Web 2.0 for SEO
I thought I would go into more detail about this part of the strategy as some small business owners may not know what a web 2.0 is, or why it is a benefit to have them.
In this guide I’ll be explaining:
- What a Web 2.0 site is.
- Why you should use it as part of your content marketing strategy.
- How to use them correctly and how not to.
What Is Web 2.0?
Back in ye olden days…
(in Internet time this means before the year 2000)
There were websites and people could visit them, they had text on them that you could read and if the webmaster was particularly handy with the code, there may also have been some blinky animations or fancy glitter text to really spice things up.
But on the whole, sites on the web were mainly static and information flowed in just one direction. Website > Reader.
As coders and developers became more skilled, the data storage got cheaper and consumers got access to faster internet speeds, the functionality and interactivity of websites took light-leaps forward, websites could have a much more diverse usage.
MySpace was (at one time) the most popular of this next generation, enabling people to get their own page on the internet and giving them an easy way to add content to it.
Although MySpace has long been ousted by new faces it was the start of a publishing revolution online, new platforms were developed which allowed more than one page per user and people could produce much more content than before.
Blogging was born.
Blogging became possible thanks to code frameworks that took away 90% of the technical demands of publishing on the Internet. Where previously creating a nice website required expert knowledge of HTML or expensive design software now there were places that made publishing online as easy writing a word document.
Now anyone could start a free blog and not have to worry about HTML or hosting or domain names or any of that nerdy stuff.
Just sign up for a free account, write your thoughts and hit publish.
Any ‘new’ style interactive/blog/publisher type of website is now referred to by many as a web 2.0. The term also includes Social Media, Video Sharing, Social Bookmarking, Web Apps and can even be used when describing clean and shiny graphics.
Some of the web 2.0 blogging platforms that you may be familiar with include:
Why Use Web 2.0?
There are 2 main benefits to using web 2.0 sites for your content marketing strategy:
Each of the web 2.0 blog platforms has its own base of users or community – you may have heard someone say “all the kids are on Tumblr now days”, and you may remember that there was a time when almost every musician in the world had a MySpace page.
There is value in being on a web 2.0 platform from a community aspect, the kids on Tumblr browse Tumblr (there are adults there too – this is just an example) and bloggers on Typepad search out and befriend other bloggers on Typepad.
This means that by creating an account and putting up content over on these platforms where the people are, we are effectively visiting another town with our stall, getting in front of a new crowd and if they like our stuff they may buy our wares (in this case visit our website).
The other reason to start some web 2.0 sites is for the links, almost all of these sites allow you a link to your website in your profile or bio, and we can also link to our website in the content we publish over there.
But before you go rushing out to create 20 accounts to get the profile links, there is an important point to remember, profile links without any relevant content of the site are very low value. Links from a site with lots of good (on topic) content is high value.
Remember point number 1 – traffic, we want to provide good content of these web 2.0′s so that the members of those communities will want to visit us at our website.
So How Do We Use Web 2.0?
With many things on the internet there are good ways and bad ways to use the tools available, in the quest of getting better search rankings (SearchEngineOptimization) we call the good ways White Hat and the bad – Black Hat.
(This I believe is a reference to the old western movies where the good guy always wore a white cowboy hat and the villain wore a black one).
There is also Grey Hat which includes SEO tactics that sail a bit close to the wind but are not considered to be spam.
The way I recommend the use of web 2.0 sites in this content marketing strategy is considered White Hat by most.
Some may say it’s grey because we are creating links to our site rather than having links legitimately given to us, but we are creating a useful hub of information that would benefit the reader and that is what the internet is all about.
So what’s the difference between Black and White Hat in this case?
- The Black Hat method (which I really advise against!) is to set up a bunch of accounts (usually with software) post a load of garbage to the site with keywords stuffed in it (usually with software) and then get 100′s of links pointing to the profiles (yep – with software) to increase the link juice of the web 2.0 site, which then links to the main website.
- The White Hat method is to choose a few key web 2.0 platforms, create accounts by hand, post great information, provide value to the communities on these platforms and get links from relevant, high value blog posts.
Needless to say, I encourage the White Hat method. Black Hatting may work for a while but you could be exposing yourself to a search engine ranking penalty in future.
This is your business, your bread n butter we’re talking about here, so it just isn’t worth risking it in my opinion.
Creating and Curating Content for Web 2.0 Sites.
So you are probably thinking, great so I now have to create even more content, and its going to be wasted not being on my website.
It is true that you should put all of your best content first and foremost on your own website. But there are ways you can re-purpose some of those articles for your web 2.0 sites and you can also add relevant content from other websites, so that you create a hub of information and resources on your chosen topic.
As mentioned above, there is really no need to write new articles unless you want to. You can re-purpose the posts from your blog in full by copying and pasting the text.
But if you do, make sure the article is indexed on your website first. (Your website should get the credit for being the original publisher of the article).
You can check that your article is indexed on Google by entering the entire url in to Google.com search, as shown below.
If your blog post comes up as a result then it has been indexed and no matter where else that article ends up, your site should be seen as the original publisher.
I wouldn’t actually use your whole article though. A better method is to just select a few key sentences from the article and reword it a bit if necessary to create a teaser or intro to the post, then end it off with: ‘read the rest of this article here’ with a link to the original and full article on your website.
This way you are funnelling readers on that platform back to your site.
Curating content is not the same as plagiarism, or stealing. The technique here is to find relevant videos, articles and other resources and reference them in a post.
If you find a good article someone else has written on a relevant subject then you can use the teaser method from the previous section and link to the original article in the same way.
This is going to give that website owner a link to his/her content – which is good for them and you get to build out your web 2.0 as a valuable resource on the subject.
If you find a good video on YouTube, click the share button underneath the player and then click embed, if embedding is enabled then go ahead and put that video up as a web 2.0 post, this increases the video owners YouTube view count and if they have there website address watermarked on the video – some free advertising.
You may be thinking at this point that you would rather not link to or promote websites that may be your competitors, which is a valid point.
You should go for related but not competing content.
Example: A carpenter could curate content from tool manufacturers – videos about the power tools that a carpenter would use, or link to articles about sustainable forestry, wood processing or to some new non toxic staining products. It’s relevant and interesting but not from a competitor.
There you have it, this has been a guide to using web 2.0 sites for SEO, to build traffic and links to your business website – the right way.
This is the same method that I and my team use when we provide business owners premium content marketing services, so even if you can’t hire us to do the work for you, you can still use this strategy to benefit your business.
I hope you found this guide valuable, if so please take a second to share it to your network.