SEM Via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging
Moderated by Chris Sherman, the Executive Editor of SearchEngineWatch.com. Full (smaller) room. Chris introduces everyone, and remarks that he is surprised by the interest shown in the social search track topics so far today. He feels that social search is one of the key area where the opportunity is the greatest. SE’s are taking a cautious approach to incorporating consumer generated content into the SERPs.
Neil Patel of Advantage Consulting Services Wikipedia and SEM. How to leverage Wikipedia results. Wikipedia is “the free encyclopedia.” They have a search function to search for articles on various topics. Can access 1.3 million articles through links, search, navigation, or categories sections. Search for term “Web 2.0” leads to a typical article page. See Wikipedia.org for more info. The neat feature is the two great options: edit this page and the history of the page and its edits The con tent is redistributable, licensed under GNU Free Document License, which allows for reprinting with proper citation/link. The history page allows for monitoring the changes to the topic.
Benefits of Wikipedia: authority links, drives traffic, great for information on current topics. Wikipedia is “more up to date” than traditional encyclopedias. Shows Wikipedia article on “Web 2.0” in #4 spot for the search at Google. He likes the traffic that it drives also. Do not: use Wikipedia for link building or to add biased information. This reduces the quality of the community. Do not SPAM! He tested the product by adding 3 links to a commercial site, and received a “Stop spamming.” Talks about “wikiality” mentioned on “the World.” The host (Stephen Colbert) suggested that people go into Wikipedia and add that “elephant population has tripled over last three months” to all elephant-related pages. Wikipedia ended up having to stop all changes from any pages about elephants in order to combat this test. Also banned “Stephen Colbert.”
Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.org Brand Building Link Acquisition & Traffic Growth Via Social Tagging. Rand defines tagging as “community generated META information.” “A digital post it note.” A descriptive single word or phrases designed to contribute more information about a specific link or resource. What can be done with tags? Get attention for your content. Social communities can drive massive amounts of traffic to a site. An example is Digg and del.icio.us mention last month and the traffic jumped to 10X, and then stayed a little higher each day after the initial post. People are saying “I like this stuff,” and have stuck around.
Social tagging influences bloggers, decision makers and journalists. There is a branding benefit and positive associations that can accompany the right content mentions. Big players in tagging: Technorati – has user created tags to categorize blogs, feeds, and posts. Recommends doing a link-check at Technorati, which is far more accurate than Google. Del.icio.us: users save bookmarks publicly with tags. Suggests that marketers tag their content at del.icio.us. Popular links get thousand of hits/day. Flickr (he quietly mentions that Flickr doesn’t use nofollow tag- laughs). Stumbleupon – “a small player that drives thousands of visitors to his site.” DIGG: a social site that relies on how many times people have voted on a story. Typically when a web site gets “dug,” the average of 500 to a thousand new links appear to the site over the next short time period (he said month, I think). Bit players that matter: redit.com, furl.com, Newsvine, Yahoo! MyWeb, Shadows, Squidoo (user created lenses- also no nofollow ;) ) and a few more…
How to tag safely and effectively: do not be a spammer. These communities are monitored by people that care deeply about the content and the relevance. If you are going to spam, make it look legitimate. He is not saying don’t spam (because we are, you know, “us”-laughs), but do it in a manner that actually benefits some people in the community. “Spam for value.” (funny - people on the panel started using the term "value spam" over the rest of the session, much to Chris P's chagrin who does not like this term). Write for your audience. When seeking viral attention, content focus is critical. Look and feel of a site will effect how many people find it compelling enough to vote for. Use appropriate relevant and universal tags in order to provide ease of discovery. Look at tag clouds at the bottom of some pages (del-icio.us for example) for ideas. Use “SEO” instead of “searchengineoptimization,” for example. Tag other people’s content. Share the love and it will come back to you.
Andy Hagans from Text Link Ads Will talk about “tagging for profit.” Not interested in the social ramifications, but how he can make money (applause). He feels that for-profit businesses have a harder challenge in getting featured in “buzz sites.” It is possible, but it takes creativity and hard work (he is not rally fond of either of those- laughs). Four points methodology. 1. create Content –content is king. Must be “bookmark-worthy.” 2. Get it in front of the right people (but don’t spam). 3. Give it a bump on del.icio.us (only once) he has found that the majority of these types of sites “sort of feed on del.icio.us. 4. Rinse and repeat. Do it again and again, and eventually your content will find links. Sometimes the content falls short, so maybe you should take a different tact. It will pay off sooner or later.
Step 3, bump on del.icio.us. Tag the link once to put I ton the radar. Do not setup multiple accounts to tag it man y times. Why del.icio.us? It’s the key tagging site. If you want to experiment with any of these tactics, makes sure it’s a “site you can burn.” Step 4. Rinse and repeat. This is much underrated. He uses Rand as an example that if you keep writing articles and putting out tools, the momentum gathers. Now if he tries to link bait, it works every time.
Q&A Speakers for this session are Todd Malicoat from stuntdubl.com and Chris Pirillo of TagJag.com. Each provides some brief comments about the value of tagging and social book marking.