If you’re not using discovery sites to help your web design client’s SEO, then this is the post for you.
Hold on there a minute, what are discovery sites?
Ok, so they get discovered, how does this help them with SEO though?
- Content curators who are looking for relevant content to post to social look to discovery sites
- Writers look to discovery site for inspiration and discussion topics
- Regular visitors of discovery sites will share their best discoveries with their friends and family on social networks
Any or all of the above translate to organic SEO improvements.
Ok, cool, but there’s no way this stuff makes sense for all clients
Discovery site examples and strategies: Reddit
What is Reddit?
Reddit is a website which relies on a combination of user-submitted posts in user-moderated “subreddits”. Subreddits are based upon a theme or category. Some popular subreddits (or “subs” to the advanced redditor) range from are “funny”, “gaming”, and “pics”. Some more niched subs include “entrepreneur”, “small business”, and “web_design”.
I have been a moderator of a few moderately active subs, so I know a little bit about how it works.
What subreddits are best for my client?
I’ve noticed smaller subs are much easier to gain traction on. There’s just less competition. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really had success on the larger subs. It would really have to be an amazing piece of content to do well, and maybe have some additional help with starter “upvotes” to get the snowball rolling.
Anyway, to find some good subreddits to target, you would first want to think about what type of person would find your client’s content most useful. What common bond do they have? For example, if you have an appliance repair client and you’re putting out content on how to fix a refrigerator… who has refrigerators (and are responsible for them if they break)? That’s right, homeowners.
Doing a search for “homeowner reddit” on Google brought me a nice six-pack of subs to start with:
Checking out a few of those subs should give you an idea of how popular they are and what kind of content is being shared. Be sure to take note of how many subscribers each sub has, you’ll see this number on the right-hand column, like so:
As you can see in the above example, this particular sub only allows “completed projects” to be submitted. Some subs have their own rules and it’s in your best interest to obey them or risk being banned.
This seems like a good time to explain what upvotes are, so I will. Each piece of submitted content is voted on with an upvote or a downvote. Upvoted content can eventually make their way to the home page if it’s upvoted enough. This can mean an incredibly large amount of traffic in a very short amount of time – maybe even enough to bring down your site temporarily.
Ok, where do I start?
The first thing you want to do is to read Reddit’s self-promotional guidelines and do your best to stick to them. Reddit’s community can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I’ve seen them sniff out and expose some incredibly sneaky spammers.
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Alright, I read Reddit’s rules, how exactly do I promote my client?
You have a few choices, you can either:
Submit the URL by itself
This one is higher on the risk/reward scale. Make sure the url is one that’s of high value to the subreddit. If I recall correctly, the moderators pay extra attention to these.
Submit the URL in a text post
You can put a URL in a text post using Reddit’s shortcodes but it’s maybe only a little lower on the risk/reward scale than submitting the URL by itself. Use the text capabilities to your advantage by posting exactly why the subreddit would find that piece of content useful. It’s also tough to slip past moderation if that is your goal by doing this.
Submit the URL in a comment of a relevant post
This one is lowest on the risk/reward scale. It’s a nice place to start. Leave a comment in a place where it seems like it’s relevant but also where people will see it. It can be a little easier to slide past a moderator here.
Don’t get disheartened
Even if a piece of content is valuable and highly relevant to the subreddit or conversation, it may still get removed or you may even get banned. Your best chance of success is by participating in the conversation and becoming known in the community. Stealing a line from Gary Vaynerchuck here, If you jab first, your right hook will be much more effective.
Discovery site examples and strategies: StumbleUpon
What is StumbleUpon?
StumbleUpon is a service which connects bored people to interesting websites.
Well, the thing about StumbleUpon is that if your site isn’t REALLY unique or interesting some way, it probably won’t do very well. I probably wouldn’t recommend it for most B2B business websites, unless you had a very specific piece of content for it.
Ok, so what kind of organizations work best with StumbleUpon?
I think B2C businesses that are offering a very unique product that make people stop in their tracks are a great fit here. Think Coolest, Spikeball, or this amplifier key holder. Kickstarter-y type stuff. B2B businesses and non-profits shouldn’t count themselves out, though. If they get creative with an amazing piece of content, it can definitely do well there. I’d probably go the infographic route here. If you’d like some more ideas, Social Media Examiner did a nice article about B2B marketing on StumbleUpon using Forbes and and Inc as examples.
Discovery site examples and strategies: ProductHunt
What is ProductHunt?
ProductHunt is a place where new, interesting products and services get listed. One caveat: each thing can only be added once. Users vote on the best things and if you do well, your client’s product or service can be seen by a large amount of people.
So how do I determine if my client’s thing is new or interesting enough?
Well, that’s really two questions. There’s only one thing that decides if it’s new enough, and that’s whether or not it’s been submitted before. If it hasn’t, then it’s “new” enough. But you will probably want to be strategic about how and when you submit. As far as the question about whether or not it’s interesting enough, that’s really something that’s up to the ProductHunters (the ProductHunt users) to decide. I’d bet that a typical “me too” business wouldn’t do well there unless there’s something very specific that makes your client stand out (like a cab company that can somehow beat Uber’s pricing) – but then again, that’s up to the users to decide.
What will happen if my client does well on ProductHunt?
Not unlike Reddit, your client will experience an explosion in web traffic that won’t last more than a few days. After that, traffic should start dying down a bit – ProductHunters will be going gaga about the next new cool thing by then. The goal here for organic SEO is to get as many links and social shares as possible from the ProductHunt exposure.