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Five Mandatory Questions You Need To Ask Before Submitting Your articles To An Article Directory

My staff keep reminding me that I am one of the most prolific writers they have ever seen. I have a tendency to write 10 to 15 articles a day and a 300 page training manual in just 2 weeks fully edited ready for publishing which is a little freakish but I enjoy writing and I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people. One of the top ways of doing that on the Internet is to write your articles and submit them to an Article Directory but I have recently seen some very dark issues creeping in with articles submitted to some of the article directories.

This has really happened to me…

As a technology geek and yes I will call myself a geek cause that is what I am, I often write articles on technology subjects like how to use excel, how to build webpages, etc. However, when I submitted my articles to five article directories recently I found some really disturbing aspects to the way they do business and present my articles. One of the most disturbing issues was that if you had any domain names or links in either your webpage or in your Author Bio they stripped them out. If you had used keywords in your Hypertext, they removed your links and substituted their own to your competitions website. See, it seems some article directories are now using your work to advertise other people services within your articles.

When I saw this for the first time, I was flabbergasted. Not just because somebody else was using my work and saying that it was their, but more so, they were using my keywords to hijack my back links back to my website to my competitors. I had also found from these five article directories that they had licensed my work to others, so that they could put their names on my articles.

This one issue alone opens up a plethora of issues with Google, MSN, AOL and Yahoo?

The entire search engines above frown on duplicate material on websites and by somebody using your material without permission you could find that anyone of these Search Engines could ban your site. The really scary aspect to this is that you are not responsible for this and it really is a form of identity theft and more copyright infringement.

For all except one of the directories, I was able to overcome this problem by simply going in and deleting the articles to reclaim my work and stop my competitors from stealing my work but one of the directories did not have the capabilities to do this.

So from my experience I have written five mandatory questions you should be asking your directories so that this does not happen to you!

Q1. Do I Own The Rights To My Articles?

This seems pretty straight forward but I have found in the fine print of some article directory sites, it will say that by submitting your article to this directory that you agree that the directory now owns the intellectual property of this article. If you find that, then my recommendation is to run. Most quality directories do require you to give them a non-exclusive license to reprint or reuse or redistribute your article and this is quite acceptable as this is what you want, but you do not at any stage want to lose your rights to your articles, especially if you are not getting paid for it.

Q2. Can I Pre-format My Article with HTML

Some directory articles have rules that prevent you from including HTML in your article. What this means in many cases is that you cannot format the article the way you want. This can be a major problem for you if you have bulleted lists or numbered lists as you can sometimes find these lists are all on one line or not properly formatted.

I have even seen situations where, I have submitted articles to this type of article directory only to find that all my paragraphs are lumped together and the articles look terrible. The bottom line is this, select your article submission directories carefully and make sure you can pre-format the article in HTML. I should note that there are now many Article Submission directories that allow you to enter articles with full html including pictures.

Q3. Are You Going To Sell or Provide My Email Address To A Third Party?

Everyone that I know hates spam. Me in particular, especially since I get around 1,000 spam emails everyday! Be very careful though, some article directories have written into their operating agreements that they can pass your email address onto third-parties. This means, they could sell or supply your email address to anyone. Most article directories that I deal with, have very strict policies on protecting your privacy and your emails but some article directories automatically put your email address up on the article with your name.

This is as big a problem as someone actually selling your email address, as some spammers use tools called mail bots or email bots that look for the html tag mailto and then pickup the email address after that html tag. This is a big problem for all of us, as this means the spammers know they have a valid email address, so ensure when you are choosing an article directory that they do not sell or provide your email address to any third party plus that they do not put your email address on the page your article is on.

If you are not sure, have a look at some of the articles in the article directory as that will give you a pretty good indication as to the way the articles and email addresses will be handled.

Q4. Do You Allow Hyperlinks or Domain Names in your Article Or Author/Bio Line?

The whole reason for you or I writing articles is so that we can get our work published onto the internet and promote our business whether it be through back links or from people reading your article and then deciding to visit your website. If you are not writing articles for this reason, then I hope you are getting paid a lot of money cause if you are not getting links back to your website, then you will not get any traffic.

There are some article directories that do not allow hyperlinks in the main body of the webpage, where as others do allow it on special occasions. Some article directories do not even allow hyperlinks in the Author/Bio Line which as far as I am concerned means you may as well go elsewhere because if you are not getting at least a domain name shown in the Author/Bio Line then how are people going to know where your site is. If you are selecting an Article directory, make sure in their writing rules area that it specifies that even if you can have an active domain link, that you can at least have an inactive domain link or web address link.

A sample of an inactive domain link is shown to the right - http://www.1-on-1.biz

What this means is that the reader of your article at the very least can see your domain and can copy and paste your domain into the address section of the browser. You certainly will not get as many people visiting your website if you are using inactive domain links in the Author Bio area but at least if people really want to see what you have to offer they can get there relatively easily.

Remember one thing, the human race inherently lazy so if you do not make things as easy as possible your sales will never soar.

Q5. Do You Allow Hypertext Links in your Author/Bio Line?

A Hypertext link is one of the most important links on an article page. Essentially what this type of link is, is where a person will see normal text but when they click on the text it will take them to a particular webpage. For example I have included a Hypertext Link below -

How to Profit from a Direct Sales Website

I have written the code for the link below. Note that I have substituted the < > for [ ] brackets simply for this article.

[a href="http://www.1-on-1.biz/dms.asp"] How to Profit from a Direct Sales Website[/a]

The link is shown in the a href section and the text "How To Profit from a Direct Sales Website" is the Hypertext. The reason it is important for us to structure our links in this way as it tells the search engines that that page is related to those keywords. The more times a search engine finds those keywords and links on different websites, the more points you will accumulate for that page, and the higher the likelihood that search engine will rank you high when people use those key terms. I will say though, that SEO technology is more involved than just that one issue, but it is certainly an important issue that can make the difference to your webpage being at the top of the search engine results or at the bottom.

What I mentioned at the start of the article was that 5 article directories I was submitting articles to were keyword hijacking my articles. Essentially when they were presenting my articles in the directory, all my links in the author bio line that contain the "a href" section were dropped and changed to my competitors simply because my competitors had paid for that service. Ultimately, when a user was to click on my keywords and my Author BIO line they were going to my competitors which I consider a dirty tactic. Keyword hijacking degrades an article directory because eventually the article writers wake up to this issue and simply cease putting articles into the directory and the quality of the directory will die off so all I can say to those article directories that are doing this, I hope that you are making lots of money, because this technique is not going to last.

The bottom line is this, if you are trying to build your sites traffic, then you are better off spending your time submitting articles to those article directories that allow you to use HYPERTEXT in the Author Bio lines. Very few that I know will let your get away with that in the main article and to be honest, it can actually get you banned from the article directory.

To finish off …

Let us be frank here, it takes a lot of work to build successful websites and it takes even a lot more to write high quality articles, so why would you want to short change yourself by submitting your articles to article directories that do not want to work as equal partners, because remember that whilst you are writing quality articles for the article directories, you are helping them build traffic to their website and build their PR ranking with Google. Both you and the article directory are in fact benefiting from your work.

Look the bottom line is this … make sure you check out and tick off each of these questions -

Q1. Do I Own The Rights To My Articles?
Q2. Can I Pre-format My Article with HTML
Q3. Are You Going To Sell or Provide My Email Address To A Third Party?
Q4. Do You Allow Hyperlinks or Domain Names in your Article Or Author/Bio Line?
Q5. Do You Allow Hypertext Links in your Author/Bio Line?


About the Author: © Chris Le Roy. I have put together an Ezine Writers Article Directory Cheat Sheet -Digital Content Publicity with 69 Article Directories that I personally submit to and use. The cheat sheet is in PDF Format with activated hyperlinks to each of the article directories. I also have available a HTML Cheat Sheet that outlines the HTML Tags an Ezine Article Writer should be familiar with.




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