Article marketing has been around since the beginning of the Internet, seemingly. It is practically free (if you write the articles yourself); it builds trust; and it attracts customers and influences people while they are in the process of making a buying decision.
The Proof is in the Numbers
According to Adfusion in a March 2009 report, “67% of people between the ages of 18 and 24, and 56% of those making at least $75,000 per year, say they are ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to read and act upon article-based advertising.”
So, why don’t more ecommerce storeowners use articles to promote the marketplace and influence buyers? I am not sure, but I suspect that many folks believe that it doesn’t really fit their business model. If you sell something concrete like motorcycle accessories, it might not occur to you how to use articles to increase online store sales. But, here is a method I have used successfully and it is fairly straightforward.
Step 1: Choose Your Keyword Phrases
Start with keyword research. Then write the articles and post on your website and submit to article directories, blogs and social media outlets. I will use “motorcycle accessories” as an example. Here are the results of a quick Google keyword tool search, noting the phrase and the number of times it was searched per month:
leather motorcycle bags 3,600
leather motorcycle gear 1,900
motorcycle rain gear 8,100
motorcycle tank bags 2,400
motorcycle saddle bags 9,900
women’s motorcycle gear 1,000
motorcycle windshield bags 720
motorcycle camping gear 1,300
motorcycle saddle bag 4,400
I start with keyword research and identify trends that indicate a desire or need for more information. Don’t go for generic, highly-competitive terms; identify the type of specific information people look for when they are researching a purchase. Start with five phrases. As an example, the following five phrases received over 9,000 combined searches, according to Google’s keyword tool search.
women’s motorcycle gear
motorcycle windshield bags
motorcycle camping gear
motorcycle tank bags
motorcycle saddle bag
After researching keywords, create a keyword list for each article. These are keywords that need to be included in the article and in the meta data for the web page. Choose no more than three keywords and try to use plurals and similar terms as it makes it much easier to add them to the content naturally. Using the list of five phrases, above, here is an example of my keyword list to include in my articles:
women’s motorcycle gear, woman motorcycle clothing, women’s motorcycle apparel, motorcycle saddle bag, motorcycle saddle bags, motorcycle gear bags
Step 2: Create the Title and the Outline
After identifying the keywords to included in my articles, I craft article titles, creating two or three titles per keyword phrase. Make sure you use the exact phrase in order. Here are examples of three headlines for two separate keyword phrases:
Three Keyword Headlines, Example One
- Women’s motorcycle gear gets a new look and more safety.
- Preview new fashions in women’s motorcycle gear.
- Motorcycle gear adds safety to fashion with new designs.
Three Keyword Headlines, Example Two
- How to choose the best motorcycle saddle bag for long distance road trips.
- Leather or plastic? Which motorcycle saddle bag is the best for road trips?
- The right motorcycle saddle bag makes long road trips a breeze.
After crafting the article titles, I create three points I want to cover for each title, as follows.
Title: Women’s motorcycle gear gets a new look and more safety
- New trends in women’s motorcycle apparel;
- New materials mean more women’s motorcycle clothing is safer for riders;
- Women riders demand motorcycle clothing that is both safe and stylish.
Make sure your exact keyword phrase is in the title, first paragraph and closing paragraph. This helps optimize the article and provides continuity. Remember that someone will be finding this article because they search for this specific phrase, so make it relevant and informational.
Step 3: Create Multiple Versions for Each Article
I repeat the step above for each title, using the same keyword list for each new article. This is because I want at least two versions of each article using a specific keyword phrase (three versions are even better).
At this point you can either write each article yourself or hire someone to write it for you. I have also written the first myself and then had the second two rewritten by someone else. However you do it, you will now have three versions of an article optimized for a specific keyword phrase.
Choose the best article and post it to your website. Link relevant product pages to it and add to your article directory of you have one. Optimize the page for your three keyword phrases including the main one in the title tag, description tag and meta tags.
Submit your articles to directories, such as Ezinearticles.com, Goarticles.com, Ideamarketers.com, and Amazines.com. Use the keywords in the tag or keywords area. Link back to your website in the author’s box. Normally you can use two links back to your website in this area. Make sure one of the text links is the original keyword phrase and have it point back to a relevant internal web page.
The third article can be used on your blog, social media sites or given to a joint venture partner for use on their website or newsletter, for example. It might sound like a lot of extra work to write three articles instead of one, but in reality, it makes it much easier. This way you have one article pulling traffic to your website, one giving you quality links back to an internal page and another to use socially, where it’s better to give than receive.