to learn about products, services, methods, etc.,(often to make more informed purchasing decisions) their search terms sometimes result in suggested keyword targets that are nonsensical and hard to incorporate in proper writing. It can be a fun game but I have more to offer than that.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 12:46 PM

[Reply]

David,

You and countless others were sold or given bad advice by article marketing course peddlers who are misinformed.

I’m glad you recognize that you have more to offer than the nonsense the people were giving you for advice.

There isn’t a day that has gone by in the past 3+ years that we haven’t heard from a member that was sold or given really bad stinking advice about a supposed ‘best practice’ that was really rotten advice.

Focus on delivering value and in time, you’ll find traffic, credibility and your business reputation climbing. :)

[Reply]

181
Matt writes:

The length of an article, in my opinion, more often than not has an inverse relationship to its quality. The more one goes on in their writing the more novice they usually are.

The individuals that I work with for online writing and blogging tend to write 700 plus words pieces of crap before they learn to be concise in their thoughts. I consider this increased word count to be a move in the wrong direction. Authors will begin to write garbage just to meet the minimum requirement.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 12:58 PM

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182
Bob H writes:

Having “no follow” might stink for link juice but putting content on a site that is thought highly of by Google is a good thing regardless of link juice.

Like YouTube where there are no follow links on videos you post people still drive hoards of traffic to their sites if their videos are good. And lousy videos get no traffic.

I see what Google and EzineArticles is trying to accomplish: quality content on the web that will rise to the top on its own if its good enough, and the end of people trying to game the system.

I think this like all related Google slaps of old all aim to do the same thing. And each makes it tougher to put together quick sites and inbound links. Yes it will make it tougher in a way, but also force the lazy people out of the arena, which in a way actually will make the quality stuff rise easier. In theory that is…

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 2:01 PM

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183
Marte Cliff writes:

Whew! I just figured out how to unsubscribe from these comments. This fighting and name calling is just too much!

I do agree with those who have said the length of the article has nothing to do with its quality. In fact I know people who can write a thousand words without including even one useful sentence.

Conversely, I’ve seen blog posts of 2 or 3 paragraphs that gave very good information.

But guess what everyone? We don’t HAVE to be here. We can post elsewhere – even on our own websites. We don’t own this site, we don’t pay its bills, and the decisions are not ours.

Christopher only asked for comments and suggestions, not for a war!

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 3:33 PM

[Reply]

Agreed Marte.

This thread has run its course.

Apologies to all who would like to continue this debate. There will be plenty of additional threads this month to share your insights, thoughtful suggestions and we will continue to listen, learn and improve our decision-making along the way.

I’m going to close this thread so we can move on to Monday’s discussion:
http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2011/02/quality-matters.html

or today’s new follow up:
http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2011/03/a-deeper-dig-into-quality-that-heightens-3-areas-of-focus.html

The rest of this week you can expect us to share the additional steps we are taking to address these issues & more. It won’t happen overnight, but it is going to shake up everything we’ve ever done to date in the name of delivering a significantly improved end user experience.

[Reply]

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