When I was in college, the metric was an idol. Students focused more on their G.P.A. and their test scores than on what they were learning. They were more focused on taking the right amounts of credits to complete their major, then on their field of study.
After college, no one asked me about my grades, and no one even asked to see my diploma; my potential employers only wanted to know what I knew and whether those skills would help their business.
Now that I’m making my living online, I’m seeing that phenomena once again, the metric is more important than the knowledge.
This is very obvious when it comes to article marketing.
The original idea is superb—sharing nuggets of your expertise to help others. As a marketing tool, it brands you as an expert. Over time, it creates an audience and a dedicated readership.
Yet article spam is threatening to kill the value of articles.
It’s possible to buy articles in bulk and put your name on it as an author. It’s also possible to trick the filters, the human reviewers and the search engine robots, by changing the headline and using a thesaurus to change the words.
The purpose behind this whole phenomena is to increase backlinks to your website, improve your search engine placement, and increase traffic coming to your website. These are the metrics.
However, just as the purpose of college is to gather knowledge, improving one’s understanding of self, world, and life, so too the purpose of articles is to disseminate knowledge.
Sticking to the purpose, the metric takes care of itself.
Yet when the metric becomes the focus, the result is an outlay of superficiality. The value of knowledge becomes diluted. When 2,000 other people are saying pretty much the same thing, there isn’t much value to the content.
Ultimately, this incorrect focus causes a series of collapses. As search engine robots become more refined and human reviewers become more wary, the articles are cast aside, rejected, and the instant expert status is quickly lost.
There is another way. Really becoming an expert, studying your interests, becoming knowledgeable about it, and passing on the information to others.
Thus, rolling out one article after another, and providing readers with thought-provoking content, you’re a purveyor of value. It’s slower, but the branding lasts, and over time, as your articles circulate, your metric improves all by itself.