“Is the end of SEO nigh?”
To say that the question is at the forefront of the minds of several SEO mavens would be an understatement. The ever-rising popularity of various social media channels (read Facebook and Twitter) and the resultant flurry of activities (read real-time search) happening there have, evidently, been causes for concern for many in the search business (Google included). Many of them don’t just raise the question; they are convinced that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for SEO, and that the SEO-Armageddon is upon them!
SEO Vs. SMO: What They Say?
This undeclared war between search and social media has the grapevine rife with rumors – that Facebook is all set to vanquish Google, that Twitter is already beating the search engines at their own game, and here’s the whopper, real-time search on social media has all but replaced the traditional and ‘slow’ search engines!
Since I just don’t see the SEO-beast rolling over and playing dead (Google.com is the most visited site on the web), I am not holding my breath. A bunch of over-zealous early-adopters and a few million users thundering towards the latest social media sites may cause it to break out in sweat (by their own admission, Google had been a tad complacent, and hadn’t really anticipated the developments at Facebook and Twitter) but kill it? I don’t think so.
Yes, things may look a little worrisome, the as-yet-undisclosed search aspirations of Facebook, who is practically nipping at Google’s heels in the race for web domination (Facebook clocked 2.6 billion visitors in November, falling short of Google’s traffic volume by just 35 million) and the almost unanticipated success and as-yet-untapped potential of Twitter Search (which has seen a 477.25% increase in unique visitors in the last one year, as opposed to Google’s 11.77%) appear to paint a pretty bleak SEO-picture. But, can Facebook and Twitter push the behemoth Google out of the picture? Will they prove to be the fabled Google-killers? Let’s be real people, Google’s an old hand at search, no logic suggests that these search-wannabes can do what Microsoft and Yahoo together couldn’t achieve.
Richard, a senior school math professor, is known as a modern day professor by most of his peers as he follows a more unconventional method of teaching. Instead of relying on the regular text books used by every other professor, he would use the Internet extensively to update himself and keep his students abreast about the changing phenomenons in the world of math. He was on every educational institutes’ newsfeed, apart from being amongst the first to be updated by publishers on new updates via email. But this isn’t just it, he also researches the internet on a day-to-day basis for new theories, which if he finds interesting, he has the site added to his desktop’s web browser.
Photography is also one of Richard’s interests, so when not at work he’s also reading up on the latest lens in the market, apart from different photographic techniques, participating in several activity forums, to mention a few. With the desire to share these sites with his like-minded friends in the future, he saves these bookmarks as well on his browser.
With his findings running into hundreds in a few months time, Richard is beginning to realize the need for a more efficient system as with time, it’s only becoming increasingly difficult for him to locate his bookmarks. This apart, every time he steps out of home, he doesn’t have access to his system, so just in case he’s forgotten to email the researched information to his students, sharing his findings becomes an issue.
On one such day, that he’s forgotten to email his previous evenings findings, he discusses this issue with his class. At that time, Andrew tells Professor Richard about this site called Del.icio.us, which he uses to manage his bookmarks of gaming sites. Whenever Andrew finds a great gaming website that he’d like to bookmark, he just clicks on the “Tag” button on his browser to add it to his Del.icio.us account and enters a few relevant keywords that can help him find this bookmark at a future date. Not only this, since his list is public, he also directs his friends and college mates to it, which they can then find through keywords. Del.icio.us being online, also means that Andrew’s bookmarks aren’t just restricted to a single system.
On listening to this information Professor Richard’s heaves a sigh of relief, for he knows that this is exactly what he’s been looking for. He goes back home and spends the next few weeks reorganizing his bookmarks taking them online to Del.icio.us for his respective groups.
As you have understood we are talking about Social bookmarking. To summarize, Social bookmarking can very briefly be explained as a method where users of the World Wide Web save, organize, search, manage and share bookmarks of pages on the Internet with the help of tags or in simpler terms, keywords.
There was a time when we used to bookmark our favorite sites on a small toolbar on our computers or laptops. However, as you are reading this article, the age of bookmarking sites on your PC is becoming history at a rapid pace. Ask yourself the question… “Do you still carry your PC around and plug it in to check your favorite sites wherever you go?” I don’t think so!
This new phenomenon we are talking about is called ‘Social Bookmarking’ & it has taken the web by storm.
Social bookmarking can very simply be explained as a method where Internet users store their favorite pages on these “bookmark” sites online. Users also have the option of sharing these pages with their network of friends.
In other words, you store your favorite websites or web pages as ‘bookmarks’ or ‘favorites’ on Social Bookmarking sites online instead of your desktop computers or laptops, making them accessible anywhere you go. With Social Bookmarking you can store, organize and manage your bookmarked sites for social viewing and also browse through others’ bookmarks and add them to your list of bookmarks. Not only that you can also share your bookmarks with your friends or a network of people. Gone are the days when you needed to call or email your friends to tell them about your favorite sites, we have moved to better times now!
Here is a video to show you how social bookmarking works. In this video, delicious has been used as an example of a social bookmarking site. I’m sure that all your doubts about social bookmarking will be cleared after you see this video.
Social bookmarking has given people a huge opportunity to show off & share their ‘favorites’ with the world. You don’t have to go through a long process to share it with your friends & you can access the list anytime from anywhere.
How easy would it be if all our blogs, websites, and articles were of the “celebrity status” and we could just sit back and watch the swelling traffic to them! Unfortunately as such is not the case, so we mere mortals have to do a bit of a “age old slogging” to see that swell in the traffic to our website. Now how do we go about the ‘slogging’? One of the many ways of attracting traffic is Social Bookmarking.
Before going into the other intricacies of Social Bookmarking, let me quickly take you through what Social Bookmarking is. Social bookmarking can very simply be explained as a method where Internet users store and share their favorite online pages. As a marketing tool, it’s the aspect of publicly sharing bookmarks that can generate traffic to a blog/website.
Making an article or for that matter a website or a blog popular using Social Bookmarking can be done as follows:
1. Content: Providing fresh and unique content is the most important aspect of gaining popularity in Social Bookmarking. The content has to be worth sharing, in order to get the interest of others, share your best stuff. Remember in a Social Bookmarking site “Content is King”, always.
2. Attractive Titles: The title/headline used in bookmarking your story can play a crucial role in determining the popularity of your listing. It has to immediately capture the interest of the reader. E.g., this post on Digg has got 1140 votes, the title of the article is ‘7 Completely Unrealistic Movie Plots (That Came True)’, another popular article was ‘Want to fool Apple’s App Store? Plant an Easter Egg’. These titles are interesting and will make the reader want to read the article as well. It is also recommended to use humor in your titles wherever possible.
3. Tags: Tagging your article in with the correct keywords is very important in Social Bookmarking. Tags can help categorize the web pages or articles making it easier for others to find topics of their interest easily under a relevant tag.
You come across an interesting website at home and bookmark it on your browser for future reference. However, when you get to office, you realize that you’d like to share the link with some of your colleagues. Now, only if you could remember the URL! This is just one of the many scenarios that led to the development of online bookmark sites and to the evolution of social bookmarking sites.
For all those who are addicted to the Internet & have that undying quest for information & find it difficult to manage their database, Social Bookmarking is the answer, an apt tool for storing different sources of information in one place.
The Internet has always been the playground to do great businesses. With the entry of Social Bookmarking, things have just got better. You see a diverse group of individuals coming on to the same platform to bond and share their views.
· Organizing Sites – Almost every day you come across some sites you want to bookmark for future reference. However, if you keep bookmarking all these sites, you are going to have such a large number of sites in your bookmark that you will never be able to find the right one when required. This is where social bookmarking comes in. In a social bookmarking site, you can not only bookmark different sites but you can also organize the bookmarks according to different tags, folders or categories. Whenever you need any information on a topic, you can simply open the topic folder or go to the topic category & choose from the list of bookmarks listed under it.
· Easy Accessibility – A very important advantage of using any form of social medium is accessibility. The same accessibility is Social Bookmarking’s USP also. You can access these Social Bookmarking sites from your home, office, friend’s PC or even from your phone. It has changed the way searches are made on the Internet. You no longer to go to search engines every time you need to search something. For example, John is an avid car enthusiast and Peter; a layman wants to know more about cars. Instead of searching on the net, all he needs to do is run through John’s bookmarks and he will get to know a lot about cars.
With the advent & expansion of the Internet, more & more businesses are exploring online territories. As businesses are booming online, a new trend has emerged which is giving the traditional form of marketing a tough time. The varying needs & the diverse target audience has lead to the evolution of a variety of social medias.
First, let us see what a Social Media is? A definition of this term can be defined in two ways. From a business’s point of view, “a social media is a medium through which it can make available to its target audience information about its products & services, irrespective of the geographical barrier, trying to influence him in such a way, so that he becomes a customer”.
On the other hand, for a client, a social media can have a different connotation altogether. For a buyer a social media gives him a platform to discuss the various options available in front & only after he is convinced about the reputation of the provider would the deal come through.
A social media can also be used in various other ways apart from business, as in building a social network & more. In fact as mentioned earlier, the social media can be classified into three major groups which in turn may have niche subgroups. The three major types of social media are:
Social News websites are communities, which allow its users to submit news, stories, articles, & visual media such as videos & pictures. This can be shared with the other users on the contact list or left for public viewing. Depending on the number of votes that the content gets, the online visibility of the news item, article or media increases in ranking. If your content is good, social news sites act as a catalyst & make it viral.
Social News websites generally function via “The good judgment of the masses” theory. Individuals or a group of individuals with diverse points of views are able to as a group establish the value of a content that gets “voted” by the community. The users of the website act as “freelance editors” & influence the online visibility of the content.
A few popular social news sites are: Digg, Yahoo! Buzz, reditt & more.
Now not being restricted to casual networking or the Gen Y’s pastime, social networking has grown big time & evolved into a strong marketing tool for the online business community.
Social networks are web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system. They can have other users as friends with whom they share certain common interests. It is also possible to view & share each other’s list of resources which has made it such a success.
I have recently installed the StumbleUpon toolbar on my site and trust me “I love stumbling!!!!” Jokes apart, it’s been noticed that the netizens are getting addicted to more and more social bookmarking as well as social news sites. Did I hear, “why have different names for the same thing?” Well to a large extent both social bookmarking and social news sites are similar, barring a few differences. However, before venturing onto the differences, let’s have a quick look at what these two applications are.
Social bookmarking is the process of bookmarking your favorite sites online. There are many Social Bookmarking sites that you can login to and store your bookmarks. Not only that, you can even share these bookmarks with your friends. You are given the choice to share a bookmark or keep it private. You no longer have to limit the sites that you want to bookmark, you can bookmark any number of sites that you want and organize them under different categories or tags.
Some of the Social Bookmarking sites are: Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon.com etc.
On the other hand, Social News Websites are communities, which allow its users to submit news stories, articles, and media (videos/pictures) and share them with other users or the general public. Social News websites generally function via “The good judgment of the masses” theory. If you like an article you can vote for it and the articles that gets most votes comes to the top getting maximum viewing.
A few popular social news sites are: Digg.com , Yahoo! Buzz , Reditt.com and more.
Now that we have understood what social bookmarking and social news sites are, let’s move on to the differences (as mentioned earlier, there are only a few minor differences between the two):
The “socializing quality” has been the differentiating factor that has always kept man superior to other creatures. Keeping this basic nature of man in mind, social media has evolved on a scale par excellence. Having said that, let’s see the What, How and Why of Social Media Marketing.
Social Media marketing is a form of Internet marketing seeking to popularize your brand and to reach out to a target audience (general or niche) through a social media. A social media can be of different forms such as internet forums, blogs, e-mails, social networks, social bookmarking sites, groups, weblogs, video sharing sites etc. Social Media Marketing as it’s usually known as is marketing one’s services, products or other things using this medium.
Social Media Marketing is not about creating a social profile and then forgetting about it. Rather, it is about connecting to the target audience. Once having set up a profile on a forum or blog, instead of bluntly going about promoting your services / product you need to “earn” the trust of your audience. This can be done by actively engaging in the discussions, giving suggestions and helping out people.
Contribution of quality content to blogs, forums, articles etc also wins you a fan following which in itself is a boost to your brand. As the fans spread word about you, your brand reaches many others. Empathizing and walking with the consumers in their shoes would also take you miles ahead of your competitors.
People will start trusting you if they think you have the knowledge and are genuine; they will be repelled if they sense that you are out only to market your product or service. Once you have earned sufficient trust, you can slowly talk about your product & relate it to the conversation. People will definitely notice it.
Here are some of the reasons why Social Media Marketing is becoming such a rage with site owners around the world:
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