When Google introduced SearchWiki functionality more than half a year ago there was a big uproar. Afterwards SearchWiki has been seemingly forgotten like many of Google’s experimental features that never get really popular and then one day disappear again.
The ability to vote or move search results up and down as well as comment them has not been embraced by many. You can even add results.
I was one of the few who really were eager to use SearchWiki. I tried it on some of my favorite results like
During the recent months I’ve noticed some unexpected impact of SearchWiki. Once you vote a site up you will get its results on top for other similar queries as well. It happens quite often. So even if SearchWiki hasn’t been officially made a ranking factor by Google yet (but you never know, Google might already use it, the same way it discontinued PageRank sculpting support without telling us) it has real impact on your site and business.
There are at least 5 reasons SearchWiki SEO makes sense now:
Subscription to search results
Among other sites I have voted my own blog SEO 2.0 for the queries SEO and SEO 2.0. In my comment I mentioned that it is actually “my SEO blog”. I didn’t vote it up for the query SEO blog though. Google nonetheless shows me my blog at #1 for that query. Usually without SearchWiki personalization I’m somewhere between #3 and #5. So once you get voted or moved up for a query you get moved up elsewhere on related ones as well. This way you make you readers and fans subscribe to your search results in the future.
Online Reputation Management (ORM)
Just look up the comments for Matt Cutts’ blog and those for SEO Chat. Matt Cutts has gained some very funny comments while the comments on SEO Chat maybe reveal too much about the audience of that site, they barely can express themselves or spell. Most are anonymous. Neither of both appears as very trustworthy. So even positive comments from the wrong people can backfire in my opinion.
Personal or overall branding
While commenting on SearchWiki I use onreact.com as my user name. This way I not only underpin the authority of my comments I also get some extra visibility for my URL/brand. In case your name is your main brand use that.
Socializing with influencers
Some Searchwiki users are actually recognizable like I am. A person who decides to vote you up is basically a potential brand evangelist. Even more than the people who vote for you on social media customizing search results is an inherently selfish act for most people: They just want to make the sites they prefer easier available while searching. So here you get to know the influencer who really care for you.
Early bird bonus
SearchWiki comments are still rare. Some valuable sites don’t have any so any comment or vote is very valuable right now. Also unlike with Digg or StumbleUpon this vote counts for new pages as well. Like on SU it will be looked up months for years from now as well. A site that has been discovered 5 or 6 years ago on SU has a lot more appeal as a trustworthy source.
How can you actually do SEO for SearchWiki? It’s all about encouraging your loyal clients, users or readers to vote for you. SEO Book did well when SearchWiki started by announcing a quick competition among all those who add a comment on his search results. His site is still the most commented one for the query “SEO”. Not only that the comments left are mostly by recognizable users or at least not anonymous ones who don’t just “nice” but really explain why his site is be recommended.
Ask your clients, users and fans to review you on SearchWiki. You don’t have to organize a competition. An email or a feedback button will be enough in many cases. Or you can write a blog post like I did. Review SEOptimise now!