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Using Social Media to Increase Traffic and Help SEO

Social Media is the use of technology to interact and communicate with other people primarily via the Internet or mobile devices. Social media includes information sharing such as blogging, podcasts and music and video sharing as well as an assortment of other capabilities that can be used to improve your web presence.

I’ve broken these Web 2.0 properties into different categories and some of the sites fall into multiple categories. In that case, I’ve included the sites in each of the categories.

Blogging

Blogging is very easy to start and usually won’t cost anything to get started unless you need to hire someone to help you get setup and teach you the basics. There are several very popular blogging websites available and each of them

Stumbleupon.com – StumbleUpon offers several tools in one including a blogging feature that allows users to post content usually in the form of short editorials or comments, photos, videos and links.

MySpace.com – While MySpace is widely used as a way to meet new people it also allows users to post comments and announcements

YouTube.com – Video blogging tool allows you to upload and share your own videos or view and share other members videos. Exceedingly popular website and huge opportunity to share your interests with others. Can also be used to host quick loading streaming videos for your website or blog without paying expensive hosting fees.

Blogger.com – A true blogging tool which allows you to add articles, photos, videos to your blog to share with others. Blogger.com websites are very popular with search engines and can be extremely valuable to your Internet marketing campaign.

WordPress – Many consider WordPress to be the King of blogging software. Enables you to add multiple pages such as about page, contact page, FAQ, Testimonials and other standard pages seen on most websites as well as offering the best features available for any blog, including built in RSS Feed. WordPress can be hosted for free on the WordPress website or installed on your own hosting account as part of your website.

Squidoo.com

Craiglist.com

Flickr.com – Share photos and post comments with other members or host photos for online use with your blog.

Search Engine Optimization

RSS Readers

Understand that many RSS subscribers typically subscribe to many RSS Feeds and it’s important to post your feed often in order to stay fresh in the minds of your subscribers. They can turn you off in the blink of an eye, and if you don’t catch their attention in the split second they look at your feed, then you may just lose them for good. Therefore understanding what RSS Subscribers are looking for will enable you to improve your own RSS Feed so that subscribers stay interested and keep coming back to your feed.

Here’s a brief overview to help you understand a little more about RSS so that you can maximize your effort when setting up your own RSS Feed.

RSS reader allows users to subscribe to feeds from their favorite news and information sources that offer RSS feeds. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and a RSS Feed is a web file that is viewable in a RSS Reader. A RSS Reader is a tool similar to an Internet browser, some are available online and some are available for use on your desktop. The RSS Reader allows you to Subscribe to any website that has a RSS Feed available and makes it possible to aggregate all or your favorite news and information feeds into one location. The quickest way to learn more about RSS Feeds and Readers is to visit one or two of the following websites. Sign up for the RSS Reader of your choice and start adding feeds to your reader. It’s reall a fun and interesting process. And while it does not really help you improve traffic or Search Engine placement, it will help you understand the power of RSS so that when you implement it as part of your Internet marketing campaign you have a complete understanding of what your visitors and readers will be looking for and getting on the receiving end.

So download a desktop reader or sign up for an online reader service and start subscribing to RSS Feeds. Here are my favorites.

Bloglines.com

Google Reader – www.google.com/reader

http://my.yahoo.com/

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking allows you to share your favorite links, news articles, web pages and online media with others. This becomes a very powerful tool when you have a network of other users in the same community who are following your list. First step is to sign up and start building your own network within each of the communities you want to be part of. Do this by subscribing to other users and spending time in that community posting comments on others posts as well as posting your own links and information. Over time your network will begin to grow. That’s when you can begin seeding your list with links to your own website. The link itself will generate traffic to your site, because everyone in your network will visit the link and hopefully link to it from their list. There is also a good chance that the link will find it’s way quickly to the top of Google because search engines love these websites and place a higher value on the information within the pages of these websites. Eventually the link will increase your websites page rank due to the value of the site the link is on.

Here are some of the most popular social bookmarking websites. I recommend signing up for at least 3 to begin, and increasing that over time. Stay active in each of these communities to increase the popularity of your list.

Stumbleupon.com – Stumbleupon is primarily a list of bookmarks of websites you’ve visited and like or dislike. With the “Required” toolbar plugin you are able to easily add new sites and review
Digg.com
Del.icio.us
Reddit.com
Technorati.com
Propellar.com
Newsvine.com

DropJack.com
Socialogs.com
IndianPad.com
Furl.com
Diigo.com
WireFan.com
Myweb2.search.yahoo.com
Bibsonomy.org
AddThis

Social Networking

Social Networking websites might seem very similar to social bookmarking websites at first, however they differ greatly when you start using them. Social Networking online is very similar to offline networking in that you are able to keep in touch with your business associates, friends and even relatives, schedule events and meetings and share knowledge and information with those in your network, as well as grow your network by inviting new members to your network or having friends recommend you to other members.

MySpace.com – Most people know about MySpace so I won’t go into a long introduction about this site. However there are several tools are helpful in your Internet marketing campaign.

Facebook.com

Orkut.com

Twitter.com – Twitter is super fun to use and very easy to sign up and start growing your network. It’s so popular that sometimes it will be unavailble due to the amount of use it gets. You can even use if from your mobile phone while you’re on the go and share thoughts and ideas with your network while you’re away from your computer.

LinkedIn.com – LinkedIn is a pure networking website. Allows you to meet other members online and grow your network, as well as introduce others and get introduced.

Plaxo.com

Xing.com

Directory Listings

There are literally thousands of directories that you can submit your site to, but keep in mind that most of them are worthless. The few I’ve listed here are recognized authority websites and will definately help you get some traffic and maybe even help your site get a little higher in the search engines.

Alexa.com
AboutUs.org
Quantcast.com
Compete.com
SiteAdvisor.com
Kudzu.com
Local.com
ZoomInfo.com
HotFrog.com

Forums and Message Boards

Joining online forums and message boards offers great opportunity to build your network and share your insights with others. Once you become an “Active” member of a forum and have built a reputation you can invite other members to join you on your other networking websites. It is bad protocal to post affiliate links on most forums without a specific reason to do so. Do not spam the forums and be particularly careful of which forums you join. Look for forums that are well moderated and have a good number of “Active” members.

Google Groups
Yahoo Groups
CrowdGather.com
Apple Usergroups – http://www.apple.com/usergroups/

You can even start your own online community but it is highly recommended that you become a member and learn the landscape before you start managing your own.

Here are some of the most popular applications for building web based communities
Vbulletin
PhpBB

Social Encyclopedias

These online encyclopedias allow users to contribute content to the increasing amount of information availble to web users. Knowledge Sharing is helpful to your website by bringing added exposure to the author provided the information being published is accurate and relevant.

Wikipedia – A vast online encyclopedia

Google Knols – Another incredible Google innovation. Similar to Wikipedia and you can even use AdSense advertising to earn a few extra bucks.