That well-used buzzword “Web 2.0” encompasses a number of technologies, including blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, tagging/folksonomies, podcasts, widgets, AJAX and Flash. Some of these technologies are a net positive for your search engine visibility and some are a net negative.
Blogs and RSS feeds are great for search engine optimization, for reasons I discussed in my previous articles “SEO: Blogging Your Way to the Top” and “SEO: RSS Feeds Increase Visibility.”
So are wikis, being they are text-rich, frequently updated and heavily linked internally. Furthermore, a wiki acts as “link bait,” probably because it is viewed as a more definitive, neutral and trusted source where consensus has been reached. For example, by launching my SEO Glossary as a wiki I am certain that the site has garnered more links than it would have as a traditional website.
Tagging is one of my favorite Web 2.0 technologies. Found primarily on blogs (particularly on WordPress blogs that utilize the free plugin Ultimate Tag Warrior), tagging has a lot of SEO potential if optimally employed. The power of tagging lies in the use of tag clouds and tag pages. A “tag cloud” is a navigation element made up of text links of varying font sizes to show which tags are more popular than others on your site (see example at the bottom of the paragraph, taken from our Netconcepts.com home page). Tag clouds allow you to rejig your internal hierarchical linking structure, flowing link juice more strategically throughout your site using keyword-rich text links. The links in a tag cloud lead to “tag pages.” A tag page contains a collection of the most recent items that have been tagged with the particular keyword. Tag clouds aren’t the only way to navigate to a tag page. Typically, an item’s tags will be displayed adjacent to the item, with each tag linking to its tag page. Once on a tag page, you can often find links to other tag pages through a list of “Related tags.” A tag is related if items share those tags in common.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any ecommerce platforms currently supporting tagging. Even my own company’s ecommerce platform GravityMarket doesn’t yet, despite all the other SEO goodness baked into it. It is in the product development queue, however, and I would hope that is the case for other ecommerce platforms too.
Now let’s move into some elements that aren’t typically spider-friendly. These include podcasts, AJAX and Flash.
With something as non-textual as a podcast, you might wonder how it can be made search engine friendly. Sure, the file name and anchor text of links to the podcast can provide helpful clues to the spider, but it’s really the ID3 tag that will be your workhorse here. The ID3 tag is the part of the MP3 file that holds the metadata, and this is where you would incorporate your links, show notes, and/or transcript (hint: CastingWords offers inexpensive podcast transcription). Don’t forget to optimize your presence in Apple’s iTunes podcast directory by submitting a Media RSS file with carefully chosen categories.