Using JapanSoc to Boost Blog Traffic

JapanSocFrom time to time, I’ll be posting about my new project, JapanSoc, so if you’re not sure what it is, please read the article JapanSoc Brings Social Bookmarking to Japan so that you understand these posts!

Over on the Daily J, Chris B posted a comment about JapanSoc’s voting system, suggesting that people could cheat it by asking their friends to vote up their submissions. I responded by explaining how social bookmarking manages itself because users can vote up what they like or “bury” what they don’t. I then went on to talk about how votes are less important than visitors:

Using JapanSoc as a bridge between Google and your blog

From a bloggers point of view, you want to get as much traffic as possible. The best way to get traffic is through search engines, but it’s very difficult to get your own blog ranking high in Google’s search results because you’re competing with other, bigger sites for the same keywords.

The advantage of a site like JapanSoc is that as it grows and gets more users and incoming links, it will become one of those “big” sites, and rank higher for YOUR keywords than your own site. Hence it becomes a “bridge” between Google and your blog.

One important concept to remember is that when you submit one of your own posts, you should use a different title to the original, and give it a quality write-up, using keywords you want Google to find. If you just cut and paste the opening paragraph and use the same title as you did in the original post, it will be judged by Google as duplicate content and not rank so high, if at all.

Anyway, I hope you can see that it’s not about getting votes, it’s about getting visitors.

Competing with yourself is a waste of potential traffic

With the above in mind, I did some searching on Google to see if I could find any real examples of how JapanSoc can be used to get traffic from the search engine giant. First, here’s an example of why you shouldn’t use the same titles:

Google results for Hinoki Ramen Shinjuku

You can see that for the search term “Hinoki Ramen Shinjuku”, the third result is the JapanSoc submission, which comes behind Neil’s original article. Ideally Neil should have used a different title with different keywords to avoid competition between his original article and the JapanSoc submission. Incidentally, notice how the JapanSoc link ranks above, Danny Choo‘s aggregated feed network. Sorry, Danny! 😉

Titles matter to Google

This next example is a little more interesting, but shows the same problem:

Google results for Yutampo Japan

The above screenshot shows the results for “yutampo japan”. Thomas wrote about the Japanese hot water bottle on his blog, but his original post doesn’t show up in these results at all.

However, you can see Japanalyst (an rss feed aggregator) at number one, and it shows the same title for JapanSoc, BloggingZoom, and even the original article – talk about competing with yourself! 😯 Blogging Zoom have made things hard for themselves by attaching “BloggingZoom” to the front of the title instead of the end. All these things matter to Google.

Example using different titles

This last example shows how it should be done. The original article was titled “Slipper Ping Pong Official Racket” and as you can see below, it comes up first for the search term “slipper ping pong”.

Google results for Slipper Ping Pong

The JapanSoc link is nowhere to be found in those results because when I submitted the article to JapanSoc, I gave it the title, “Play table tennis with your slippers”, which as you can see below, ranks third for the search term “table tennis slippers”. Now that article can get traffic from both search terms!

Google results for Table Tennis Slippers

Help yourself and others by using different titles

If you use a social bookmarking site, whether it be JapanSoc or otherwise, think about changing the article’s title and summary when you make a submission. Of course, if you’re not a blogger yourself or you like submitting other people’s work (as I do), you can send them a little more traffic from the search engines by taking a few extra moments to personalize each submission. Happy JapanSocking!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

13 thoughts on “Using JapanSoc to Boost Blog Traffic

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  2. I can see your point to some degree but also don`t see the problem in having the first 10 entries in Google all pointing back to the original article.

    Maybe i`ll do a few experiments over the coming weeks and see how it goes. Re reading your points does make it a bit clearer to me as to why i should use some different titles when submitting to japansoc for instant.

    Love Japansoc by the way, keep it up!


    1. Thanks Neil. From an SEO point of view, there’s nothing wrong with having most of the front page linking back to the original article, and you’d have to experiment to see if you’d get more traffic by spreading those links over different keywords (which I’m assuming would be the case in this post). From a user’s point of view, it’s not very helpful when every result on the first page points to the same place.

  3. I would have totally missed something like that (Duplicates and the Googlebot) even though I knew it already. Duh!! -2pts for me!!

    1. Thanks Koichi, it would be great to see social bookmarking take off for Japan bloggers. Your blog, Tofugu, looks very interesting. I remember watching that awesome video of you on YouTube about how Japanese isn’t something you can learn magically by watching anime. I better subscribe!

  4. Can you feel the love?!

    I love what I see going on. Ken won some major points for helping out in such a great way.

    I am a bit overwhelmed with “things to do” at the moment but I super excited about all of this.

    I am going to be talking about this (especially the JapanSoc It button) on DailyJ as soon as I get the chance!

    JapanSocking and lovin’ it

  5. Great info, dumbed down to my level (lol)… it just goes to show you, when you’re a blogger there’s something new to be learned every day. Much like Japan, come to think of it!

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