A little flavour of what's in store...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Why Social Bookmarking is so important - part 2

Seo article

Why Social book marking is so important

Watch out, watch out! No there’s not a Humphrey about (a Humphrey was a red and white striped straw that used to roam in gangs looking to pinch kids milk in the popular ‘70’s milk TV adverts – gave kids nightmares for years), but rather a much larger straw intent on drinking up as much online content as it can and blowing it back at you ‘in your face’.

The ‘straw’ of course is Google.

With the not so recent acquisition of Utube and the more recent acquisition of Feedburner, there’s no doubt in my mind anymore that Google is building towards a global domination of serving information the likes of which have never been seen (if you don’t count the World Service broadcasts) only it’s not London calling. This time it’s a different tune altogether.

At present, you can perform searches on Google, Google Blog search and Google image search. There are other bits waiting in the labs you can play with but these are the main three.

With the more recent purchases, I reckon Google is hurrying along plans to present a new kind of search engine where when you type in a search query, the results presented will be a mix of listing, blog and images all rolled into one.

Personally I think this would be a mistake.

It’s OK if you’re searching for something really off-beat but for every day search’s, what it will do is mean you’ll have to use longer search queries to get to the meat of what you’re looking for. Searchers are going to have to be a lot more specific in future.

I’d prefer it if Google developed a new interface whereby a search result is broken into 3 vertical frames – general, blog and image all within the same page. From that you could then click on which ‘field’ you want to explore further but perhaps the other ‘fields’ could minimalise rather than disappear altogether.

This will have huge implications for PPC campaigns as I suspect you’ll have a choice of which ‘frame’ you want your campaign to appear in and depending on the field, I suspect you may pay a premium.

Of course the scenario I’ve painted above will have huge implications for SEO to. It’s not hard to imagine that multiple frame ideas will result in less results per page and those early page positions will be keenly contested.

Which brings me back to my original question - why social book marking is so important.

If Google does adopt a model like the one above, then a ‘web presence’ simply won’t do anymore. Webmasters and SEO’s will have to adopt social book marking techniques like Blogs and RSS feeds, building up networks of followers on the likes of Digg and Del.ici.ous to get their content syndicated as much as possible.

Because Google will roll out search results based on social recommendation and relevancy, and content alone (whilst good content will always have a place) will become less important than the number of people regarding it as important.

If you haven’t already started then now is a perfect time to start socialising.

Get a Blog, get an RSS Feed on your website and start publishing to the masses. One comment I hear and read time and again is ‘what would I write about?’ I won’t bore you with the answers here – many people, better qualified than I have already answered that one. In a nutshell, anything that you think someone out there might like to read and share with others. New products, Q & A on your particular field, the office cat even. And if you still can’t think of anything, then turn your staff loose – they’re a creative bunch – you’ll soon find you have everything from pot roast recipes to how to deal with a scraped knee at the park attracting an audience.

Google have their own Blog creator – Blogger.com. Its easy to use and moderate comments. Once you get into it, you’ll find there’s loads of help on the net for customising and adding functionality as well as making book marking easier for readers. Little things like adding a Digg this to the bottom of each post puts you one step (or should that be click) nearer to getting your content syndicated (linked to). You might want to check out this excellent ‘how to’ from a fellow blogger as well as an earlier ‘how to’ post I wrote about adding Socializer and Digg It to your Blog

I know there are other Blog building programs and sites out there – I mention Blogger because with it already being by Google, it already fits into the way they do things so would be that much easier to integrate results from etc. A bit too grassy knowl conspiracy for you? Ask Mulder and Scully. The truth is out there.

Also, try adding other blogs and feeds to your own group of interest. You’ll find that eventually, you’ll get a link back. Leave thoughtful comments on other pieces you come across and before you know it, you’ll receive a comment back.

Try to be transparent – it’s all to easy to only allow ‘good comments’, however, done right, a negative can still be turned into a positive – always try to respond to a negative comment so that other readers can see you’re sincere and not afraid to be taken to task. It will create a stronger positive reaction to your company and Google will love it because people are obviously reading your copy.

One example of this is a recent piece I discovered on a car retail dealership training website which stated customer complaints solved on the spot created more brand loyalty than a satisfied customer. Check out the full piece here: www.edt.uk.com/index.php?ref=news#customer

Finally, remember that not every piece you write has to be shoving a selling message down the reader’s throat for your product or service. I have read that SEO articles are particularly bad when it comes to attracting visitors – there’s so many of us out there you see, but I don’t declare myself a SEO expert. Rather, I’d wish to offer my take on things and offer practical advice and I won’t recommend anything I haven’t done myself.

Apart from all the rumours circulating on forums etc, one small clue as to this possible socialising outcome is a small application in Google Labs called Google Sets (http://labs.google.com/sets).

You’re invited to enter 5 keywords and then Google will go off and predict other ‘keywords’ for that set. Clicking on them then brings up a list of search results.

Perhaps in the final version, this will pick up on blog labels???? An interesting thought.

And here’s another, With Google getting even larger, how much longer can it claim its impartiality? With products like Google checkout, any other business would obviously push it’s own customers above others – that’s good financial sense and although Google wouldn’t seem to be short of a penny or two, executive toys and new acquisitions don’t come cheap.

Jonathan C Crouch

About the author – Jonathan is an I.T professional, living and working in Derby. He is also the web developer and technical ‘guru’ for Fabulous Photo Gifts – an online personalised photo gift company run by his partner Mandy Collins. His most recent project was a web design for a family whose twins were diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Check out there helpful website at www.twinswithsma.co.uk or subscribe to their new blog – http://twinswithsma.blogspot.com

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Tommy Chieng said...

Nice SEO article. =)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am always rather concerned when I read about sweeping changes and developments in search engine rankings, algorithms, weighting, etc. It just adds to the strain of trying to learn new technology and ways of getting noticed. OK if you're a young sprightly go-getter, but those of us older ones who have battled away to learn HTML and web-page building are now faced with Blog onslaught. I'm new to it and still struggling, because when blogs first started, I thought they were just a flash-in-the-pan and would never be anything other than personal diaries. Now I feel I've been pushed into it, because blogs are attracting so much traffic.
The idea that search engines might eventually rank sites on "social popularity" is not, in my extremely humble opinion, what a search engine should be for. It's bad enough now, going through Google on a simple search term and getting a load of Ebay product links come up. It should be feasible to find information easily, and also to BE found without having to have some kind of "celebrity" tag to your website. I don't see why the general populus should dictate so strongly as to what I can and cannot find via a search engine.

Fabulous Photo Gifts said...

Hi Chris D

Firstly, thank you for stopping by and posting a comment.

Secondly, I share your views. I remember when framesets were all the rage so like you (and many more) I've had to evolve my techniques to keep up.

My big worry is that people just aren't ready for typing in long search phrases. Will someone really type in 'double glazing installer, fensa approved Derby' when they normally type 'double glazing'?

Many are being 'pushed' into blogging, but I do suggest that you dictate your own time - there are no hard and fast rules about posting every day or week. Rather, as I've always said, good quality content will always attract an audience.

Of course, Blogging's just for starters. The next thing to worry about is getting it noticed on Digg and Del.icio.us etc but that's another blog entry.