When you work with Digg, reddit, and the like, you want to get the POP: getting your content to a coveted spot on the homepage. Getting the pop can be difficult— social news users are wary of ulterior motives and will sometimes bury your wonderful content before it can see the light of day. So, we do lots of things to make our sites look less commercial (such as removing ads, calls to action, and other overt “selling” signs).
If you get past those barriers and your content has made the homepage of Digg or Reddit and is attracting links like crazy, your page now has juice and will get latent traffic from blogs, forums, other social networks, and the search engines. But if you are anything like our clients, you want to know, “What next?” Here are some options for gaining additional leverage with your newly powerful pages.
Re-optimize the page. Many times when creating your viral piece you don’t take SEO into account (on purpose) and have a nice, friendly page title such as “101 Best Things Ever.” After your page has done well on Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc., go back in and do some SEO work on that page. Optimize it for some terms that are close to the original subject matter and that will get you business. Why? Consider it akin to backing into SEO. You can’t go ahead and title your compelling viral piece “101 Best Things Ever Especially My Green Widget on Sale for $49.99″ when you are just getting started with a promotion. After the piece has done its job and you’ve got your links, take advantage of the link juice the page has attracted and add some terms in that are actually going to bring you buyers from search engines.
Add calls to action. Perhaps you already added some subtle calls to action before you submitted a story, such as “Subscribe to my RSS feed” or “Bookmark it on del.ico.us,” but now it’s time to really sell your stuff. You can go back in and add links to your products or services and lead your visitors to where you want them to go. Why? Now that you’ve made it to the top of the social networks, you no longer have to fear the “bury.” Don’t be shy about pointing people that are on your site to places where they can get more of your great content, schedule an appointment with you regarding your services, or buy your product (which hopefully still has something at least loosely to do with your viral piece—but that’s another column in and of itself).
Advertise. Don’t want to change anything? That’s fine. Simply use this page as new real estate to advertise your services on. One of the quickest ways to take advantage of this is to put up one of your banners redirecting people to a different page on your site. Don’t add any ad tracking and that will help to circumvent any ad blocking software that social media users might be using. Why? It’s the equivalent of getting people into your store for a special sale. Show them what else you have that they might be interested in.
Redirect the page. A more drastic measure is to do a permanent redirect of the popular page to somewhere else on your site or another site. By doing this, all of the visitors who come to the old page will now be redirected to the new page. A permanent redirect will also help to transfer the link equity the popular page has built to the new page. Why? Maybe your viral piece was more timely and is no longer relevant. You’ve got people out there who have bookmarked your content and are linking to it. Don’t waste that traffic. Bring the users somewhere into your site that promotes what you are about right now.
I never recommend being too hasty with making changes. Track where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing. Get an understanding of what’s working and be sure you are well informed about potential benefits and consequences before implementing anything new.
Chris Winfield is the President and Co-Founder of 10e20, an Internet marketing company that specializes in social media & search marketing services and is based in New York & Florida. The Let’s Get Social column appears Tuesdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.