Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tips on how to quickly identify Twitter spam followers

As you keep using Twitter and have more and more tweets to be found by users, you find that you amass followers at a faster rate. If you tend to "follow back", which many people do, particularly early on, this trend increases somewhat.

Needless to say, some of these new followers are spammers. Obviously they're not that hard to identify when you look at their profiles. But as your following increases more quickly, you have less time to do this. So here are few things to keep an eye out for to speed up the process:

Firstly, they're often female, and their profiles include photos of attractive young women. They often have strange names that seem kind of exotic. Clearly this is because they've been created by some kind of name generating software.

They often have very few tweets. If you do take the time to look at them you'll see that they just describe completely unrelated stuff that comes out of nowhere. (Hard to believe that they fool people enough to get clicks on their links. Still, they must. Otherwise the spammers wouldn't be doing this.)

They also tend to follow many more people than follow them back. (This tendency is not confined to spammers, though. There are a lot of genuine users who do this, many of whom are certainly worth following.)

The main characteristic seems to be that most don't even have descriptions included in their profiles. So they stand out immediately in the list of all the others who've recently followed you. (Again, some genuine users might not include a description. But they're very rare, and would probably add one eventually anyway.)

Also, these Twitter spammers usually roam in packs. You tend to get clusters of them appearing from time to time.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

So many bad article directories out there!

Keen to submit articles to a wide variety of directories so that I have a greater range of locations for backlinks to my sites, I've been doing a lot of Googling for new ones. I've joined a few of the ones I've found and submitted some articles. But it's hard going because there are many bad article directories out there. They're duds for various reasons.

Firstly, there often seem to be software or formatting issues. You submit the article, and it doesn't go through. Or it seems to, but then you go back to your dashboard to preview and edit the article and it's not there. Or it is there but nothing comes up when you click on the relevant icon.

Then there's the problem of having signed up and logged in once, but then not being able to do so again!

The third problem is when you submit a perfectly good article but automatic notifications come up telling you that you need to break up your paragraphs more or making other suggestions that never seem to be good enough.

But by far the most common problem is that many article directories say that they will approve your article (or reject it) within a certain time period (it's often 72 hours) but it's still on pending more than a week after you submitted it! I realize that this is often the result of people being overworked but it's still annoying. It would be nice if the webmasters running these directories were a bit more honest about the time it takes to review articles.

That said, I think there are quite a few such webmasters who will never look at those new articles submitted. They've pretty much forgotten that the directory is even there and have left it as it was sometimes even years before, still calling for submissions. They just leave these directories up there because they're still making money from Adsense or whatever.

Whatever the reasons for such bad article directories, there are an awful lot of them. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing just how bad (or good) they are unless you try them out.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some article directories allowing shorter (250 word) articles

From my experience with article marketing it appears you get better results if your articles are of a reasonable length -- at least 400 words and preferably over 500. (This applies to blogging as well.) It seems that search engines generally give more weight to longer articles, since they tend to have more information in them (which makes perfect sense, of course).

it looks like this factor has become even more influential recently because Ezine Articles increased its minimum word count from 250 to 400 several months ago. Also Go Articles, another major directory, seems to have increased its word length minimum from 250 to 400 words (though I'm not totally sure on that). I also recall Articles Base having a 250 word minimum in the past. But that's now at 350.

While it isn't hard to write articles of this length, there is still a benefit to writing shorter ones. If you just want to make one or two basic points 250 words is easily enough. Also, you can write them quickly, and thereby build backlinks in less time. And if you spread these around at various directories, then that helps with SEO. (Google likes a variety of sources and locations, remember.)

With this in mind I've been looking for article directories that clearly say you can write articles of 250 words or more. (Of course many that don't stipulate minimum length probably allow such short articles anyway, but you wouldn't know for sure.)

These include Sooper Articles, Versatile Contents, Free Articles Inc, Article Snare, New Free Article, Pro Articles Daily, That's My Niche, New Articles, Yes Articles, Article Field (300 words).

Most of the above directories have low PR, ranging from 1 to 3. However Sooper articles has a PR of 5.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Uber Articles appears to have a large backlog of submissions

I posted earlier about why it's a bonus if the directory you're submitting your articles to approves them fairly quickly.

A bit more on that subject: I recently found another directory that looked pretty good. It's called Uber Articles, and it has a PR of 4.

I submitted an article there several days back, but it's still stuck on pending. I looked in the dashboard, and saw that there were literally thousands of articles marked with that status. So, if those figures are accurate it seems to have a very big backlog. I decided to give it a miss and submit that particular article somewhere else. So, I'd suggest that that's one to avoid if you value quick approval highly.