Book Review

Article Marketing: The Write Way to Build More Links – Karon Thackston – Book Review

Article marketing is now horribly popular, to the point that Google had updates to specially tame article directories and content farms. Of course, that happened because articles are an easy way to get links to your site, as well as get content to Adsense sites.

You have probably noticed that the average quality of those article is awful. WordTracker Masterclass: Article Marketing: The Write Way to Build More Links by Karon Thackston teaches how to write better articles, that get more results.

Chapter 1 begins by looking at your audience. Obviously, whatever is your topic different audiences will have different perspectives and interests, and the article will simply work better for them if it is tailored to them.

Chapter 2 looks at the various styles of article – such as interviews, cases studies, top N lists.  This covers a large part of the book, specially as it has a lot of articles demonstrating the style. Some are interesting and useful, and others just beg to be skipped over.

This list is useful for ideas on how to approach a topic. Some of this (and more) is covered on another of WordTracker's book, The Web Content Recipe Book.

Chapter 3 has some notes on planning content and getting topics.

Chapter 4 goes into optimizing articles for search engines. Being a WordTracker book, of course it mentions keyword research. Personally I like and recommend Market Samurai . Not that WordTracker isn't great (and it has the advantage of having its own huge database), but it is quite expensive in comparison.

Chapter 5 has useful tips on how make an article outline, as well as the right way to write your Bio/Author box.

Chapter 6 covers title and opening paragraphs. It is somewhat useful, but I have seen better copywriting suggestions in other books, such as Writing Kick-ass WebSite Sales Copy .

Chapter 7 and 8 talk about how to write articles that get reprinted and how to publish it. It list site names as well as ideas on how to select the best.

It also suggests that to get the best results, you should avoid article-blasters and getting your articles everywhere (the Pagerank you get from most sites is going to be minimal and there can be repercussions on Google's duplicate content filters) and what I felt is the best suggestion in the book – place the article on your site and wait till it is indexed before you distribute. I have no idea if this makes any real difference on Google ranking, but it does sound good.

So, is this book worth your time and money? Barely so, at the current launch price (US$29). It is acceptable, but doesn't cover a lot that is detailed in other books I mentioned throughout this review. I recommend you get one of those instead.








Book Review

Google AdWords PPC Advertising

I've just finished another of WordTracker's books – Google AdWords PPC Advertising . I got it at a US$20 discount from one of their e-mails.

I have been using PPC since before Google AdWords (Overture!), and I did read a few books along the way. So I thought I'd read this one, and if it was too weak, I'd just use their return policy and get my money back (which I actually did on another AdWords book).

I was pleasantly surprised. While the book covers all the basics to a level that I think most people starting with AdWords and PPC would find acceptable, if not comfortable, it also had many things I was not aware of:

  • bid stacks: they sugggest using the suggested bids for exact keywords only, and 75% for phrase and 25% for broad match. I have just started trying it, but seems right to me. They do have a rather involved process using a spreadsheet. I can't help but think it'd be better to just write a small program for this. I guess I'll have to see how much time it actually takes.
  • using the Search Term Report to add interesting broad matches as phrase or exact matches, and removing negative keywords.
  • many other small concepts on how to optimize your campaign
  • the differences between the AdWords Search and Content network. From various colleagues, I got the impression that the content network had lousy ROI, so I never bothered much with it. The book recommends completely separating the campaigns and using 10-15 keywords Ad Groups.

Overall, I really liked the book and already started taking small actions on my own AdWords campaigns. Recommended.