Why Article Directories Fail Your SEO Campaign– A Case Study

Why do SEO folks look down upon Article Directories and Search Engines think it’s almost spammy? We conducted this test so you don’t have to.

If it takes great pain to create content that works, then you had better share it on platforms that offer optimum leverage to your SEO campaign.

When you painstakingly create some valuable content, you essentially have three platforms to share it on –

  • Your Own Blog
  • Influential Blogs within Your Community
  • Article Directories

In my honest opinion, the last option is a joke. Therefore, you should consider either publishing your posts on your own blog or share them on another influential blog that is frequented by lots of likeminded folks. While the former will get drive your search rankings, the latter will get you much needed attention from folks who matter a lot.

Now, simply saying that article submission is a bad idea won’t cut it unless you have any test to back your claim.

Why Article Submissions Suck

SEO experts around the world have long written off Article Submission as an effective tool for quality link building. Rand from Moz even called it a scam of some sort.

Many SEOs would tell you that Article Submission is a surefire way to improve your backlink and traffic. However, they would never explain why and how this will happen.

It doesn’t matter if an Article Directory has a PR 8 or Domain Authority 80 when they offer you a link from a page that has neither any PR nor any considerable Domain Authority.

Heck, some Article Directories offer you links from pages that aren’t even indexed.

Any SEO worth their salt should know Google considers links only when they are indexable. Hence, if a page is not indexed, it is pointless to get links from it.

However, just because a page is indexed doesn’t mean that it’s a great source of links; there are many other signals that should be considered to evaluate the quality of a source.

How to Figure Out if an Article Directory Sucks

For research purpose, we chose the following five article directories based on their PageRank and Domain Authority.

ezinearticles.com (Domain Authority – 90)

isnare.com (Domain Authority – 68)

sooperarticles.com (Domain Authority – 60)

goarticles.com (Domain Authority – 82)

articlesbase.com (Domain Authority – 82)

To determine the quality of submissions, we judged them on the following parameters:

Whether the Source Page is Indexed

The first step to checking if an article directory is worth your consideration is see if the published articles have been indexed. For this purpose, we chose some published articles to see if they have been indexed by Google.

While Ezine Articles, Isnare and Goarticles passed the test, both Soonperarticles and Articlesbase failed miserably.

If you are not convinced, then test it for yourself to see if you find any different results.

Here is how you can find out if a page is indexed: Google site:pageURL

Whether the Backlinks are Followed

Many article directories will offer you a followed link while others will no-follow your links. It doesn’t matter if the links are generated from the article body or the author bio, they don’t carry any value as long as they no-followed.

When a link carries the No-follow tag, it doesn’t share any link juice with your page. Therefore, it doesn’t make any difference to your backlink profile. Followed links from quality sources play a significant role in improving the search rankings of your website for a given search term (keyword).

Of all five article directories we tested, only Ezine and GoArticles were found to be offering Do-follow links.

If you are using Chrome browser, install this Chrome extension tool to test the No-follow links of article directories.

Page Authority of the Article Source

Page Authority is a concept pioneered by Moz, which indicate the strength and influence of individual pages within your site. It is usually determined by the number of back links pointed to an individual page. The number of backlinks include links from both internal and external sources. Therefore, it a page has a significant amount of back links from both internal and external sources, particular from diverse root domains, its Page Authority tends be pretty high. And, this often indicates the high influence of a page.

Our test found that most of the pages where the articles are published carry only Page Authority 1. This essentially means the backlinks generated from those sources carry very little or no value at all.

Install the MozBar Extension on your Chrome browser to test the Page Authority of your link source.

No. of External Links/Ads on the Source

It’s a no brainer. If a page links to too many external sources, a link from that page will carry very little value for you. You don’t have to conduct any test to prove this – simply cast your eyes across the page and you will see a combination of Google AdSense Ads and links to other pages. It goes without saying Google doesn’t respect those pages and it’s pointless to acquire links that Google simply don’t care about.

PageRank of the Source

A webpage with any PageRank is a sign of trust by Google; hence, a link from that page will carry some weightage for your backlink profile.

Unfortunately, you can’t expect any Article Directories to offer you a link from indexed pages, let alone a page with some PageRank. As expected, none of the five article directories we tested offer you a link their any of their pages that carry Google’s Trust (read PageRank).

You can check the PageRank of any source with this Chrome Extension before prior to your link building campaign.


Although SEO experts recommend acquiring links from a variety of sources, we cannot ignore the fundamentals of SEO dynamics and build our links from sources ranging from very weak to spammy.

If you are working really hard on crafting high quality articles, don’t blow it by sacrificing them at the altar of article directories. The smart approach is to publish them on your own blog or request a more influential blog within your own community to host you as a guest blogger.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Please, feel free to share your views in the comments below or share this post with your friends and let us have their views as well.

Happy link building!

Also Read: Directory Submission Best Practices Tips for SEOs

About Susanta Sahoo

I'm the founder and content marketing head at Top League. Our team can help you build great content that helps you rank high on Google and generate high-quality leads. Get in touch with us and let's discuss your project. I'm on LinkedIn & Twitter, just so you know.