The search marketing world continues to expand in all sorts of ways. Widgets represent one of the new exciting opportunities in SEO (define). In an SEO strategy, widgets can be extremely effective gaining exposure for the content and tools featured on a site.
Widgets are simple Web applications you can install on your Web site, or give to others to install on their Web site. Compelling widgets have the potential to go viral.
You can create a foundation for viral marketing by listing your widget on sites such as Widgetbox. Promote widgets aggressively on your site. The fun starts when other sites start installing widgets, because more people will see it there. That gives the widget the chance to spread even further.
The potential to go viral depends on the widget itself, and whether publishers and end users find it compelling. In today's column, we will present a never before published case study of a beta widget called CLIQ developed by Offermatica, Otto Digital, and StepChange.
CLIQ Widget Case Study
CLIQ is a widget designed to aid in cross-merchandising content between blogs. In simple terms, a group of blog owners can get together and agree to participate in a CLIQ. All of the blog owners then install the widgets on their blogs. For best results, participating blogs should be focused on similar topics. For example, blogs that address SEO or Web marketing topics.
CLIQ will then present the originating blog post in blogs with related posts from members participating in the CLIQ. To do so, CLIQ analyzes content in each post to match it with related, contextually-relevant blog posts.
The content author also has controls that allow them to specify what posts they want to feature, and/or posts they do not want to feature.
Driving Relevant Traffic
For the publisher, more exposure for content means more readers. Sites are selected by participants in CLIQ, a process that may improve visitor quality.
New blog posts often get the most traffic, while older posts tend to be lost to antiquity. After a month, posts on an active blog already begin moving into an archive. After six months, it becomes increasingly unlikely someone will go back that far to see what you wrote way back when.
CLIQ can be used to provide fresh exposure to relevant posts from the previous year. This keeps your full catalog of great posts open and available to others. That may bring in additional traffic to your posts.
For blog publishers, this exposes great content from other bloggers on their sites. The content is relevant, and you can think of it as a blog roll on steroids. While this may cause people to click on a link to read another article on another blog, it still adds value to the publisher.
In the modern Web environment, users will return to the sites that provide the most value. A part of that value can come from referring people to other sites that are relevant to the topic areas of interest to them.
All three blogs focus on the behavioral aspects of Internet marketing strategy. "Optimize and Prophesize," written by Otto Digital Chief Strategy Officer Jonathan Mendez; "Landing Page Optimization," Offermatica CEO Matthew Roche's blog; and the Otto Digital corporate blog, all have an interest in the success of the CLIQ widget. Mendez contributed the case study to "By The Numbers" to provide a preview of what the software can do for SEOs, publishers, and SEMs (define).
Increased Page Views, Traffic, Engagement
During the test period overall page views across the entire CLIQ were up by 14 percent. The blog gaining the least traffic gained 9 percent, and the biggest gainer got an additional 17 percent in traffic. Most importantly, all participants gained in page views.
It's also interesting to note blog visitors from CLIQ spent more than 150 percent more time on site than other visitors to the blog. As another measure of increased engagement, CLIQ-referred visitors had a 55 percent lower drop-off rate than other visitors to the blogs.
CLIQ succeeded in its goals of increasing traffic for participants by offering value to the publishers, the authors, and visitors to each of the blogs. This is the key to the success of a widget -- providing value to all participants.
Look for ways to tie the widget into the unique value of your business and/or Web site. For example, a widget that provides time of day and calendar information (there are already scads of these) will not help an auto manufacturer sell cars.
This tie-in's critical to converting a widget strategy into links and ultimately search rankings. The CLIQ widget exposes unique site content in a clear, direct manner, and put the blog content in front of new readers. Doing so effectively will lead to new blog readers and subscribers, and attract new inbound links.