How to Use Viral Networks

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As everyone knows, the amount of links you have coming into a website is enormously important. It’s one of the main reasons that businesses how want to include updated content on their sites. Aside from better ranking for keywords and providing useful content for visitors, it also improves the chance for individual pages to be linked and ranked.

But what’s the best way to market these pages out into the big, bad web? Just adding a Digg button doesn’t exactly mean that these pages will ever be Digged. So while it’s necessary to provide buttons to the viral networks, there’s no guarantee that anyone’s going to take that content viral. In fact, the chances are that this won’t happen.

What you should really think about doing is becoming a viral networker yourself. This means creating profiles at all the viral networking sites. There are a huge number to choose from and the list is growing. Here’s a list of the bigger ones.

  • Digg.com, of course
  • StumbleUpon.com
  • Mashable.com
  • Mixx.com
  • Sphinn.com
  • Reddit.com
  • Squidoo.com
  • Yedda.com

That’s just a few to get you started – all with strange names that sound like last names at Yoda’s family reunion. Here, I’ll invent another one: Florb.com. A check with GoDaddy and I see that it’s taken. Alas, what sitename isn’t.

You have to be a little bit careful with some of these viral sites. For example, a site like StumbleUpon is very sensitive to spammers. If you stumble every single article in your site’s directory, the site is probably going to get flagged. Your best bet is to stumble something unique and more viral-worthy. For example, say you run a credit card affiliate website. Stumble an article about how celebrities use credit cards – that sort of thing. Stumbling a bunch of pages of credit card deals isn’t going to win you many friends in these communities.

At the very least, setting up a user page with all of these sites will create an inbound link from a site with a decent, and growing, PR. There’s really no reason not to do this, as signing up for any of these sites is free. If you’ve got your own personal network of users, sign-ups, or even just friends, send out a Digg link and get a little help bumping up your site in the ranks.

The Importance of Blogging

Blogging is crucial to this process. As mentioned, most static pages on a website are not going to go viral. People like information that’s brand new, thinking they’re the first person to come along some vital and interesting information. Creating frequently updated content has a number of uses:

  1. Increased spidering
  2. Increased keyphrase visibility in search engines
  3. Increased chance for viral visibility
  4. Increased chance for inbound links
  5. Finally, increased PR

Here’s another way that blogging can be helpful: it adds a whole other avenue for inbound linking. Having a static website limits your options to site directories. Creating a separate page of www.yoursite.com/blog, or even a Blogspot blog which links to your main page, means that you can market your site to the growing number of high-PR blog directories. Again, they’re free so there’s no reason not to do this. However, be careful if your blog is too affiliate based – i.e. profit rather than information-based – because it’s getting harder to get these types of blogs into some blog search engines.

Don’t Do Too Much At Once

One other thing to keep in mind: you shouldn’t get too many inbound links at any one time, at least links of a certain kind. For example, spiders react negatively if your site gets a 1000 new links from directories in one week. This is why using an automated site directory submission service can sometimes be harmful. Hand-submission, no matter how tedious that may seem, is a safer bet. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t submit 100 sites in a week. Why? Because it’s more than likely that most of those places will have varying approval times – though if you’re paying for inclusion, you should pace those approvals to ten or so a week.

Viral marketing, however, does not work with the same penalty. For example, you could get 1000 Diggs for an article, and increased incoming links, and that’s not going to have a negative affect on your PR. Quite the opposite. The difference is that a Digg link is more than likely going to link to an internal page, rather than your main page (unless you market something really fantastically interesting) and that will help your ranking. Even if the viral traffic comes to your main page, this won’t matter because it’s coming from a number of different sources, rather than something as straightforward as a directory.

As they say about any investment portfolio: diversify. One of the reasons to have a blog is because it opens up so many marketing opportunities. You could even think about starting a podcast just so you can add your site to podcast directories. Creating a Youtube campaign isn’t just a good idea for views of a particular Youtube, but to create a new user page with another inbound link. An ancient scribe said, “May all your content go viral,” but in the meantime you’ve got to take the initiative and become part of the world of viral marketing yourself.

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