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Social Media Optimisation

search engine marketing trainingThe rapid rise in user generated content (UGC) triggered by the platforms like blogger and YouTube, or the social networks like MySpace or Linked-In, has started to have a real effect on how SEO works. The challenge is the exploding number of links as these new publishing formats trigger a step-change in the connectedness of pages. This is much more like the original read: write web envisaged by Tim Berners-Lee, and the democratisation of access to publishing tools means that just about anyone can now easily write their own content and produce professional web pages without knowing a thing about HTML or the technology side of content management systems.

With blogs hitting the mainstream a few years ago, the volume of links they generate has swelled to the point where these connections are materially starting to affect the search ranking and PageRank of sites. That's an opportunity for savvy search marketers, and it's given rise to a branch of SEO that optimises these new social media. Get it right, and the linkages can be solicited to boost your rankings: it's a new flavour of what bloggers have been calling 'google juice' for years.

At the core is the idea that the webpage you're trying to promote gets a piece of attractive marketable content so that other people want to link their pages to it; lots and lots of other people. This process is often called 'link baiting' and has become an acceptable SEO practice, but until the last couple of years it was really confined to just a tiny portion of super web-savvy bloggers and agencies.

Wikipedia provides a nice round-up of types of link bait.

  • LInformational Hooks - Provide information that a reader may find very useful. Some rare tips and tricks or any personal experience through which readers can benefit.
  • News Hooks - Provide fresh information and garner citations and links as the news spreads.
  • Humour Hooks - Tell a funny story or a joke. A bizarre picture of your subject or mocking cartoons can also prove to be a link bait.
  • Evil Hooks - Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger. Provide strong reasons for it.
  • Tool Hooks - Create some sort of tool that is useful enough that people link to it.

For me the strongest of these are the tools and applications because they provide functionality in a way that will add incredible value to the linking site - after all content can be more easily created than toolkits most of the time.

In our advanced Digital Training Academies we think about linkbaiting and how it can be applied. How could you use it?

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