Web 2.0’s impact on search marketing

Before we’ve even reached agreement on what Web 2.0 actually means, many are already trying to define future generations of the Web. A Google search for Web 2.0 nets 468 million results. Web 3.0 produces 211 million results. And Web 4.0 shows 154 million results. I don’t even know what Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 are. However, I know that there are aspects of Web 2.0 that impact search marketing. Among them is social.

The social component of Web 2.0 is commonly referred to as social media, social networking or user-generated content. But whatever it’s called, this social aspect has the greatest ability to influence searcher behavior and search results right now.

Social media is often user-reviewed, user-rated or user-recommended. Think of sites like MySpace, digg, del.icio.us, YouTube and just about every blog. As a marketer, the key is judging which of these social media sites will benefit your particular audience and to figure out how much effort to invest in them. Don’t invest resources to create a MySpace page if your target audience is not going to benefit from it. Whether these efforts affect search depends on the quality of the user experience. Get that right and improved search results will often follow.

Why? Simple – a good experience is going to generate inbound links, one of the most critical variables of search engine algorithms.

The next time you launch or refine a product or service, try the following. Create a video about the product or service and post it prominently on your Web site. It’s easy to assume that one of your users will ensure that the video makes its way onto YouTube. Promote the video and its location on your site with a press release.

Next, e-mail your customers and let them know where they can view it. Invite them to try the product out, and solicit feedback in an open forum – on your blog if you have one, or a third-party rating or review site. Ask them to tag the page on del.icio.us and to “digg” the page. If the video and content surrounding it on your site is found to be compelling, it will generate buzz and the links will follow.

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