Social Bookmarking and Search Engine Marketing

August 10, 2006

At the Social Search track at SES San Jose, Doug Caverly lends an eager ear to panelists discussing how community-built websites, like Wikipedia, Digg.com, and Del.icio.us, can be utilized for search engine marketing

Neil Patel, cofounder of Advantage Consulting Services began the session by illustrating how a Wikipedia articles often appear quite high in the search results.

This presents an opportunity, on relevant pages, to add and monitor content about a company or brand. It may also be a good idea to create your own page(s). Patel warns about what is common sense to those familiar with social sites: be fair; be honest; be transparent. Spammers, promoters, and cons often receive backlash.

SEOmoz.org CEO Rand Fishkin agrees that social communities can drive “massive” traffic to your website. Along with that traffic can come positive (or negative) branding associations. Fishkin pointed a spike in traffic to his site after “double-Digging and Del.icio.using.” Or even better, is what we like to call Hat Trick 2.0, which involves a link from Digg, Slashdot, and BoingBoing. If you score one of these, you’d better be prepared for server overload.

Fishkin also recommends tagging content for Technorati, posting visual content on Flickr, and submitting your website to StumbleUpon, a plug-in for Mozilla’s Firefox that retrieves websites at random according to a user’s specification of content preference.

Fishkin reiterated Patel’s admonition of not being a spammer. “Only submit content that has the ability to get popular with your audience,” said the accompanying PowerPoint slide.

Because content is harshly judged, winning abundant cheers or jeers by social audiences, Andy Hagans, a strategist for Text Link Ads, reminds the audience how difficult getting positively featured on these websites can be. So what’s the best way to get your content in front of the digerati without being lambasted for spamming?

Hagans recommends “funny lists,” encyclopedic resources, unique tools, or anything one might consider “bookmark-worthy.” This is “link bait.”

“You really want to create relationships with bloggers,” said Hagans. “Most link bait flops. That is normal. Commit to doing it regularly.”

Gada.be’s Chris Pirillo closed the session with a discussion on creating value for social bookmarkers. “All these words mean nothing unless you’re creating value,” he said. “Do something stupid – something that will call people’s attention and you’ll do well.”

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