Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Web 2.0 Social Tagging Sites, Part 4: B2B Traffic Building

Does Web 2.0 social tagging help drive B2B web traffic? There is a general sense that the answer is "yes" due to both direct referral and its impact on SEO, according to sources such as Profitimo, Anything Goes Marketing, WebProNews, Digital Telepathy and others (even Larry Chase recommended social tagging to improve SEO in a recent newsletter). However, there's been a shortage of quantifiable data. Blogger extraordinaire Paul Dunay is working on a survey of Web 2.0 lead generation tools, but the results haven't been released yet. So, I started an experiment last month to provide some metrics.

First, anecdotal evidence from two clients. Client #1 created a glossary of terms specific to its industry niche. The day the glossary web page was launched, I tagged it on 40 social bookmarking sites. There was no other promotion or announcement, and we all know that search engines don't pick up new pages immediately. The result? By the end of the first week, the glossary was the fourth-most-visited page on their site.

Client #2 was struggling to get top search engine rank in a crowded field (network monitoring). Three weeks after tagging a thought-leadership piece from the site on 40+ Web 2.0 sites, the company achieved first-page position on Google for a dozen key search terms (in the top three spots for half of those terms).

For the WebMarketCentral web marketing site, and this blog, SEO improvement was modest: little impact on Yahoo or MSN, and an average of an 11-spot improvement on Google. Why? It depends on the number of existing relevant external links to a site; the fewer the number of pre-existing external links, the greater the impact social tagging will have.

Still, the Web 2.0 social tagging experiment did show measurable, positive results on both blog and site traffic. As this chart shows, five-month trendline growth for WebMarketCentral.com was 19%; in the 30 days following social tagging, traffic increased by 33%. Search traffic was at the level expected, but direct links from Web 2.0 social tagging sites accounted for 40% of the greater-than-anticipated growth.

Blog traffic showed a similar increase, from an expected trendline increase of 8% to an actual increase of 21%. Additional search traffic accounted for 6% of unexpected growth, while direct links from social networking sites accounted for the entire remaining 94%.

Conclusion: Web 2.0 social tagging drives significant, quantifiable increases in B2B website and blog traffic through both direct links and improved search engine rank.

Previous articles in this series:
Web 2.0 Social Tagging Sites, Part 1: Alexa Rankings
Web 2.0 Social Tagging Sites, Part 2: The Worst
Web 2.0 Social Tagging Sites, Part 3: Special-Purpose Sites

*****

Terms: Web 2.0 tools, social bookmarking, B2B, SEO, Profitimo, Anything Goes Marketing, Larry Chase, WebProNews, Digital Telepathy, Paul Dunay

The site for website marketing strategy resources: WebMarketCentral.com

The only Minnesota-based marketing agency focused exclusively on B2B IT marketing and PR: KC Associates

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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