I have to say that most of the time when something new and cool comes out in the world of SEO, most of the time it seems like it comes from Google (Yahoo site explorer not withstanding). The latest addition to Google that has all kinds of marketing potential is the new “Subscribed Links” feature. Matt Cutts recently posted to his blog about “Subscribed Links” which drew my attention to it for the first time. And I have to say, I’m impressed. And not because I think there is some magical SEO formula that can be derived from subscribed links, but because I think it extends the usefulness and flexibility of Google search for users.
First lets talk about what subscribed links are. Essentially if you are a creator of a subscribed link, you can insert your search result or widget like one box into Google search results for your keywords. It almost sounds too good to be true..lol. The only catch is, you have to get people to subscribe to your link in order for your subscribed links to show up in their search results. I imagine as people really realize the power of this functionality, promoting your new Google subscribe link will be the new craze of 2008. For those that don’t understand what I am talking about, let’s take a hypothetical example to see how subscribed links could be leveraged.
First, let’s take a look at the current list of subscribed links of which there are only 48! If that doesn’t trigger your Internet Marketing spiddy sense, you might wanna change fields..lol. Seriously though, having only 48 competitors for screen real estate is a quite an opportunity on a platform as big as Google is. Many of the current subscribe links either offer custom listings for specific search queries or they offer functionality similar to a widget. So for example, based on your query for weather and a zip code, you get a mash up of map info and current weather forecasts. So with this understanding in mind, let’s create a make believe subscribed link to illustrate the marketing potential.
The first thing to think about with subscribed links is similar in nature to link baiting. The first question that must be asked is, “What can I provide through a subscribe link that has true value to my users.” So for our example, we are going to assume the identity of a guitar site. And one of the most popular tools for guitarists is a chord finder. So I would set up my subscribe link so that the functionality I would promote with this is the user being able to type in a chord like “C#” and having a diagram of a “C#” chord appear in Google’s serps. This would be very useful for a jazz cat trying to figure out what a “Aflat5add9″ chord is for example. Fortunately I don’t have too many crazy chords with the kind of music I play but many guitarists do. So I think this would be an excellent tool to create. The other thing that my subscribe link would do it to check for guitar brand and models. So every time someone who was subscribed to my link searches for Ibanez RG270, they would get a comparison shopping chart from my affiliates who carried this guitar. And while this wouldn’t necessarily be the functionality I would promote heavily to get people to subscribe to my links, it would undoubtedly generate more revenue. And if done right, it would provide a nice service to the user who wouldn’t have to drill into other Web sites to find the pricing information he or she wanted.
This hypothetical example shows a little of the enormous opportunity that subscribe links offer to publishers and Web masters to push their info to users in a new way. And that’s what I like about it the most. Search continues to evolve in the field of personalization, and this is a huge leap forward in my opinion.