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Citizen Media: The Future Of Internet Marketing

Apr 12, 2008
Social bookmarking and tagging are relatively new online marketing techniques, but they're quickly gaining ground. User-generated content sites, like Digg and http://del.icio.us, are exploding all over the Internet. Explains Greg Hall, CMO of http://TheMarketersMind.com, "They're simple concepts, but they're incredibly effective." But many eBiz owners are missing out on these powerful traffic-generating tools simply because they don't understand what they are or how they work.

What is Bookmarking?

Social bookmarking sites enable you to save your bookmarks online, rather than on your browser, and share them with other users interested in similar subjects. Besides viewing the content you post, other users can repost it on their own sites, with a link leading back to your site. This independent, user-generated content has become known on the 'Net as "citizen-" or "participatory-media".

You can post original articles, blogs, music, product reviews, recipes, photos, podcasts, videos, and more. Setting up accounts with any bookmarking site is free, although certain sites work best for circulating certain content mediums:

* Technorati, Digg, IceRocket -- general bookmarking
* GoogleVideo, YouTube -- video submission
* Flickr, Buzznet -- photo submission

What are Tags?

Tags are essentially keywords that let you organize your posts. Similar to optimizing your web pages around specific keywords, you're tagging your posts to make them easy for users to find. Under a given tag, the most recent posts get top positioning, so staying ahead requires regular posting.

As with SEO, you're not looking for high-traffic keywords that you can't consistently rank well for. You want words further down the proverbial market tail, with steady, moderate traffic. If you can dominate numerous 'long-tail' words, all that traffic will really add up. And narrower keywords tend to produce more targeted, higher-quality traffic.

Using multiple tags is typically to your advantage -- but don't overdo it, or your posts will be counted as spam. Although Technorati has a limit of twenty tags per post, it's best to hold yourself to ten unless your contribution is at least several hundred words long. It's also important that all your tags are relevant to your post -- using popular, but unrelated words will get you banned from any bookmarking directory.

Why Do I Need This?

Bookmarking is beginning to achieve widespread acceptance, and its potential to direct online traffic will only increase. A few of the benefits include:

* Gaining back links. Every post you make includes a back link to your site from the bookmarking site itself, as well as from any other sites that repost your content. Bookmarking sites let you set up multiple accounts, so if you have several eCommerce stores that appeal to different target audiences, your back links won't cross over and end up hurting you.

* Increasing your traffic. These directories all have millions and millions of visitors; so if you can dominate your tags, you can gain an enormous amount of exposure to very relevant, focused traffic.

* Improving your search engine positioning. Search engines, particularly Google, love incoming back links. And due to the enormous amount of traffic bookmarking sites see, the search engines assign even more importance to back links that come from them.

Almost any website can integrate this new form of Internet marketing, and the advantages of doing so are tremendous. Says Hall, "Social bookmarking is definitely an important part of promoting your business -- it lets you get indexed quickly, boost your rankings, and get back links to your site. It takes time, but if you keep at it, it will produce really solid results."
About the Author
Product Sourcing Radio is Created and Hosted by Chris Malta and Robin Cowie of WorldwideBrands.com, Home of OneSource: The Internet's Largest Source of Genuine, Factory-Direct Wholesalers for online sellers. Click Here for more FREE E-Biz & Product Sourcing info!
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