Are links from article directories with relevant content OK?

Not that long ago – the main way to get more traffic to your website was using links…they were (and still are) the commodity of the web.  Now there are questions if you can still get/use without penalty links from relevant content in article directories and if that is seen as good or bad in Google’s eyes.

Matt Cutts talking about links from article directories:

Matt basically says the quality of the link directories has been on the decline.  I think Google’s ability to detect has just gotten better – many of these have been garbage for a long time.

“An article directory is basically where you write several hundred words of content and then you include a little bio or some information about you at bottom of the article, and you might have, say, three links with keyword rich anchor text at the bottom of that article. Then, you submit that to a bunch of what is know as ‘Article Directories’ which then anybody can download or pay to download them and they use them on their own website.”
Matt Cutts

These were a precursor to guest blogging, and people would search for keyworded content and if they found it – many use it or link to it on their site.  With all good things – it started out with good intentions and was essentially spammed away.

Google's Server Error page
Google’s Server Error page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of the time – article directories are just poor man’s PR tools – where same amounts of copy and content are spread wildly over the internet.  Sometimes this was multiplied by auto-posting-bots which could literally post the article to thousands of blogs all over the world.

It appears Google has become wise to the auto-posters and it will be almost impossible to get SEO traction with ideas like these.  So – in conclusion, from a white hat perspective…probably a bad idea.