From time to time, I’ll be posting about my new project, JapanSoc, so if you’re not sure what it is, please read the article JapanSoc Brings Social Bookmarking to Japan so that you understand these posts!
Over on the Daily J, Chris B posted a comment about JapanSoc’s voting system, suggesting that people could cheat it by asking their friends to vote up their submissions. I responded by explaining how social bookmarking manages itself because users can vote up what they like or “bury” what they don’t. I then went on to talk about how votes are less important than visitors:
Using JapanSoc as a bridge between Google and your blog
From a bloggers point of view, you want to get as much traffic as possible. The best way to get traffic is through search engines, but it’s very difficult to get your own blog ranking high in Google’s search results because you’re competing with other, bigger sites for the same keywords.
The advantage of a site like JapanSoc is that as it grows and gets more users and incoming links, it will become one of those “big” sites, and rank higher for YOUR keywords than your own site. Hence it becomes a “bridge” between Google and your blog.
One important concept to remember is that when you submit one of your own posts, you should use a different title to the original, and give it a quality write-up, using keywords you want Google to find. If you just cut and paste the opening paragraph and use the same title as you did in the original post, it will be judged by Google as duplicate content and not rank so high, if at all.
Anyway, I hope you can see that it’s not about getting votes, it’s about getting visitors.
Competing with yourself is a waste of potential traffic
With the above in mind, I did some searching on Google to see if I could find any real examples of how JapanSoc can be used to get traffic from the search engine giant. First, here’s an example of why you shouldn’t use the same titles:
You can see that for the search term “Hinoki Ramen Shinjuku”, the third result is the JapanSoc submission, which comes behind Neil’s original article. Ideally Neil should have used a different title with different keywords to avoid competition between his original article and the JapanSoc submission. Incidentally, notice how the JapanSoc link ranks above otaku.fm, Danny Choo‘s aggregated feed network. Sorry, Danny!
Titles matter to Google
This next example is a little more interesting, but shows the same problem:
The above screenshot shows the results for “yutampo japan”. Thomas wrote about the Japanese hot water bottle on his blog, but his original post doesn’t show up in these results at all.
However, you can see Japanalyst (an rss feed aggregator) at number one, and it shows the same title for JapanSoc, BloggingZoom, and even the original article – talk about competing with yourself! Blogging Zoom have made things hard for themselves by attaching “BloggingZoom” to the front of the title instead of the end. All these things matter to Google.
Example using different titles
This last example shows how it should be done. The original article was titled “Slipper Ping Pong Official Racket” and as you can see below, it comes up first for the search term “slipper ping pong”.
The JapanSoc link is nowhere to be found in those results because when I submitted the article to JapanSoc, I gave it the title, “Play table tennis with your slippers”, which as you can see below, ranks third for the search term “table tennis slippers”. Now that article can get traffic from both search terms!
Help yourself and others by using different titles
If you use a social bookmarking site, whether it be JapanSoc or otherwise, think about changing the article’s title and summary when you make a submission. Of course, if you’re not a blogger yourself or you like submitting other people’s work (as I do), you can send them a little more traffic from the search engines by taking a few extra moments to personalize each submission. Happy JapanSocking!