You've seen them. You can see them on this site, those odd little
widget-icons that grace the footers and headers of blog articles. These aren't graphical garnishes, but yet another avenue to get your content out of your own little blogosphere and into the social media networks. What do they do? In a nutshell, they create the potential for major traffic
It's not rocket science. In case you haven't noticed, the web has been evolving lately. It is no longer just a one-way information channel. Social interaction, i.e., social networks on the internet have exploded in popularity in just the last few years. So, if you haven't already, it's really worthwhile to spend some time on some of the big players, especially in the social bookmarking arena: Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Stumbleupon, and others. This is where stories are submitted and ranked by the crowd. Get familiar with them and even participate. You'll notice that there is a real buzz, especially in the comments sections. Okay, so what do the icons have to do with the sites? Simple: the icons simply provide your visitor with a quick and easy way, a shortcut to submit your specific content to the crowd, so the potential is indeed huge. Likewise, Facebook users and Twitter users who are already logged into their accounts will post or Tweet your article out there.
As mentioned previously, inbound links are one of the most effective ways of improving your Google rankings. This is the good SEO stuff you really want! For example, if thousands are clicking links on Twitter or Digg about YOUR "5 Ways to Improve Window Cleaning Widgets" article and linking to YOUR blog, guess who benefits on Google when someone searches for "Improve Window Cleaning?"
Content is Still King, But..
Substance matters, it's true and unavoidable. Providing worthwhile, unique information that is interesting and relevant to your readers is probably the most important reason why someone would use those social icons. However, if you spend some time on bookmarking sites you will notice some elements that are common to many of the "most Dugg" stories.
Image courtesy of KnowTheBook