I don't need to tell you that CPA websites are becoming exceedingly difficult to market nowadays. One conventional method of promoting websites is article distribution but some accountants are exploiting this tool incorrectly, and many others are reluctant to use it at all.
I'm quite certain you've heard of "keywords" at some point. In summary, keywords are the words and phrases that we make use of in articles to tell the search engines what the theme of our page is. Keywords can be, and often are, relentlessly abused by article writers. You've seen these articles, and they may well have put you off article marketing altogether. They are so badly written it looks like the author barely speaks English. This is actually a useful strategy, but you'll get much better long term results if you respect some simple rules of "keyword etiquette".
We'll offer two short samples side by side. One will be spam, the other will be a real article meant to offer value to publishing websites. The keyword – or rather, the phrase – in this instance is "Philadelphia CPA."
A Keyword Stuffed Article
Keyword stuffing is a common spam technique and offers little or no SEO value. A spammy article will look something like this:
"If you are looking for a Philadelphia CPA, look no further than the premier Philadelphia CPA website, PhillyAccounts.com. A Philadelphia CPA is bound to find your Philadelphia CPA needs to be simple to handle. With many Philadelphia CPA offices located in Philadelphia for all your accounting needs, you don't have to look far to find a good Philadelphia CPA."
No website with a human moderator will EVER publish this article. It's spam, pure and simple. There was a time not too long ago when articles like this could fool the search engines into thinking it was relevant, but search engines are more sophisticated now and can identify this article as "spam".
What Search Engines "think:"
"This article is obviously full of keywords and trying to attract our attention, so we'll mark it down for that. The article also does not seem to be written for a reader, so that's another few points lost."
And what about actual traffic? What will a real person think if they come across this "article"?
"Uggh, I hate spammers. This is just useless. I'm outta here. This practice has no respect for me and is making my search for quality content harder. Note to self. Never do business with these guys."
A Well Written Article Containing Keywords:
"If you are a company looking for a Philadelphia CPA, it's best to be discerning and look around for the firm that'll be most likely to fit your business needs. It's not as hard as you think to find a good practice. Just follow a few basic guidelines...
* A good CPA will offer references. Look for testimonials and the like.
* An experienced CPA will generally attempt to make a good estimate of the price of a tax project up front.
* Putting off your CPA can be an expensive mistake so find someone you like. Trust your instincts. If you feel like an accountant is hiding something move on even if you don't know exactly why."
What Search Engines "think:"
"OK, the keyword density is reasonable and the text isn't full of exact matches. This looks like a real article. It looks relevant to the keywords in it. Let's give this article full credit."
More importantly, lets look at what an actual person might think if they come across this article...
"This company obviously cares enough about their customers that they're willing to provide me with decent information and a good read. I like these guys. They're real professionals who may just be worthy of my respect. Maybe I should click on their link and learn more."
Don't confuse "article marketing" with "spam". It's pretty easy to produce quality content and add value to the sites that publish them. The rule is simple. When you compose a post always write it on the premise that genuine people are going to discover it. It will bring in visitors from the traffic that sees it, please the publishers and keep them coming back for more, and help your search engine presense.