by John Eberhard

In my last article I discussed Google and how their Panda update in February 2011 supposedly discounted or even penalized the use of article directories for link building.

I have been submitting articles to article directories as a way of building high quantity links to my own and client web sites for over 6 years. So of course when news began to come out that the Panda update would be penalizing the use of article directories, I was concerned.

But I decided to let the statistics decide. As I mentioned in my last article, with link building you are trying to build up links to your web site, so that it will rank well in the search engine results for the keywords related to your business, so that you will get increased search engine traffic. The statistics I use that measure the success of link building are:

  1. The number of links to the site
  2. How high the site ranks for a group of keywords related to the business
  3. The amount of traffic coming to the site
  4. The amount of traffic coming to the site specifically from search engines

I recently wrote an article containing a case history of one of my link building clients. Here are two more:

Case History: Company A
Home Improvement Company

Jan 2011 July 2011 Jan 2012 March 2012
Links to Website 7,800 12,800 24,100 21,900
Keywords with #1 position 6 4 10 11
Top ten keywords including #1s 22 18 22 39
Top 20 keywords including #1s and top tens 34 35 36 55
Top 100 keywords including #1s and top tens and top 20 68 68 69 106
Total Web Visits 972 1,208 1,307 1,338
Web Visits from search engines 382 319 292 378

We have been engaged upon link building with Company A for over two years, submitting articles to directories, submitting press releases to online PR sites, and blogging.

Note that links to the site will fluctuate up and down over time, even with constant link building activity. Note also that keyword positions are steadily gaining, as are total web visits.

Case History: Company B
Tree Nursery

June 2011 Jan 2012 March 2012
Links to Website 5,610 27,100 12,600
Keywords with #1 position 3 4 4
Top ten keywords including #1s 15 23 29
Top 20 keywords including #1s and top tens 38 46 64
Top 100 keywords including #1s and top tens and top 20 117 103 158
Total Web Visits 2,077 3,631 5,866
Web Visits from search engines 715 1,628 3,818

We have been engaged in link building for Company B since May of last year. Note that their links hit a peak of 27,100 in January and have fallen off a bit since then, but experience tells me that continued link building will drive it back up again, as that has happened over and over with other clients.

Keyword rankings are steadily building, but the most dramatic change for Company B is a major increase in total web visits, nearly tripling from June 2011 to March 2012, from 2,077 to 5,866. And web visits from search engines have been the biggest part of that, going from 715 to 3,818.


Since they have by far the largest search engine market share, Google’s actions affect everyone doing business on the Internet, whether we like it or not. But if the Panda update supposedly was penalizing the use of article directories for link building, where does that penalty manifest itself with the two case histories above? I don’t see it.

I have seen it suggested by another author that Panda did not really penalize or discount the benefits from using article directories, but that they simply hit certain individual article directories and lowered their status. Who knows? Google plays with all its cards close to the chest.

But I think we are on fairly solid ground in judging matters with statistics, and the statistics show that this link building strategy is still working.